Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes his keynote speech during Facebook Inc’s annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019.

Stephen Lam | Reuters

Big Tech’s third-quarter earnings showed digital ad revenue came roaring back in recent months, and suggested some of the digital ad trends tied to the explosion of e-commerce could be here to stay. 

Alphabet, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, which reported earnings Thursday after-hours, along with peers Snap and Pinterest, which reported earlier, showed strong digital advertising growth in the quarter as brand advertising started to rebound and sports made a return.

And though digital advertising has been on the rise for years, events of this year appear to be accelerating existing trends like e-commerce growth, as consumers get comfortable buying online out of necessity. And advertisers are following them online.

“In a world where we debate what structural changes will COVID bring… we believe one answer is clear: advertisers’ eagerness to spend/experiment on digital advertising has inflected,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a Friday note. “The platforms with leading reach and ad offerings are set to capitalize and drive that shift into ’21 and beyond.”

Research firm MoffettNathanson added that the recovery in digital advertising is “so rapid and voluminous that many of the leading digital platforms are now exceeding the ad growth they posted” before the pandemic in the fourth quarter of 2019. 

“In essence, history will likely show that the impact of COVID-19 and the attendant negative economic shocks depressed spending for only five months,” MoffetNathanson analysts wrote Friday. “We also strongly believe that history will show that 2020 will be seen as an inflection point for the industry as secular shifts in e-commerce, small to medium-sized business formation and declines in linear TV viewing accelerate the growth in digital ad spending.” 

Here’s what happened in the ad businesses of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon this quarter and what they mean for the digital ad market. 





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Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter earnings show ad revenue recovery