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Digital advertising formats in the U.S. - statistics & facts

Digital advertising has become one of the most indispensable marketing tools worldwide. With internet penetration rates surging, marketing experts adopt digital marketing strategies more vigorously than ever. This shift from traditional to digital marketing channels is particularly evident in the United States - the largest digital ad market worldwide. In 2021, internet ad spend in the U.S. amounted to an estimated 153 billion U.S. dollars, and according to the latest projections, this figure will surpass 200 billion by 2025. The largest share of revenue is generated via search advertising, which has been the leading digital ad format in the U.S. for many years. In 2020, search accounted for around 42 percent of online ad revenue, but while search spearheads the industry, other formats also gather speed.

Search advertising leads the field

In 2021, digital search advertising spending in the U.S. amounted to approximately 79 billion U.S. dollars, marking a year-over-year increase of around 18 percent, and returning to a pre-pandemic level of growth. Post-pandemic upswing notwithstanding, current projections indicate that spending growth across this and other ad formats will gradually plateau in the future. Google was the undisputed king of search advertising, with the company’s ad revenue reaching a record 209 billion U.S. dollars in 2021.

Audio entertainment unlocks new advertising potential

Audio advertising has made significant leaps following the growing popularity of digital audio content in the United States. Previously considered an optional add-on, audio promotion via online radio, podcast, or music streaming services has become an essential part of many industry professionals' marketing portfolios in recent years. In 2020, digital audio advertising spending in the U.S. stood at an estimated 3.09 billion U.S. dollars, up by 13 percent from 2019. In 2021, U.S. podcast advertising revenue was projected to increase by over 37 percent, signaling the bloom of a new era for audio entertainment and audio content marketing alike.

Social media marketing keeps reaching new heights

Thanks to the rapid adoption of mobile devices, social media has become one of the most relevant digital advertising formats in the United States. As user numbers for social networks and photo-sharing platforms continue to rise, social media ad spend in the U.S. is soaring at a similar pace, reaching an estimated 57 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. Social network video ad spending has been enjoying a steady rise, with its value being expected to double between 2020 and 2023.

Consumers swayed by social & search

Search advertising was the most trusted digital advertising format among U.S. consumers in 2021, with nearly four out of 10 saying they found it trustworthy. Social media advertising proved to be a powerful tool to persuade consumers to make - that - purchase, with almost six out of 10 U.S. Millennials saying their buying decisions were influenced by it. When it came to enjoying seeing ads on their mobile devices, five out of 10 U.S. consumers said they did not do so – food for thought for brands aiming to step up their effectiveness game.


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