2021 Mid-Year Digital Ad Data Shows Impact On Campaign Strategies

During the past six months, marketers have seen the growth of channels like digital out-of-home, the shifting timelines around the end of third-party cookies, the continued adoption of connected TV, and the changing landscape of consumer behavior. 

It doesn't seem possible to get through a conversation with a fellow marketer without talking about timelines around third-party cookies, media budgets, omnichannel, and privacy regulations. 

Choozle, a self-service programmatic ad platform, released findings from its 2021 mid-year digital advertising trends report that answer some of those questions.

The metrics, pulled from the company’s platform between January 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021, were gathered from more than 4,000 advertisers. The data provides insights on the strategies marketers are using, and directions they can take.

Not surprisingly, budget allocation by device type varies, but one thing is certain -- consumers now are out and about, making out-of-home and mobile media an obvious choice when it comes to where to spend.



Choozle did not report on OOH, but in this company's data, mobile remains one of the leading digital advertising media in 2021, taking 49.1% of the budget allocation -- up 16% since the end of 2020, according to the data.

Desktop comprised about 33.4% of budget allocations, and connected TV comprised 17.5% of budgets, in the first half of 2021.

Targeting strategies also are top of mind, and many marketers have begun testing new strategies. Here’s what they are doing.

  • Marketers have moved on from IP address targeting in 2021 with use declining by 20%
  • More digital advertising campaigns have used third-party data — up 7% — and contextual targeting--up 10% — since the end of 2020
  • More Marketers are testing third-party strategies — about 42.8% total
  • Retargeting and CRM data continue to be the most commonly used forms of first-party data—about 17.9%.
  • Some use geolocation at 16.8%, and contextual category targeting at 16.8%, and contextual keyword targeting at 5.6%

The value of ad placement also pays off. Inventory and bid preferences data show 82% of all impressions serve-up above the fold online. Above the fold on average, marketers see $5.94 for CPMs and 0.14% for CTRs. On average below the fold, marketers see $4.85 for CPM and 0.05 for CTR.  

No one can deny the increase in video. Pre-roll continues to be the predominantly used inventory placement for video. Not only does this help drive high VCR but it creates better engagement.

  • Video lengths of :15 and :30 seconds are the sweet spot for driving high completion rates
  • Marketers might want to use the :60 or :90-second spots, but users are less likely to complete them
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