Through our numerous posts on marketing communications, we have discussed many aspects of that topic. Here, we examine the state of digital advertising in 2021.


An Industry Perspective: The State of Digital Advertising in 2021

Recently, Insider Intelligence/eMarketer produced a report on U.S. digital advertising. As reported by Ethan Cramer-Flood, here are highlights:

We estimate digital ad buyers in the U.S. will spend $191.09 billion in 2021, a 25.5% increase over last year. In 2020, growth was 14.9%, low by recent standards. But well above our expectations from just after the onset of the pandemic.

Which industry will spend most on digital advertising in the U.S.? The retail industry has long led the US in digital ad spending. And it will continue this year. Accounting for almost a quarter of the national total. In a distant second and third place are consumer packaged goods ($30.56 billion) and financial services ($24.49 billion). No other industry will spend over $20 billion per year until 2023.

Which industries will post the most rapid growth in digital ad spending? Entertainment had a difficult run last year. And it entered 2021 with plenty of pent-up ad buying demand. Its digital ad outlays will rebound by 37.2% this year,. While retail will see the second-fastest growth (34.5%). Consumer packaged goods (CPG) will be the only other vertical to produce a comparable rate (31.7%).

How much spending will go to mobile advertising? This year, mobile will capture $129.79 billion in spending. And level off with 68% of the digital ad market, after years of stealing share from nonmobile digital formats. Retail will  again be the biggest mobile spender in 2021. With 23.8% of the mobile ad market.

How will industries split spending among search, display, and video? Display will take share from search. But slowly. Collectively, industries will spend 56.8% of budgets on display and 40.0% on search. Of display spending, 51.0% will go to video. The first time video accounts for most of the category.

Now, look at the trends.

The State of Digital Advertising in 2021

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