Visable 360
The B2B magazine for digital sales
Visable 360
The B2B magazine for digital sales

Dialogue media in the fast lane: online marketing and similar are more significant than traditional advertising for the first time

At 20.4 billion euros, companies spent for the first time more for online marketing, print mailings and telephone marketing in 2020 than for traditional advertising, which amounted to 18.9 billion euros. With a growth of 14 per cent, online marketing is the big winner of the pandemic year.

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Dialogue marketing has reached its tipping point

It’s a real jolt in the advertising market: with a share of 52 per cent of overall expenditure, so-called digital media – which covers online marketing, print mailings and telephone marketing – overtook traditional media for the first time in 2020. This has been shown by Dialogmarketing-Monitor 2021 from Deutsche Post. According to this report, 81 per cent of companies now rely on digital media to increase awareness and boost sales. What’s more, 71 per cent of advertisers are already using at least one form of online marketing.

Advertisers invested 20.4 billion euros in dialogue media – a small plus of 300 million euros compared with last year. But within the context of overall advertising expenditure in 2020, the magnitude of this increase becomes clear. Not only did the overall expenditure decline by 7 per cent to 39.3 billion euros due to the pandemic, traditional media expenditure also took a nose dive to lose 3.3 billion euros, going down to 18.9 billion euros.  


Adbertising expenditure by companies in 2020

Online marketing is the biggest winner of the pandemic

Online marketing was the biggest driver of the positive development for dialogue media. This area was able to record a growth of 14 per cent, meaning companies invested 13.2 billion euros overall in online marketing. The main reason for this may be the continually growing online affinity of retailers. In light of this, companies have now distributed their marketing budget differently: 40 per cent are putting more money towards search engine advertising, social media marketing, display and video advertising, as well as email marketing. The losers were the categories radio, ads, posters and out-of-home advertising.

Taking a closer look at how the budget has been distributed within the area of online marketing, we see big differences. For display and video advertising, companies spent an average of 15,400 euros, while search engine advertising recorded just 4,400 euros. Social media marketing was used quite a lot, but relatively little money was spent: 1,300 euros on average.

The boom in online marketing was driven by companies which discovered new categories for their business in 2020. This was 210 of the 1,500 companies surveyed, a share of 14 per cent. Of these 210 companies, 37 per cent used for the first time social media marketing, 16 per cent search engine marketing and 13 per cent email marketing. A total of 31 per cent of marketing decision-makers who reduced their portfolio in 2020 did not use ads in print media, followed by partly and unaddressed post at 26 per cent.

Industry comparison: service providers have the largest advertising budget

Companies downsized their advertising investments in 2020 across all industries. The service provider industry spent the most money for advertising, 16.3 billion euros, and the largest share of this, 38 per cent, went to online marketing. The manufacturing industries spent the largest portion of their advertising budget on TV commercials (32 per cent), which was followed closely by online marketing at 31 per cent. Retailers relied in equal measure on online marketing and print mailings, both at 30 per cent.

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