2018 Saw an Increase in Digital Ad Spend: Here’s What It Means for Your Business

Hermina Lezama

11/28/2018

There’s been a steady rise in digital ad spending in recent years, and for the first time, digital ad spend is projected to overtake traditional media in 2019. Let that sink in. Companies around the world are now putting more money into online marketing channels than they are into direct mail, television, radio, billboard, and print ads combined.

Between the sharp increase in digital video advertising and the fact that television ad spending has dropped for the second year in a row, it’s evident that the rise of digital media isn’t slowing down any time soon.

In this post, we’ll discuss the current trends and shifts in the advertising market, including the strength of video ads and how small businesses can leverage their media online to generate cost-effective results.

 

The Steady Rise in Digital Ad Revenues

 

According to a report published in May 2018 by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), online advertising revenues have always been on the incline. However, over the last four years, the trend has accelerated significantly.

The IAB annual reports show internet advertising revenues in the United States jumped from $49.5 billion to a record $88.0 billion in 2017. This includes a staggering $49.9 billion in revenues on mobile devices, a 36.2% increase from 2016.

These numbers reflect a range of modern changes in society. With the internet integrating into more facets of our lives and social media becoming a valuable channel for brands to engage customers, companies are steadily trusting the digital sphere to deliver positive results for their advertising budgets.

 

Breaking Down Digital Advertising Spending in 2018

With the first half of 2018 in the books, marketing professionals are crunching the numbers to get an edge in 2019. Based on the IAB Internet Ad Revenue Half-Year Report, digital revenues topped $49.5 billion in HY 2018, an increase of 23.1%. On mobile devices, revenues totaled $30.9 billion, a 42% increase.

These revenues show the power of mobile ad spending. Not only are online platforms creating a multitude of avenues to reach consumers, but these channels are delivering on their potential, and businesses are seeing real value in their digital spending.

 

The 5 Biggest Takeaways for Businesses in 2019

The digital advertising industry in the US has sustained double-digit growth for the last eight years. For business owners looking to take advantage of these trends, there is some valuable information you can use to make the most of your digital spending in 2019.

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the IAB 2018 Half-Year Report:

    1. Digital Ads Are Evolving
      With more total digital channels to utilize, each of them continually improving and expanding their capabilities, the digital world is continuing to offer more appealing opportunities for businesses to reach customers online.
      As a business looking to separate yourself from the crowd, take advantage of the latest updates and features on your advertising channels. This will help you stay current and make the most of your budget.
    2. eCommerce Is Driving the Mobile Trend
      Mobile ads are the driving force behind the boom of eCommerce. With the population growing more accustomed to searching and purchasing online, the rise of online shopping over brick-and-mortar retail stores is the most significant factor behind the mobile shift.If you’re a business that sells online, optimizing your eCommerce website can fuel long-lasting success.
    3. Voice Search Is the Future
      As technology continues to advance, so does the way we search. Google Home, Amazon Echo, and the various other digital assistants are changing the way we act online. People are searching through voice at an increasing rate, and shoppers are even making purchases through voice-only searches.If you’re an eCommerce website or any other type of business, optimizing for search can attract a new audience of searchers, which is only expected to grow over the next decade.
    4. Generation Z Should Not Be Ignored
      Whether your business is targeting youth demographics or not, Generation Z can influence your marketing returns. This is the youngest generation to adopt mobile devices, and they are more tech-savvy than other users, engaging and sharing more frequently than older demographics.If your business is looking to sell to younger audiences, using “buy” buttons on your site or shoppable photos on social media can yield noticeable ROI. If your business targets an older audience, making your site “sharable” can help Gen Z share your brand with their relatives and older friends who might be suitable customers.
    5. Digital Video Is a Gold Mine
      One of the most important takeaways from the growth in ad spending over the last year is the power that video has for businesses. Brands are engaging users of all ages through videos to connect and spread brand and product awareness. No matter your industry or audience, videos can be a valuable tool.If you’re a small business, you can use videos to share the personality behind your company and grow your market share in your area. If you have a new product or an improved product versus your competition, use a video to demonstrate its value. Whether your goal is to increase brand awareness, sell products, or generate leads, videos have proven effective in the past and are projected to do so for the foreseeable future.

 

The Key Takeaways for Business Owners

As a business owner looking to make the most of your marketing budget in 2019, there is a lot to learn from the steady increase in digital ad spending.

First, understand that the digital age is only growing, and ignoring online advertising is a surefire way to get left behind. Next, think about your audience’s behaviors, how they are searching for information online, and what you can do to show up when they search. Finally, look for ways to leverage the newest digital platforms for your business to achieve the best ROI for your ad spend.


For more advice on the latest digital trends, you can explore more informative articles here.

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