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2021 advertising spending: social media, search engines, and audio and video platforms keep on growing

The advertising spending of marketers is continuing to become increasingly digital and is shifting toward the big platforms – those were the findings of a survey DMEXCO conducted among its community. Budgets are mainly being set aside for search engines, social media channels, editorial content websites, and audio and video platforms. Surprisingly, traditional channels such as TV and radio are also still proving popular.
March 25, 2021

Social media, search engines, and audio and video platforms are overshadowing most advertising channels. Accordingly, almost 90 percent of German marketers taking part in the survey expect advertising budgets for search engines to grow by up to 10 percent or even more. Internationally, over 70 percent of the surveyed marketers were of the same opinion. More than 97 percent of German respondents and nearly 90 percent of international respondents stated that they expect the budget in their own company to remain the same or increase. Very few anticipate a lower advertising budget for search engine marketing (2 percent in Germany, 11 percent internationally).

A similar picture emerged with regard to social media channels, with more than 90 percent of German marketers and over 70 percent of international marketers expecting spending to rise. When it came to their own company, it was above 70 percent. The majority of the marketers surveyed also foresee a growth in budgets earmarked for video and audio platforms, both on the market as a whole (80 percent in Germany, 70 percent internationally) and in their own company (Germany: 75 percent, international: 53 percent).

Editorial content in demand – but predominantly in digital form

While almost 60 percent of German and international marketers taking part in the survey anticipate that the budgets for print advertising will fall on the market as a whole, they are slightly more optimistic in terms of their own company, with only close to 38 percent (Germany) and 44 percent (internationally) expecting a decrease. In addition, many of the marketers expect the budgets to remain at the same level (43 percent in Germany, 44 percent internationally). Advertising on editorial content websites, on the other hand, is in demand. In this segment, 83 percent of German marketers and almost 78 percent of international marketers predict growth on the market as a whole.

TV and radio are bucking the digital trend – at least on the German market

Alongside the digital platforms, traditional media such as TV and radio are also not becoming any less relevant. Nearly 65 percent of German marketers and 64 percent of international marketers expect budgets to remain at the same level or even increase by up to 10 percent on the market as a whole. Opinions are split when it comes to radio advertising: while almost 70 percent of German respondents expect the allocated budgets to remain at the same level or increase by up to 10 percent, internationally it was only about 50 percent. Here, 47 percent of marketers actually expect the budgets to decrease.

“The coronavirus crisis is also having a noticeable impact on the advertising industry and leaving its marks. New channels are emerging, and priorities are shifting and being redefined. Our survey really highlights that although the digital trend is continuing to gain ground, traditional channels such as TV and radio are not becoming any less relevant. For advertisers, that especially means that a balanced media mix is becoming increasingly important for ensuring that all touchpoints are catered for,” says Jan Garnefeld, Director Sales & Operations at DMEXCO, summing up the results.

The non-representative DMEXCO Trend Survey was conducted by DMEXCO as an online survey in April 2021. Responses from German and international participants from the DMEXCO community were evaluated. The respondents were composed of visitors, exhibitors, speakers, and journalists.

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DMEXCO is Europe’s leading digital marketing & tech event. We are the meeting place and a community for key players in digital business, marketing, and innovation. We bring together industry leaders, marketing and media professionals, and tech pioneers to set the digital agenda. Both globally informed and locally focused, DMEXCO offers an ecosystem with seminars, debates, expositions, and masterclasses outlining the future of the digital economy and driving market value.

In Cologne and online, we set the benchmark as a network and business platform for the digital economy. Decision-makers continue to educate themselves and be inspired, make contacts, and conclude deals. DMEXCO — where tomorrow’s digital business happens today. DMEXCO 2021 will take place on September 7 and 8, 2021.

The German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW) – with the special participation of the Circle of Online Marketers (OVK) – is the ideational and professional partner of DMEXCO and owner of the DMEXCO brand. DMEXCO is organized by Koelnmesse.

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