Life sure looks a lot different than it did just one year ago. Staying home. Wearing masks. Online school. Zoom meetings. While COVID-19 has caused a tectonic shift in the way we live, our digital world has remained relatively intact. The one difference being, we all spend way more time online working, shopping and communicating. That’s led businesses to lean heavily into digital advertising in 2020.

Digital Advertising in 2020: Trends to Pay Attention to


People need entertainment to take their minds off all the upheaval the Coronavirus has thrown our way. And by in large, they’ve turned to ConnectedTV, one of the most dominant channel trends of 2020. At the start of quarantining in the U.S. (the week of March 30, which seems like a lifetime ago), total hours spent on CTV devices was up 81% year over year. 

While traditional live TV saw marginal year over year growth during this time, even as states began to lift restrictions in late May, people were still using ConnectedTV at a very high rate. This trend tells us that ConnectedTV will continue to grow in popularity as life returns to normal post-COVID, which can’t come soon enough.

Social Media

You would think that spending more time inside due to quarantining would boost the amount of time you’d spend on social media. And you’d be exactly right. From January 1st to April 12th, social media app usage has gone up 3.3% and has continued to remain high. But here’s the interesting part. Brands saw engagement rates fall in March, and they continued to trend downward through May. Why? It’s because of a change in user behavior.

Staying in our homes and being apart from one another led people to seek engagement with other people on social media, not brands. So, advertisers have shifted their strategy from conversion to making connections. The brands who have continued their campaigns on social media are focused on staying top of mind with consumers who spend lots of time on these platforms.


In the early stages of lockdown, consumers were looking for safe alternatives to their normal routines. That included dining out. From March 1st to March 24th, Google Trends reported a 285% increase for “takeout” and a whopping 650% increase in “is food delivery safe.”

Fast forward to September, and search trends related to the pandemic have been evening out. Beginning in mid-May, daily queries about the weather have exceeded those regarding COVID. Due to the loss of competitor marketing efforts, those who have stayed active have seen an increase in both organic and paid search average rankings. It’s a hot trend now, but is expected to pass as other advertisers resume their marketing efforts.

Stay Ahead of the Curve and Your Competition

At Frankel, our understanding of 2020’s digital trends can help you with marketing during the coronavirus pandemic. If you have any questions, just drop us a line, we would be happy to answer them.