U.S. digital ad spending will pass traditional this year, eMarketer says

Pile of money
Google’s digital ad spend share will total 37.2% this year, down from 38.2%, while Facebook’s share will rise only slightly to 22.1%. (Getty/urfinguss)

The shift in advertising spend away from traditional channels toward digital has been ongoing for years, but eMarketer is predicting 2019 will be the first year that digital takes the lead.

The market research firm said digital ad spending in the U.S. will grow 19% to $129.34 billion in 2019 and account for 54.2% of estimated total U.S ad spending. Mobile ad spending will rake in over $87 billion, more than two-thirds of digital ad spending.

But traditional TV advertising won’t have to bear the brunt of this industry change. EMarketer predicted TV ad spending will fall 2.2% to $70.83 billion this year, and that decrease is largely due to no big elections or huge sporting events like the Olympics or the World Cup.


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“The presidential election next year will propel TV ad spending back into positive growth, before falling again in the following years,” eMarketer wrote.

Print (down 17.8%) and directories (down 19%) will face the most dramatic declines among traditional advertising categories.

RELATED: TV ad spending will decline again in 2018, eMarketer says

As digital ad spending grows, leaders Facebook and Google naturally loom large. But eMarketer said that Amazon is the digital ad giant to fear at the moment.

Google’s digital ad spend share will total 37.2% this year, down from 38.2%, while Facebook’s share will rise only slightly to 22.1%. Amazon’s share this year will jump from 6.8% to 8.8%.

“Amazon offers a major benefit to advertisers, especially CPG and direct-to-consumer [D2C] brands,” said eMarketer forecasting director Monica Peart in a statement. “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.”

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