Statistics & Facts on the U.S. Advertising Industry

The United States is, by far, the largest advertising market in the world. In 2016, more than 190 billion U.S. dollars were spent in advertising in the United States. This figure is more than double the amount spent in advertising in China, the second largest ad market in the world. Forecasts show healthy projections for the ad market in the U.S. for 2017, as media advertising spending is expected to reach the 207 billion U.S. dollars mark this year. Television has been the biggest advertising medium in the United States in the last few years, but is projected to lose the market lead in 2017 to digital. TV advertising revenue was forecast to grow from 73 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 to around 75 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 and 82 billion in 2020.


As Americans TV viewing habits have changed over the last few years, the TV ad market has been naturally adapting to these new ways of consuming TV. Primetime TV advertising has been one of the main pillars of TV ads in terms of revenue; yet only 18 percent of TV viewers in the U.S. watch the commercials during primetime shows. Advertisers still invest in television, but they are using different strategies to reach its public, as they turn to live TV for a wider reach or have a better integration between TV ads with other platforms. Online TV advertising is another alternative to this changing market; the medium accounted for an estimated four percent of TV advertising revenue in the U.S. in 2015 and was forecast to reach 4.9 percent in 2017.

Television ad spending, however, is projected to lose its top position in the industry soon. Digital advertising spending has seen an unprecedented growth in the last few years, and is expected to become the biggest ad medium in the U.S. by 2017 already. Digital advertising spending is forecast to increase from nearly 60 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 to around 83 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. In 2015, mobile advertising spending was already higher than desktop spending; this gap was projected to increase even further from 2016 onwards.

Parallel to television and digital advertising, more traditional mediums for advertising, such as radio, magazine, outdoor and newspaper, have seen their market share decrease in the last few years, as advertisers turn to other types of media. Together, these four mediums are forecast to account for 25 percent of all advertising spending in the U.S. in 2016, a significant decrease from the 2010 figure, then radio, magazine, outdoor and newspaper held nearly 40 percent of the share. Despite this decline, these mediums are still relevant for the industry, and both radio advertising and cinema advertising spending are projected to slightly increase in 2016.

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