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Change in digital vs. traditional marketing budgets as per U.S. CMOs 2012-2020

Between February 2020 and June 2020, U.S. marketers indicated a decrease in spending on traditional media (excluding the internet) as well as investments in digital ones. This was caused by outbreak of the coronavirus and its impact on the entire marketing industry. However, since early 2015 there has been a visible advantage in the focus on digital marketing and advertising over traditional channels. In general, marketers have been reducing their budgets for traditional advertising, while growth in expenses on digital marketing remained positive. In February 2021, CMOs in the U.S said that their digital spending grew by 14.3 percent, relative to preceding 12 months.

Marketing budgets and spending in the United States

In the past several years, U.S. marketing executives devoted on average between seven and 10 percent of their company’s revenues towards marketing budgets. As of February 2020, this figure grew to 13.2 percent. Despite the heavy impact the coronavirus had on the industry, marketers are still expecting a positive growth in spending in 2021. What are these resources spent on? It is no surprise that digital is constantly on the mind of U.S. CMOs. Spending on traditional media is decreasing in favor of digital ones. In fact, one thing is certain – U.S. CMOs are and will be investing more and more in mobile marketing, which is evident by constant growth in the share of their budgets allocated to this medium.

Change in digital marketing spending and traditional advertising according to CMOs in the United States from 2012 to 2020

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Release date

February 2021


United States

Survey time period

2012 to 2021

Number of respondents


Special properties

among marketers from for-profit companies

Method of interview

Email survey

Supplementary notes

*Sample from the 2021 survey.
Traditional advertising refers to media advertising not using the internet.
Question: "Relative to the prior 12 months, note your company’s percentage change in spending during the next 12 months in each area."

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