US mobile and digital ad revenues jumped 12% in 2020

Anne Freer | April 14, 2021

Mobile Advertising

On the back of growing demand from mobile and app advertisers, digital ad revenues in the US jumped 12% to nearly $140 billion in 2020, according to a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC.

The findings highlight that advertising within the tech space rebounded quickly after initially grinding to a halt due to the pandemic.

Digital video saw some of the highest growth at 21% to $26.2 billion, taking a 19% share of total internet ad revenues.

“The second half of 2020 made up for the rather abrupt drop in advertising revenue experienced toward the end of the second quarter,” said Susan Hogan, Senior Vice President, Research and Analytics, IAB.

“We not only had a rebound, we also had double-digit growth. The Q4 holiday season sales, typical use-it-or-lose-it year-end spending of media budgets, and revenue from political advertising all helped to offset the early Covid-19-induced decline.”

Social media ad revenues also performed well increasing 16% to $41.5 billion. They made up 30% of all internet ad revenues which shows just how resilient and successful social marketing has been.

Programmatic ad revenues increased 25% to $14.2 billion in 2020.

“We expected programmatic growth in double digits. Advertisers are using automated buying for more formats now, including CTV. The fact that Q2 2020 saw a shift from performance to mission-based messaging due to COVID-19 accelerated the speed of programmatic adoption for agencies and brands,” said Hogan. “However, there is some concern that programmatic delivery could be negatively impacted once 3rd party tracking is blocked.”

Following an initial drop in digital ad revenues, spending bounced back to 12% in Q3 and 29% in Q4. It shows that as the year came to an end, optimism returned.

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