U.S. advertising industry revenue 2004-2018

According to U.S. Census data, the advertising and public relations industry saw slightly increasing revenues in since 2016. At approximately 1118 billion U.S. dollars, the industry reached a record high in 2018. The significant drops in earnings in 2004 and 2009 can be tied to the general economic situation in the country at that time.

The advertising industry in the United States

The entire advertising and public relations sector in the U.S. reportedly spent around 72 billion U.S dollars in 2017. The industry, which is part of the NAICS structure under the code 5418, consists of smaller segments such as advertising agencies, PR agencies, media buying agencies, media representatives, outdoor advertising, direct mail advertising and advertising material distribution, with additional unclassified establishments falling under other related services. In 2017, Census results indicated that there were close to 38 thousand businesses categorized under this industry description, with the majority operating within advertising agency sector. Given their sheer numbers it comes as no surprise that the advertising agencies perform better in terms of payroll compared to other sub-sectors. Public relations agencies ranked second, with a combined payroll amounting to 5.4 billion U.S dollars in the 2017 Census.

Estimated aggregate revenue of the U.S. advertising, public relations, and related service industry from 2004 to 2018

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Release date

November 2019


United States

Survey time period

2004 to 2018

Special properties

taxable employer firms; includes advertising agencies, public relations agencies, media buying agencies, media representatives, outdoor advertising and direct mail advertising service providers, advertising material distribution services and other services related to advertising

Supplementary notes

Estimates cover taxable and tax-exempt firms.
Estimates have been adjusted using results of the 2012 Economic Census where applicable.
Figures have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Advertising agencies in the U.S."

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