According to a study from MediaRadar, programmatic spend in April was down 9% compared to the beginning of 2020. Travel brands in particular spent 79% less on programmatic advertising last month compared to March, while automotive brands pulled back on ad spend by roughly 40% over the same time period.

This is a big switch from before, where travel accounted for nearly 10% of programmatic spend across digital, according to MediaRader CEO Todd Krizelman.

“We’re not seeing a big turnaround yet,” said Krizelman; “When they stepped out, that created a hole that was not easy to fill.”

From automotive brands, spend was pulled back due to sports cancellations and rise in stay-at-home orders. However, things remain optimistic, according to Krizelman, as the automotive sector he believes will see an increase in spending due to campaign strategy shifts to accompany safety features.

The travel sector, however, faces a harder time to bounce back, he added.

“There are many companies that are going to face liquidity crises is if the economy doesn’t open up soon,” he said.

Other verticals saw an increase in programmatic ad spend in April. The education and training sector was up 70%; technology was up 63%; and beauty was up 35%, driven mostly by skincare advertisers.

The brands that saw the biggest rise in programmatic spend were Slack, Electronic Arts, GrubHub, Bank of America and Facebook, according to MediaRadar.

“The brands are viewing the pandemic as an opportunity. They are unexpected beneficiaries. They are leaning in,” concluded Krizelman.