6 Points About US Digital Ad Revenues in 2019

June 15, 2020

IABPwC US Digital Ad Spend Share by Channel in 2019 Jun2020Internet advertising revenues in the US grew by 15.9% year-over-year (y-o-y) in 2019 to reach a total of $124.6 billion. Although that pace was a little down from the 22% y-o-y growth seen in 2018, it’s an indicator that appetite for digital advertising remains robust and far higher than for traditional channels. Here’s a look at some digital advertising trends from 2019, per a recent report [pdf] from the IAB and PwC.

1. Mobile Growth Still Strong

US mobile internet advertising revenues hit $86.7 billion in 2019, a y-o-y increase of 24%. As mobile matures as a platform, its growth appears to be slowing (compared to the 40% y-o-y growth in 2018).

Nonetheless, mobile continues to gain in the share of total online ad revenues compared to that of desktop. In 2019, mobile accounted for 70% of ad revenues, up from 65% in 2018 and 57% in 2017. It also stands in stark contrast to 2012, when mobile ad revenues accounted for less than one-tenth (9%) of total internet ad revenues.

2. Desktop Losing Share of Advertising to Mobile Across Formats

Desktop’s loss of ad revenue share is apparent when looking across formats. Desktop receives a larger share of its advertising from formats such as search (48%) and video (19%), and although revenues from both formats have seen at least some growth for desktop (0.4% for search and 15.9% for video), mobile has seen higher increases across the board.

Indeed, mobile search revenues grew by 20.4% y-o-y, and video revenue growth more than doubled that (44%).

Banner advertising continued to garner a much greater share of revenues for mobile (35%) than desktop (20%), with revenues up 21% year-over-year on mobile.

3. Digital Video Sees Largest Growth Among Formats

Digital video advertising stands out as the platform that enjoyed the most rapid increases in 2019. Although video ads only accounted for 17% of total revenues last year, they experienced 33.5% year-over-year growth, to reach $21.7 billion.

By comparison, search, which accounts for more than two-fifths (44%) of total ad revenues, grew by 12.9% (to reach $54.7 billion) and banner advertising, accounting for 31% of total internet ad revenues, grew by 13.8% (to $38.1 billion).

4. Digital Audio Ad Revenue Reaches New High

Considering the growing reach of digital audio in the US, it should come as no surprise that digital audio ad revenue experienced impressive growth in 2019. Total digital audio ad revenues grew by 21.2% y-o-y to $2.7 billion for 2019. Mobile device audio accounted for some 79% of total digital audio revenue and grew by 25.3% y-o-y. This is compared to desktop, which grew 7.6% over the same period for a total revenue of $562 million.

5. Social Media Revenues Grow As Well

Up 23% versus 2018, social media advertising revenues reached $35.6 billion last year. Following a trend that started in 2016, the largest share ($19.1 billion) of revenues occurred in the second half the year.

6. Majority of Non-Search Ad Revenues Comes From Programmatic

Programmatic ad revenue maintained its majority share of non-search ad revenues in 2019. At $57 billion, programmatic accounted for 81.5% of revenues in this area and grew 20.7% over the prior year.

Bonus: COVID-19’s Impact on Q1 2020

Taking a look at 2020, the IAB indicates that this year started out strong for online advertising. However, the spread of COVID-19 and lock-down measures that were put in place in the US and around the world prompted advertisers to cut or decrease advertising budgets, which resulted in digital ad revenues only growing 12% y-o-y in Q1.

Although this is still impressive growth, the IAB notes that not only is it lower than the 17.2% y-o-y growth seen in Q1 2019, but it is also the slowest year-over-year growth since Q1 2010, when revenues only increased by 8.6%.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Figures are based on IAB/PwC estimates.


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