Social media advertising grew 39% in 2021

Anne Freer | April 14, 2022

Mobile Advertising

Social media advertising on apps such as Snapchat, TikTok, Meta and Twitter grew 39% to $57.7 billion last year.

The latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report: Full Year 2021 by IAB and PwC shows that digital media consumption continues to grow, meaning ad dollars are following fast. 

The internet economy grew 7x faster than the US economy over the past four years, accounting for 12% of US GDP. 

“We fully expected 2021 to be an exceptional year for digital ad growth, but even we were surprised at the degree of acceleration. Not only was every single digital channel up, but some were up more than 50% year on year,” said Libby Morgan, SVP, Chief Strategy Officer, IAB. “This year’s increase is 3x what it was last year.”

Digital video was up 51% compared to 2020 at total revenues of $39.5 billion. 

Digital audio captures some of the highest year-on-year growth, up 58% to $4.9 billion. 

Search didn’t perform as strongly as other areas but still jumped 33% in 2021. 

“What’s underneath these numbers is a very clear narrative. We are witnessing the total and complete democratization of access afforded by ad-supported digital channels,” said David Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, IAB. “Increased consumer usage coupled with extraordinary growth of small and mid-sized businesses during the pandemic has fueled growth across all digital — but especially digital audio and video. We expect this digital migration to drive the continued growth of a healthy and competitive digital marketplace driven by innovation and entrepreneurship.”

IAB expects digital ad growth to continue, driven by significant innovation in retail media, CTV/OTT, gaming, and digital audio.

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