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Merkle’s Q2 2020 Digital Marketing Report Demonstrates COVID Impacts on Platforms

July 28, 2020
Columbia, MD

Report showcases 38% YoY Growth in US Paid Search Clicks; Sales from Amazon ads up 77%; Ad impression growth for Facebook and Instagram 

Merkle, a leading technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, released its Q2 2020 Digital Marketing Report (DMR), a quarterly research report that analyzes and highlights key metrics and trends within paid and organic search, as well as paid social and display ad spend. The report provides insights into year-over-year (YoY) growth for Amazon, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest, and illustrates the impacts emerging as the industry continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.


The findings indicate that US paid search clicks saw 38% YoY growth in Q2 2020, compared to 7.2% in Q1. Google US paid search ad spend increased by 8.6% YoY, and clicks increased by 39%. Google monthly US paid search spend growth was also up 6% in June 2020, and Google overall paid search ad spend grew 11% YoY in the retail and consumer goods vertical.

Google US organic search visits saw 33% YoY growth in Q2, compared to -13% in Q1. Mobile also saw a 35% increase in Q2, compared to -16% in Q1. Additionally, organic search visits grew 43% YoY in the retail and consumer goods vertical but were down -50% in travel. Essential goods grew 70% YoY in organic search visits, versus non-essential goods, which grew 41%, and apparel, which decreased 1.5%.


The report indicates that for the first time since Q2 2019, spending growth for Amazon ads decelerated from the prior quarter. According to the findings, spending on Sponsored Products ads rose 22% YoY in Q2 2020, down from 67% growth in Q1. Additionally, click and sales growth for Amazon’s ads remained robust, but, as with other channels, ad pricing was significantly weaker.


Analyzing paid social, Facebook ad impressions experienced 25% YoY growth in Q2 2020. Instagram ad impressions saw 46% YoY growth, and ad spend was up 30%. For brands on both Instagram and Facebook, Instagram’s share of total Facebook ad impressions was 35%.

Display spend overall was down -11% YoY in Q2, versus paid social which was up 11%. Twitter’s average share of paid social ad spend was 10% in Q2 for participating brands, while Pinterest share was 9% and Snapchat was 8%.

“The industry has seen incredible shifts over the past quarter, driven by unprecedented economic and social changes. Looking at ad spend and impressions overall, we’re interested in analyzing the long-term impacts for the major tech players,” said Mark Ballard, vice president of research at Merkle. “April and May were tough months for the industry, but findings show signs of growth amidst the chaos in areas such as paid search, social ad spend, and ad impressions, as we look to rebound from these turbulent times.”

Merkle will be presenting a webinar on Thursday, July 30th at 2 p.m. ET to discuss the report and share forward-looking insights for marketers to assist in navigating the COVID-19 recovery phase. To learn more about the Q2 2020 DMR and to download the full report, visit here.

Kite Hill PR for Merkle
Moira Shannon
[email protected]

About Merkle

Merkle, a dentsu company, is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. The company’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive hyper-personalized marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in consulting, creative, media, analytics, data, identity, CX/commerce, technology, and loyalty & promotions drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. With more than 16,000 employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with locations in 30+ countries throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit www.merkle.com.

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