The figures are out for the first half of 2013 and they show that the US online advertising market is at an all time high. Over $3bn up on the same period last year, the figures show a resilient rate of growth that belies suggestions the market is reaching saturation point.
The research was commissioned by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), which represents 500 major US media and technology businesses, and was conducted independently by the New Media Group of PwC. “Digital has steadily increased its ability to captivate consumers and then capture the marketing dollars that follow,” said the IAB CEO and president, Randall Rothenberg. “Mobile advertising’s breakneck growth is evidence that marketers are recognizing the tremendous power of smaller screens. Digital video is also on a positive trajectory, delivering avid viewership and strong brand-building opportunities.”
Indeed, mobile-based advertising is one of the big success stories to emerge from this new data. It now accounts for 15% of total revenue in the sector, up steeply from previous years. This developing trend is something the big companies were already aware of, hence the recent efforts that have been made by the likes of Google and Bing to make their services more mobile-friendly. Online video, meanwhile, shows a steadier rate of growth, probably because it usually functions as part of a larger campaign rather than being used as a independent marketing tool. Until one of the big online video companies starts offering click to call for direct conversions, this is how it is likely to remain.
“This report not only confirms that brands are making a greater commitment to interactive but also points to the fact that mobile and digital video are being identified as integral elements of the marketing mix,” said PwC’s David Silverman.
By far the biggest sector of the market remains search, despite it showing a slight drop in percentage terms compared with the same period last year. In straight revenue terms, it is actually up 7% (around $8.7bn), although surveys suggest that search engines themselves are increasingly unpopular with users.
Email advertising continues to languish at the bottom of the list, responsible for a comparatively tiny $78m in revenue; of course, this should not be taken to mean that email advertising is so useless that no one is bothering with it. What this dataset does not show is how the spend breaks down across different market sectors.