U.S. Internet Ad Revenues Reach New High in 2015 at $59.6 Billion

2015 was a big year for marketers in terms of digital dollars.

According to the “IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report” by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC U.S, U.S. Internet advertising revenues totaled $59.6 billion in 2015; that’s a 20.4% increase over 2014’s $49.5 billion figure and an all-time high. Q4 2015 totals accounted for $17.4 billion in revenue alone.

Aside from a slight dip in 2009, annual Internet advertising revenues have increased steadily since 2005. In fact, the report states that its compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past decade of 17% has outpaced the U.S. current dollar GDP growth rate of 3% for that same duration. It also notes that Internet advertising was the leading source of ad revenue last year, surpassing TV, radio, and print.

Mobile has been a huge driver of this growth—experiencing a 100% CAGR since 2010, versus non-mobile’s 9% rate. According to the report, it accounted for $20.7 billion (or 35%) of 2015’s full year revenues and surged 66% from 2014’s $12.5 billion total, making it the advertising format with the strongest year-over-year growth. And even though search and display accounted for 34% and 23% of 2015’s total revenue, respectively when distinguished from mobile, these notable figures rose to 49% and 42% when they included the channel.

Social media and digital video also showed significant growth. According to the report, social media, across all platforms, accumulated $10.9 billion in 2015, jumping up 55% from 2014’s $7 billion. Furthermore, the report finds that approximately 18% of all Internet advertising in 2015 was related to the channel, versus 14% in 2014. Digital video, excluding mobile, experienced a 30% year-over year increase, rising from $3.3 billion in 2014 to $4.2 billion last year.

As for which industry experienced the largest Internet ad spending, retail takes the prize. The sector accounted for 22% of 2015’s total ad revenue, according to the report, just slightly increasing from 21% in 2014. Interestingly enough, retail is one of only two industries to see this small bump in spending. The automotive industry is the other vertical, which accounted for 13% of 2015’s total and 12% of 2014’s. The other industries analyzed—financial services (13%), telecom (9%), leisure travel (9%), consumer electronics and computer (7%), consumer packages goods (6%), pharma and healthcare (5%), media (5%), and entertainment (4%)—stayed consistent year over year.

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