Advertising revenue at the digital platforms jumped 40%

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 3 May 2021
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Snap and Pinterest collectively saw advertising revenue rise about 40% in the first quarter of 2021.

According to analysis by GroupM, the growth was not only because the quarter was being compared to the same three months in 2020, a time when the pandemic was just starting to drag on economies.

“Growth did slow because of early pandemic-related effects, especially in Europe, but not by much,” says Brian Wieser, gobal president of bBusiness intelligence at GroupM.

Generally, the platforms’ results have been boosted by a pandemic-sparked trend to digital. 

But comparisons in the second quarter of 2021 will be challenging.

The pandemic was in full swing in the June quarter of 2020 so any comparisons will be against a low base.

Apple also will be making changes to its operating system iOS and more generally the deprecation of third-party cookies will continue.

"While the changes are meaningful in operational terms, and similarly meaningful strategically for marketers, who should use the opportunity to reassess how they connect brand-building, creativity, media and identity together, we do not expect growth rates for the largest digital media owners to be observably different," says Wieser.


Google’s parent company Alphabet last week reported strong revenue growth for the first quarter, after “elevated consumer activity” across its services.

Google advertising, which includes Google Search & other, YouTube ads, and Google Network, reported a revenue of US$44.7 billion, up from US$33.8 billion the same period last year.

Facebook posted a surge in revenue for the first quarter, driven largely by higher ad prices on its platform.

The social media company posted advertising revenue of US$25.4 billion in the three months to March, up 46% year-on-year from US$17.4 billion.

Amazon grew its advertising revenue 77% to $US6.9 billion in the March quarter as brands chased consumers increasingly shifting their spend online.

The giant digital retailer is an increasingly major player as an advertising platform. According to eMarketer estimates, Amazon has more than 10% of US ad revenues.

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