IAB: US digital ad revenue hits record $58bn in H1

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US digital advertising revenues reached $57.9 billion (€51.9bn) during the first six months of 2019 – the highest spend in history for the first half of the year – according to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report released by IAB and prepared by PwC US.

The record-breaking total marks a 17 per cent year-over-year increase from the first half of 2018. While increased growth is continuing in digital, the report also cautions that resources associated with complying with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the myriad of other data regulations proposed by states will likely have a negative impact on businesses in the digital marketplace.

“The uptick in revenues continues to be significant. IAB has joined forces with Privacy for America to advocate for national laws that will make it easier to protect consumer privacy, while continuing to fuel the digital economy,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO, IAB. “Further, innovation will likely be stifled when companies are forced to redirect resources to comply with an unwieldy patchwork of state-by-state regulations.”

Key drivers of the revenue growth are spotlighted in the report: video advertising was cited as a major contributor to growth, with spend climbing 36 per cent year-over-year to a total of $9.5 billion for H1 2019. With the growing pool of cord-cutters and cord-nevers continuing to drive the expansion of connected television (CTV), social video stories and other forms of non-traditional video content have advertisers increasing their investment in CTV.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Mobile advertising continues its explosive growth, reaching $40 billion for the first half of the year – a 29 per cent increase from the $30.9 billion spent on mobile during the same time period in 2018
  • Audio advertising spend is rising with the emergence of smart speakers, up 30 per cent year-over-year to a total of $1.2 billion for the first six months of 2019
  • Advertisers spent $1.7 billion on rich media ads during the first half of the year, 20 per cent more than they did during the first half of 2018

“Digital video growth has played a key role in giving 2019 the strongest opening six months in digital’s history,” said Sue Hogan, Senior Vice President, Research and Analytics, IAB. “Increasingly, advertisers are turning to social video stories and connected TV to reach a growing audience of ‘cord-nevers’ – a younger cohort who’ve never subscribed to cable television and cannot be reached via linear TV ads. Indicators show CTV and addressable TV are on the rise.”

“Our latest report confirms that the digital advertising industry remains one of the strongest and most dynamic sectors of the US economy. At nearly 17 per cent growth from the prior half year, the digital advertising industry is still far outpacing all other ad supported mediums. However, the pace of growth is showing signs of slowing. As smartphone ownership nears saturation and social media matures, the industry is focused on new channels for growth such as connected TV, augmented reality, and the vast potential of 5G.”


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