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Survey: U.S. digital ad spend will approach $60B


Digital ad spending in the U.S. will total $58.61 billion this year, and retailers’ ad outlays will comprise 22% of that figure, according to new figures from eMarketer.

This is the fourth annual edition of eMarketer’s “Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry” report series. As in previous years, it is based on an analysis of hundreds of data sources as well as in-depth interviews with executives at ad agencies, brands and digital ad sellers—more than 60 interviews in all for the 2015 edition.

“While digital ad growth remains the story for all industries, it is not ‘one size fits all,’ and nuances among sectors reflect a variety of trends in the ways each industry approaches its market, targets consumers and closes sales,” said Victoria Petrock, principal analyst at eMarketer. “For 2015, mobile, digital video and programmatic buying are the brightest stars in the digital advertising lineup.”

Retailers will spend nearly twice as much as any other industry on mobile advertising in 2015, and the sector’s $6.65 billion will represent 23.2% of the $28.72 billion that advertisers in the US will spend to reach consumers on mobile devices this year. As consumers continue turning to multiple screens for research and buying while at home, in-store and on the go, retailers are increasing efforts to reach them throughout the purchase process.

A vast majority of retail sales are still occurring in-store—just 7.2% of US retail sales will come via ecommerce in 2015, eMarketer estimates—so omnichannel efforts are often bolstered by mobile ad spending directed at driving visits. In terms of programmatic buying, retailers stand even further apart from other industries. In 2015, the US retail industry will spend $3.71 billion to purchase digital display ads programmatically, which accounts for 24.9% of the $14.88 billion US advertisers will spend on programmatic buys this year.

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) and consumer products category is the second-largest sector for programmatic buying, and 63% of digital display ads among advertisers in that industry will be purchased programmatically in 2015, eMarketer estimates. With more than $2 billion in programmatic spending this year, CPG will account for 14.1% of all programmatic display dollars in 2015, compared with only 8.5% share of digital advertising overall.

According to one advertising executive interviewed for eMarketer’s report, CPG brands are “driving the shift into programmatic [and] also demanding better accountability for viewability and measurement.” As one example, Procter & Gamble announced in 2014 that it would dedicate 70% of its digital ad budget to be purchased programmatically, a key driving factor for these figures. When it comes to digital video, the retail industry will account for 19.9% of the $7.77 billion to be spent on digital video ads in the US this year, less than its overall share of the digital ad market.

Download the “Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry: The Complete eMarketer Series for 2015” by clicking here.

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