U.S. Digital Ad Spend Will Surpass Offline in 2019

Online buys to hit $129 billion as Amazon drags on duopoly’s dominance

Online media buys will generate $172.29 billion in revenue by 2021.
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Today, digital becomes king.

eMarketer published figures today showing that total U.S. ad spend will hit $238.82 billion, with the amount spent on digital media buys surpassing that of traditional and accounting for 54.2 percent of the market. The research shows that digital ad spend will hit $129.34 billion in 2019, while traditional media buys will generate $109.48 billion, with total online media buys generating $172.29 billion in revenue by 2021.

Another notable trend documented by eMarketer: the Facebook-Google duopoly’s dominance of the U.S. online ad market is slipping for the first time, even as their revenue continues to grow, as Amazon continues to close in on their hegemony.

For instance, Google’s share of online U.S. ad spend will drop to 37.2 percent in 2019 from 38.2 percent 12 months earlier. Meanwhile, Facebook’s share of the market will increase slightly to 22.1 percent in 2019. eMarketer analysts noted the majority of that growth will be driven by Instagram–a byproduct of the privacy challenges it faced over 2018.

The most notable challenge to Facebook and Google’s share of the U.S. online ad market—their combined share of the market was 60 percent in 2018—is the continued rise of Amazon whose ad business will grow by more than 50 percent in 2019 when its share of the market will hit 8.8 percent.

“Amazon has a major benefit to advertisers, especially consumer-packaged goods and direct-to-consumer brands,” said eMarketer forecasting director Monica Peart. “The platform is rich with shoppers’ behavioral data for targeting and provides access to purchase data in real time. This type of access was once only available through the retail partner to share at their discretion. But with Amazon’s suite of sponsored ads, marketers have unprecedented access to the ‘shelves’ where consumers are shopping.”

Peart added: “The steady shift of consumer attention to digital platforms has hit an inflection point with advertisers, forcing them to now turn to digital to seek the incremental gains in reach and revenues which are disappearing in traditional media advertising.”

TV ad spending will decline 2.2 percent to $70.83 billion this year, largely because there are no elections or big events, such as the Olympics or World Cup. The presidential election next year will propel TV ad spending back into positive growth, before falling again in the following years.

The eMarketer report follows on the heels of an IAB report that found U.S. digital advertising revenues rose 22 percent year over year to $26.2 billion in the third quarter of 2018 and total spend throughout the first three quarters of last year totaling $75.8 billion.

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