Trendcast: The Rising Costs of Paid Digital Media


The Rising Costs of Paid Digital Media

Ann LevyBy Ann Levy|September 1, 2021

In the last year, vast changes in the paid digital media landscape have been reshaping how advertisers execute their digital marketing strategies. Most notably, tracking transparency earlier in 2021 and the resulting targeting limitations caused marketers to rethink their approach to targeting within Google and Facebook platforms. However, at the same time, the heightened reliance on digital advertising driven by the pandemic continued, so these platforms became more and more crowded with advertisers, which led to fierce competition and ultimately, rising costs.

Now, a new report from Business Insider analyzing costs from Q1-2021 and Q2-2021, as well as comparing year-over-year costs, shows the true impact of all of these paradigm shifts. The report compares CPC and CPM—the main metrics that measure cost as a factor of competition across all major paid digital advertising platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, Google (YouTube included), and Snapchat. CPC is short for “cost-per-click,” and CPM, or cost per mille, indicates how much it costs to serve your ad to 1,000 users.

Here are some top-level takeaways:

  • Apple’s newly-implemented, ad-tracking transparency regulations forcefully cut back advertisers’ ability to set hyper-specific targeting for ad campaigns geared toward Apple users, increasing cost for advertisers to serve ultra-relevant ads to these audiences.
  • Facebook’s (and Instagram’s) CPM prices rose 89% year-over-year, as of July 2021
  • Facebook’s  average price per ad increased 47% year-over-year in the second quarter, and according to the article, the platform “warned investors that ad prices are likely to continue to climb in the second half of the year.”
  • YouTube CPMs also reportedly rose 108% year-over-year in July. (This is in line with previous predictions that video will continue rising in popularity across the web, but especially in paid advertising.)

While this report shows that competition is steep and costs are especially high across platforms, keen strategy, all-hands-on-deck monitoring, and a data-driven approach for your digital media campaigns are what will make the difference between just spending budget and achieving enrollment goals.

To discuss specific tactics that will ensure your institution is maximizing its digital media marketing dollars in today’s increasingly competitive digital landscape, reach out now. We’d be happy to connect you with a Spark451 digital marketing specialist.