World’s biggest tech platforms are also massive investors in adspend

By our News Team | 2022

Big tech businesses have moved from being ad-investment sceptics, to ranking among the globe’s biggest-spending advertisers.

The eight biggest technology platforms in the world accounted for six percent of all advertising spending globally during 2021. In all, the likes of Amazon, Alibaba and Meta spent a whopping US46.6-billion on ads.

This is according to a new WARC study entitled ‘Big Tech’s Growing Share of the Post-Covid Ad Economy’, which finds the tech-platform sector’s spend on advertising is growing faster (+49.4%) than categories such as media and publishing (+34%), technology and electronics (+26%) and retail (+21%).

Last year, Amazon invested $16.9-billion in ads (up by 55.0% year-on-year), which equates to the most ever spent by a single company over a 12-month period.

At number two in the big-spending stakes is Alibaba, which invested $8.8-billion in 2021, a rise of more than 84%. In doing so, Alibaba has grown its share of total adspend in the category from 2.9% in 2014 to 19% in 2021.

Advertising Spending

Photo by Preis_King on Pixabay

Alibaba’s adspend is now ahead of Alphabet

For the first time, Alibaba now beats Google-owner Alphabet in total ad investment. For its part, Alphabet spent $7.9-billion, an increase of 47%.

Among the businesses analysed in the study, Microsoft is the company with the least commitment to advertising. It spent $1.5-billion last year – a figure that has remained largely unchanged in six years.

WARC Media’s Alex Brownsell, who is author of the report, said: “Big tech businesses have come a long way from being ad investment sceptics, to ranking among the biggest-spending advertisers in the world. As their dominance of the mobile-first digital commerce marketplace increases, so too their share of total global ad spend is likely to grow.

“It underscores that, while digitally-native brands can succeed in the short-term without the support of ad spend, long-term success often depends upon a willingness to invest in performance-enhancing and brand-building advertising.”