Forecast: Digital To Top Traditional Media In US Ad Spend This Year

March 22, 2019

In what would represent a major advertising milestone, digital ad spend in the US is expected to outpace traditional ad spend for the first time this year. Recent figures from eMarketer forecast total US digital ad spend hitting $129.34 billion for 2019, making up some 54.2% of the estimated total ad spend for this year.

Traditional media’s share of US ad spend is expected to decrease from 51.4% in 2018 to 45.8% this year. Taking a continued hit in terms of formats is print (newspaper and magazine) advertising, for which spending is predicted to drop by 17.8% this year – making it second only to directories (19.0%) in ad spending decline.

Taking far less of a plunge, TV ad spend is projected to decline by 2.2% to $70.83 billion, largely due to the absence of political or Olympic spend. Out-of-home will see a small increase of 1.0%.

Previous research by eMarketer from last year forecasted that mobile ad spend would be nearly twice as much as television by 2020 (47.9% ad spend share vs 24.8%). Well on its way to fulfilling this prediction, current figures show that mobile ad spend this year will be $87.06 billion, which accounts for two-thirds (67%) of total digital ad spending.

Mobile’s dominance in digital ad spend hasn’t made its way to the B2B sector, where mobile ad spend still lags behind desktop (although not as much as in previous years), likely as a result of B2B buyers tending to research purchases at their desktop during standard working hours.

These most recent forecasts from eMarketer suggest that the duopoly of Google and Facebook could be facing a threat from Amazon. The US net digital ad revenue share for Google is forecast to drop from 38.2% in 2018 to 37.2% in 2019, while Facebook is expected to see its share go up only marginally (21.8% in 2018 vs 22.1% in 2019.) By contrast, Amazon’s digital ad revenue share is expected to rise from 6.8% in 2018 to 8.8% this year.

Supporting this data, a survey by Third Door Media found that 8 in 10 marketers were planning to increase their advertising on Amazon this year, with some 46% saying that they expect their Amazon ad budgets to increase by at least 25%. eMarketer forecasts that on a total revenue basis, Amazon’s US ad business will increase by 50% this year.

The figures from eMarketer can be viewed here.

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