A bevy of internet advertising financial reports, from the biggest names in digital media like Meta, Google and Amazon, have brought a deeper understanding of where the market sits today. And digital marketing has indeed hit hard times—some harder hit than others. Even Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri noted “pockets of weakness, primarily in digital advertising, that we will need to work through,” in an earnings call with analysts, and Apple barely relies on ad sales for its massive revenue machine. It generated $83 billion last quarter, mostly from device sales like iPhones.
In the past two weeks, Twitter, Snap, Meta, Google, Spotify, Amazon, Apple and Roku reported results offering insights into ads on websites, apps, audio and connected TVs. All companies noted that there are “macro-economic” challenges, such as inflation and signs of recession. Each of the major digital ad platforms have unique challenges in this new environment, including how they are coping with the changes that Apple has made to iPhones and its software, making it harder to track consumers online. Apple’s anti-tracking policies have made it harder for performance marketers, that use targeted ads to drive sales and downloads. Meanwhile, Twitter is dealing with totally unrelated uncertainty since it got into a battle for control of the company with billionaire Elon Musk, whom the company is suing to make good on a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion.
In general, the mood around digital advertising is grim. The IAB, the internet ad industry trade group, issued a report that said although brands and agencies still planned to spend more money in the second half of the year, compared to last year, they would spend less than they originally forecast. The IAB’s survey found that 84% of ad buyers, who expected an economic downturn, also expected ad spending to be affected by it.