Digital Ad Spend is Climbing: 10 Advertisers Behind the Spike

Digital Ad Spend is Climbing: 10 Advertisers Behind the Spike

With the entire economic landscape transformed since the Coronavirus pandemic, you may be wondering whether moving forward with your business development is worth it, especially in the advertising space.

The answer? Yes.

In this article, we will cover which industries have been hit the hardest and outline which advertisers are surging their ad spend now to accommodate new consumer realities. Opportunities are still to be had and now’s the time to pivot your focus and capitalize on the new ad opportunities.

What industries are being hit the hardest?

It’s no surprise that the travel, hospitality, and entertainment industries have seen the brunt of the hit in this pandemic. These industries combined have seen a $332B shrink in market cap and value over the past month according to Visual Capitalist. As investor confidence declines and market valuations plummet for key sectors, advertisers and ad executives are also waiving with confidence given the health crisis and new consumer behaviors. Ad budgets have already seen significant decreases in the first quarter. And, more than two-thirds (68%) of ad executives say the most pronounced ad spend cuts will be seen in Q2 2020, according to Advertiser Perceptions last week.

While some industries have taken a direct hit in market value and ad executives are cutting advertising spend, other industries are ramping up their digital presence fast. The trick during this time is to think strategically to pivot your company’s strategy to provide value to these new ad opportunities. New advertising trends are aligning with the new realities from likely and unlikely sectors.
For instance, it’s no surprise we are seeing ad spend spikes in video conferencing (Zoom, GoToMeeting, GoogleHangout) and work-from-home tech (Microsoft Teams and Slack), given “shelter in place” mandates for millions across the country. It’s also no surprise to see high user acquisition spikes for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ to help consumers stay entertained while social distancing. The key to any successful new strategy is to be proactive and adjust towards industries with the most potential, especially industries many are not targeting in their outreach.

Where’s the opportunity? 

The Winmo team has identified 10 companies in 5 major industries behind the digital ad spend spikes so you can pivot outreach strategies and focus your time on advertisers who are spending now.

    1. Home Improvement (Ace Hardware, Dyson)
    2. Hobbies/Interest (MasterClass, PennyHoarder)
    3. Entertainment (EA, Lego)
    4. Tech (GoDaddy, Wrike)
    5. Food (Dominos, 5-Hour Energy)

1. Home Improvement 

With spring in the air for many states, many typically take on home improvement projects this time of year. As construction and landscaping remain essential in at least 16 states during the coronavirus pandemic, this industry is still blooming with potential. We’ve seen this sector boost its advertising spending in key states as the pandemic continues.

Ace Hardware

Among many in the home improvement category, Ace Hardware is upping digital and social ad spend with free delivery promotions as the work-from-home workforce gets motivated to fix ‘that crack in the wall’ and construction needs still continue in many states. Social spend on Facebook has climbed to $7k per day and trending. Find more Winmo intel on Ace Hardware here.



Dyson has also seen a spike in digital ad spending with a 78% increase over the last 30 days to capitalize on a surge in home cleaning and self-care needs. Many of their ads focus on Dyson’s vacuum cleaners, fans, humidifiers, hand dryers, lighting, and hair dryers and stylers. Find more Winmo intel on Dyson here.

2. Hobbies/Interest

Given many lifestyle changes due to the coronavirus outbreak, the hobbies/interest industry has also made leaps in ad spend to accommodate for the close of nonessential businesses who have brick and mortar stores in the fitness, self-care, and hospitality sectors. According to PubMatic, this category has seen the second-highest ad spend increase with at a 31% lift globally during the week of March 15.


MasterClass comes out of left field with massive ad spend for this category. The online education platform where students can access pre-recorded tutorials and lectures by experts in various fields, has invested heavily for mind share this past week. Follow the dollars as they aggressively ramp digital display spend to $450k/day (primarily YouTube ads), supported by an additional $120k/day spend on Facebook. New customer acquisition is clearly the goal, and in a few weeks no doubt these efforts will expand to user engagement and user retention initiatives. Within Winmo you can also see similar online education spenders that mirror the Masterclass profile highlighted in the image below. Find more Winmo intel on MasterClass here.


The Penny Hoarder

This St.Perterburg, FL-based company is the US’s largest personal finance website. Given the economic downturn with a record of 3.3 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits during the week of March 21, it very well makes sense that many Americans are reading how to make smarter money decisions right now. Penny Hoarder has made a massive jump in ad spend, increasing digital spend by $3.6M since January, most of it seen this month. Top campaigns in the last 30 days help readers manage low credit scores and find creative ways to pay off debt.


3. Entertainment

Gaming satisfies the social pacification that many consumers seek from their entertainment in stressful situations, especially when many social distance. While people will do their best to pick up their routines as other options open up, the share of gamers will likely continue to increase as new audiences find the games that make them happy in an increasingly diverse gaming market. 

Electronic Arts

Online gaming brands like EA have been well poised to adapt their campaigns and have immediately begun dramatic ad spend increases since March 9th to capture additional market share and to drive habitual game/brand loyalty. Find more Winmo intel on EA here.


With many children stuck at home and needing entertainment other than Netflix or Disney+ – Lego has centered themselves in this arena. They increased digital media ad spend in recent days… and 83% direct buy. Find more Winmo intel on Lego here.

4. Tech

The technology and computing sector has also seen a surge in global ad spend. According to PubMatic, this industry has seen a lift of 14% post-COVID-19. This is likely due to the influx of work-from-home, online schooling needs, and many restaurants & retail stores trying to reach consumers digitally. Here are the “not-so-obvious” ad spenders in this category.


GoDaddy has increased its ad spend to support many small businesses including restaurants, retail, fitness, and real-estate businesses adapt to stay open through an online-supported business model. Find more Winmo intel on GoDaddy here.


Many businesses have moved to a fully remote team, which means online project management tools like Wrike are needed to enable collaboration and centralize communications among many workforces. Wrike’s ad spend started to surge to support the need.

5. Food

As the coronavirus spreads, restaurants and good businesses around the country have been affected in various ways. By mid-March, many state and city officials announced an executive order to shut down all on-site dining at restaurants and bars. The social-distancing mandates across the country are forcing delivery, drive-thru, and curb-side options. Some brands are already poised to lead the pack. Other food brands are capitalizing on the new lifestyles the general public is now faced to endure.


Domino’s has seen a 400%+ digital ad spend increase since 3/9, and matched social spend increase (Facebook) with an average daily social spend of $424k concentrated on NY and CA. The Shelter-in-place orders are forcing delivery opportunities to open up. Pizza Hut now beginning to follow Domino’s lead. Find more Winmo intel on Dominos here.

5-hour ENERGY

The portable energy shots are leveraging the time when many are at home doing multiple things, including working from home, cleaning the house, and tending to family responsibilities to help fuel consumers. They had a surge of $1.1M in YouTube video ads starting in mid-March, which focuses on key cities including Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles. You Find more Winmo intel on Living Essentials, LLC the makers of 5-hour Energy shots here.

So while you might be tempted to push pause on business development right now given the economic climate, don’t do it. Instead, get smarter about the audience you’re targeting and the offering you’re pitching! Many brands have adjusted their digital advertising spending to adjust to consumers’ needs at this time. Make sure you’re using the appropriate tools that highlight ad spend opportunities with brands like those highlighted in this report. 

To discover more advertisers spending right now, plus their brand and agency decision maker contact details, request a Winmo demo here.

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