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IAB Survey on the Impact of Covid-19


IAB Survey on the Impact of Covid-19

The International Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently conducted an online survey with 29 senior executives from the marketing teams of agencies and clients, to understand their media spending plans for the remainder of the year. The survey sample includes 62% representation from agencies, 24% from clients and 14% from other entities such as publishers. The respondents come from a wide array of verticals such as Automotive, CPG, Gaming, Teleco, etc. Below are the findings:



  • For the short term period of April – June, the findings suggest an immediate downturn, as 48% have already seen up to 30% budget cuts for the month of April, while 34% of respondents are still unclear about their decisions for spend during Ramadan.
  • 78% of respondents are certain of a significant decline in spends in all media channels during this period, while 20% have already paused all non-digital ads.

  • While 31% of the respondents report a decline in non-digital ads by more than 30% year on year, 24% expect to see growth in social media spend, 21% for paid search, and 17% for digital display. One responded reports a potential all media increase for the July-December period.
  • However, 40% are certain of a significant decline while 51% remain unsure of the circumstances.
  • The pandemic has accelerated an increase in spend in performance marketing as 59% plan to increase their spend, during the short period of April-June.
  • Because of Ramadan and Covid-19 empathy campaigns, the industry will see a significant increase in cause-related marketing messaging strategies during the period of April-June.
  • Audience and Programmatic targeting expect a significant increase from the respondents – 52% and 44% respectively. On the other hand, news content targeting will see a slight decrease of 44% from respondents.
  • When asked about the relative impact of Covid-19 on the MENA advertising industry in comparison to other events such as the 2008 financial crisis or the change in oil prices – 77% of respondents claim it to be more negative than the 2008 crisis, while 88% claim the situation to be more negative than the change in oil prices.


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