The Best Digital Advertising Platforms to Use in 2021

The Best Digital Advertising Platforms to Use in 2021

In October 2020, we surveyed 1,440 marketers to discover what’s trending in digital advertising. 

During the survey, we asked marketers to share what platforms they currently use, what platforms they plan to use next year, and what platforms perform best in terms of return on ad spend.

Here’s what they said.

Google and Facebook still reign supreme

Surveyed marketers named Google and Facebook as their top digital advertising platforms, in terms of both usage and performance. Eighty-seven percent of respondents use Google, and the same percentage uses Facebook. A whopping 44% of marketers identified Google as their top-performing platform, saying it delivers a higher return on ad spend than any other platform. Facebook came in second, with 25% of marketers saying it drives the highest ROAS. Both platforms are thus pivotal to marketers’ success.


What makes Facebook and Google so special? Both platforms are contextual, empowering advertisers to reach potential customers during high-intent moments. To keep users engaged, they prioritize highly relevant content that ensures an excellent user experience. For these reasons, they’re well-positioned to remain in top spots.

Instagram is growing in importance

Regarding both platform usage and performance, Instagram followed closely on the heels of Google and Facebook. Eighty percent of respondents use Instagram, and 9% say it’s their top-performing platform.

With the same targeting abilities as Facebook, it makes sense that Instagram would be nearly as popular and effective. 

TikTok is making an entrance

When asked which digital advertising channels they planned to start using in 2021, one-quarter said TikTok, demonstrating that online video is becoming more important to advertisers. In an open-ended question, 116 marketers also identified TikTok as the “next big thing in digital advertising.” 


What’s TikTok’s secret sauce? “TikTok is more machine than man,” wrote John Herrman of the New York Times. “It is constantly learning from you and, over time, builds a presumably complex but opaque model of what you tend to watch, and shows you more of that.”

In other words, the platform keeps users engaged by curating a personalized video feed. Where other social media platforms have tried and failed to implement this strategy, TikTok has succeeded. The advanced machine learning system behind TikTok allows advertisers to reach the platform’s billion users with content that truly resonates with them. 

Get more insights from 1,440 marketers

Now more than ever before, it’s vital that you stay ahead of the curve. The years following the pandemic will not only bring increased competition but also new trends in consumer behavior, technological advances, and regulatory changes. To excel at digital advertising, you will need to remain agile and adapt quickly to anything that comes your way. 

Fortunately, you can see what’s on the horizon. In our 2021 Digital Advertising Trends Report, we share actionable insights from 1,440 marketers across North America. 

Download the report to discover:

  • What’s trending in digital advertising
  • What marketers plan to prioritize in 2021
  • Where marketers plan to invest in 2021
  • Which digital advertising platforms are paying off 
  • What top-performing marketers do differently 

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