Media and advertising spend are predicted to reach a high in the fourth quarter of 2021. Advertising and media buying trends are expected to follow the same trend as in previous years. This article will discuss how to prepare for Q4 media investments, what trends are expected this year, and why now is a good time to invest in media. 

Preparing for the Future 

 As we prepare to enter Q4 '21, there are several important things marketers will want to keep in mind. This includes creating a cohesive campaign plan and ensuring any KPIs and milestones align with this strategy. It is also crucial that technology teams collaborate closely when building out digital advertising plans as well as setting up ad servers, targeting mechanisms, delivery systems, etc. Lastly, it’s best practice to make sure all budgets are available before investing in media channels or platforms. A great way of doing this is by purchasing forward contracts where possible which give you more control over your spend budget but risk losing money if prices drop unexpectedly. The main point here being that now is an excellent time for advertisers because media investment is rising, shifting consumer buying behavior is creating new market opportunities, and technology platforms are providing more efficient advertising. Brands that take advantage of these changes early will have a competitive edge over other companies in their industry. 

Top Advertising Channels for Q4 and Into 2022 

 This year we expect to see the biggest growth in mobile and video advertising channels. Video is the fastest-growing segment of digital advertising with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5% by 2025 with mobile leading all other media platforms (43%).1 One reason these formats are growing so quickly is because of how efficiently they can target audiences on a more personalized level. Another factor fueling their surge is that advertisers have become better at understanding what types of ads work best for each platform over time and viewers seem willing to accept them as well (which wasn’t always the case). 

Media Buying Trends: What Brands Need to Know Going Forward 

 Given the recent industry-wide challenges with privacy, tracking user behavior, and transitioning to a world without third-party cookies, we do expect to see a portion of media spend dollars shifting back to more traditional ad placements such as out-of-home, television, and radio.  

These channels will likely see an increase in spend as brands seek to connect with users in other ways and leaning into a more omnichannel strategy to offset the headwinds on digital channels relying heavily on cookie-based targeting.  

This year we’re also seeing a big movement towards programmatic buying (which is expected to grow by 24.1% compared to 2020)2 because it allows for better targeting capabilities, measurement of ROI, etc. This means that even traditional media platforms can be bought via automated systems which makes delivery much simpler and easier. 

Holiday Season Spending and the Ongoing Impact of the Pandemic on Consumer Shopping Behaviors 

 As is the case every year, Q4 '21 will see increased ad spend as more brands compete for consumer attention during this holiday season. However, it’s important to note that there are several factors playing into how consumers shop this time of year which makes predicting trends difficult.  

One big shift taking place right now is a continued shift away from brick-and-mortar shopping because many people prefer buying online and avoiding crowded malls and stores altogether. This change has been accelerated by the ongoing pandemic outbreak due to the fact that fewer shoppers have been going out in public or even opening their front doors leading up to Christmas. One other factor impacting sales over the holidays could be related to retailers who may choose not to price gouge as they anticipate a drop in demand.  

Continuing to allocate a healthy portion of your media budget to digital is recommended so that brands can meet users where they are shopping all the way up to when a purchase decision is made. Digital ads should be used to get in front of consumers while they are browsing and convince them that your brand is the one they want to buy. We recommend reinforcing the digital ads with more traditional media placements such as television and radio to remind consumers of your brand during the holiday season.  


 The trends we've been seeing over the last several years all contribute to what will undoubtedly be a much different-looking media landscape by 2022 than it is now. There are numerous aspects that will influence this sea change, but there is no doubt that the global pandemic has had a significant impact on how businesses promote their products and services going forward. 

It has never been easier for marketers to reach audiences across various mediums with so many tools available at our fingertips. As we enter Q4 ‘21 it's important to be strategic about how you allocate budgets as well as collaborate closely with tech teams when building out digital ads campaigns. Media costs are expected to rise this year which makes now an excellent time for advertisers who want to gain a competitive edge by being first.  

Quick Key Takeaways 

  • Q4 ‘21 will see a surge in mobile and video ad spend along with programmatic buying due to the rise of technology platforms. 
  • Ad spending is expected to begin to shift back towards traditional media channels such as out of home, radio, television, etc. but it's important not to neglect digital ads entirely during this time period because they are still very effective at reaching users where they’re shopping (online). 
  • The pandemic outbreak has had a huge impact on how brands go about advertising their products and services moving forward which makes now an excellent time for advertisers who want to gain a competitive edge by being first. 

 MBI can help you prepare for your Q4 ‘21 media budget by providing expert advice on how best to allocate portions into different areas based on what we know about industry trends going into next year that way you'll be ready when 2022 rolls around! Contact one of us today to discuss how we can help your business create the perfect media strategy.