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 Digital Marketing Report: Q3 2021

Digital Marketing Report: Q3 2021

What happened last quarter, and what does that mean as we close out 2021?

With rampant ecommerce competition still going strong, paid media saw some serious cost increases after July, when COVID-19 cases were highest and online shopping surged. Conversely, organic search for travel in the US saw its most significant increase in July. What will these trends look like heading into the holidays?

Since its launch in 2011, the Digital Marketing Report (DMR) has become one of the most highly regarded and frequently cited reports in the digital marketing industry. How are key performance indicators across Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram faring? Where are the opportunities and what shifts can you make to your strategy?


Y/Y Change in Visits by Month by Vertical

Featured Highlights:

  • Mobile, defined as phone and tablet, drove 64% of organic search visits in Q3, tying its previous high. Paid search mobile click traffic set a new record of 72%.
  • Paid search spend in travel increased 28% Y/Y, driven by a 6% increase in clicks and a 21% increase in CPC. There was renewed interest on the consumer side for exploring travel compared to Q3 2020, and advertisers spent more to fight for that traffic.
  • Retail faced difficult comps in Q3 2021 after an exceptional 2020. Traffic was down Y/Y across Amazon Sponsored Products (-61%), Amazon Sponsored Brands (-11%), Google paid search (-11%), and Google organic search (-8%).
  • Facebook ad spend increased 24% Y/Y. CPMs rose substantially as advertisers dealt with more limited targeting pools and reporting due to iOS14 tracking updates.