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Digital will account for 71.8% of US media ad spend this year, up 16 percentage points from 2019—and growing

Following a turbulent third quarter in advertising, our updated forecast shows it’s not all bad news. Digital ad spending will reach $248.72 billion in the US this year, up 12.5% over 2021, according to our forecast updated at the end of October. Spend grew by 37.2% last year, but slowed significantly in 2022 as it normalized from pandemic growth.

Our crystal ball: In 2026, digital ad spending will reach $385.47 billion and make up 80.9% of total media ad spend.

Here’s how digital ad spend breaks down:

Digital deep dive: Within total media spend, ad dollars are flowing to digital. In 2019, digital accounted for 55.6% of total US media ad spend. This year, it will account for 71.8%.

Stable coins: The economy looks nothing like it did last year, but our forecast for digital ad spend hasn’t changed much. Where spending is going within the category will shift.

  • For the first time this year, video will make up nearly one-third of digital ad spending. Video has taken over for banners as the dominant display ad format, driven by connected TV (CTV).
  • CTV’s performance will eat into mobile ad spend, which currently accounts for 68.4% of digital compared to CTV’s 8.5%. In 2026, mobile’s share will fall to 66.6% as CTV rises to 11.3%.
  • Search will account for 40.6% of digital ad spend this year, up about 1.5 percentage points from last year. But search’s stronghold within display will weaken over the next two years, and growth will drop from 16.9% this year to 7.4% next year.
  • Within display, which makes up more than half of digital ad spend, growth will falter to 9.9% this year, down from 37.5% in 2021. That hiccup comes from social, which is taking an ad spend beating.

Social anxiety: The third quarter was challenging for Big Tech, fueled by a hurting economy, the continued effects of Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency, and an overall musk of uncertainty.

  • Meta continues to account for the most US display ad dollars of any company, but its share will drop from 39.4% in 2021 to 30.4% in 2024, unless its metaverse can miraculously jump off.
  • Meta’s ad dollars are headed to Amazon, TikTok, and CTV.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.