U.S. Advertising Industry - Statistics & Facts

The United States is, by far, the largest advertising market in the world. In 2015, more than 180 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 2016, as media advertising spending is expected to reach the 200 billion U.S. dollars mark this year. Television has been the biggest advertising medium in the United States in the last few years, and is projected to maintain the market lead in 2016. TV advertising revenue is forecast to grow from 71 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 to around 75 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.

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 of four percent of TV advertising revenue in the U.S. in 2015.

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 50 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 to around 67 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. Display formats, such as video, sponsorships, rich media and banners, are the most popular formats in digital advertising in the U.S. In terms of devices, mobiles are the biggest bet of digital advertisers. In 2015, mobile advertising spending was already higher than desktop spending; this gap is projected to increase even further in 2016.

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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