Advertising Guest Columns
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Data and programmatic markets are growing fast despite the pandemic

During the pandemic, users moved their activities to digital.

The Global data market will grow by almost 20% YoY in 2020 to reach over $41B. Advertisers in the UK will spend $3B on data and $8.1B on programmatic ads, which makes the UK the largest data and programmatic market in Europe.

Globally, advertisers moved their budgets to digital.

We can see growth in data markets, programmatic and display, in almost all of the countries analyzed in the ‘Global Data Market Size 2017-2021’ report.

What is the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on digital advertising?

Firstly, it has drastically changed forecasts for advertising markets across the globe. Secondly, it’s clear that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation.

Consumers moved quickly to digital channels and companies did their best to ensure a better user experience. Publishers observed rapid growth of online traffic and e-commerce growth which in the US jumped to more than 30% – a level not expected until 2022 – according to an eMarketer study[1]. Not surprisingly, the increase in online activity also resulted in the growth of digital ad spending – marketers are fully aware that the one area where they can reach customers, even during lockdowns, is the Internet.

If we take a look at forecasts presented in the ‘Global Data Market Size 2017-2021’ report, we can notice that spend on audience data used for targeting online ads is going up in almost every analyzed market (27 countries across the world).

Programmatic advertising, which is based on data, is also increasing rapidly. It will reach $129B this year and will grow by 20% YoY to hit $155B in 2021. As one of the world’s most digitized markets, the UK is the largest data and programmatic market in Europe.

Marketers are investing more in digital advertising every year and the value of audience data, collected by publishers, is growing constantly. This trend is clear when we consider it in a five-year perspective (2017-2021) as the UK programmatic and data markets will double in 2021.

While the UK is the largest data market in Europe, the world’s largest data market, which is still far ahead of other markets is the US. In 2020, the US data market will reach almost $25B, and will grow by over 24% YoY to reach $30.6B in 2021.

The second-largest data market is Europe ($6.4B, expected to grow by 22% next year), followed by China ($5.4B). The latter is the fastest-growing data market among the world’s largest economies, and will be just ahead of the European data market next year.

Looking closely at European markets: behind the UK market, there is France ($912.5M), followed by Germany ($826.3M). The list closes Denmark ($129.9M) and Italy ($98.4M).

Advertisers are moving to digital very quickly – an IAB study shows that while traditional media will notice a big drop in spend, the digital ad market will grow by 6%[2].

Zenith forecasts that digital advertising will account for 51.0% of global ad spend in 2020, up from the 49.5% it forecasted previously. And even after the pandemic, this trend will continue, with digital ad spend growing to 54.6% of global ad spend in 2022[3].

What does this mean for online advertisers and publishers?

Firstly, marketers need to develop their tech skills connected to automatic buying (programmatic dominates the digital display ad market). Secondly, online publishers should be more focused on collecting data and gathering consents for processing digital information about their online users’ behaviour.

Both advertisers and publishers should care about building trust to process online data. Transparency and data privacy are the topics that will be still important in the following years, and the digital industry must act to create an universal and safe ID that will assist users and online marketers.

What will the next year bring?

It is hard to forecast under current conditions, but the trend of moving towards digital is strong, and the future for the online ad industry (and data industry) looks bright.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Maciej Sawa

[1] US Ecommerce Growth Jumps to More than 30%, Accelerating Online Shopping Shift by Nearly 2 Years, eMarketer, 2020.

[2] 2020/21 COVID Impact on Advertising,, 2020.

[3] Coronavirus crisis accelerates shift to digital advertising,, 2020. is a part of the Cloud Technologies Group, one of the fastest-growing tech companies in Central Europe according to Deloitte Technology Fast 50 CE ranking. The company specializes in data analytics and data monetization and has developed one of the biggest data warehouses in the world, which includes over 50B high-quality and anonymous user profiles.