digital world

Digital Ad Spending. Forecasts and Trends.

Data on this post come from various sources: LSE, The Economist, STATISTA.COM, eMARKETER.COM, ADWEEK.COM, ZENITHMEDIA.COM

Every serious economist and analyst would warn that forecasts are to take cautiously and sometimes they are not to touch with a pair of tongs.

It would not be the first time, not the last either, numbers flunk in front of, say, turmoil that may come from the most disparate social phenomena. The system set to produce our wealth is so labile, you know.

I have seen lots of forecasts miserably failing all the time, and I know you have too.

Digital Advertising sets to take off.

The Internet is certainly overtaking the other media in the advertising market. The practice of trying to score points off opponents has always been a usual one in the market. Not always programmed though. No, this is no news at all. As it is no news that more and more businesses invest their money on digital (web and mobile) platforms in order to promote their brands and products. If people spend most of their time sticking at computers and phones, then, it is obvious that more and more ads will pour over there.

It is not so hard to guess. If you consider that the tools used to enter the magical world of the web are cheaper and cheaper–one doesn’t necessarily need an iPhone to get connected–and so are contracts from the telecoms, you get even more people with smartphones, tablets, and computers joining the party.

Past records, Forecasts and Trends

A statistic taken in 2016 showed the following data in billions (US$):

Total digital ad spending in 2015: 161.77

Forecast 2016: 194.6 – real data 181.24

Forecast 2017: 229.25

Forecast 2018: 269.85

Forecast 2019: 304.34

Forecast 2020: 335.48

Here’s some charts from the Zenith Agency highlighting past data and trends in North America.


Source: Zenith

Mobile will get the lion’s share

worldwide ad growth

Source: Zenith

Mobile advertising will drive digital ad spending over the forecast period. This year, mobile will account for 63.3% of digital and 24.3% of total media ad spending. By 2021, it will grow to a 77.1% share of digital and 37.1% of total media ad investments.

Apparently, ad spending will increase almost everywhere with Western Europe growing the slowest and Asia-Pacific and Latin America the fastest.

Some estimates point out that global digital advertising will exceed TV for the first time in 2017, with Internet US$ 204.72 billion and TV US$ 191.76 billion. And it will rise in 2018, Internet US$ 228.42 billion and TV US$ 193.75 billion. Others calculate that worldwide digital ad spending will reach US$ 223.74 billion in 2017, which represents 38.3% of total paid media expenses. Digital advertising is then expected to see double-digit growth through at least 2020.

Considering all media, traditional (TVs, radios, newspapers etc.) and digital, forecasts for 2017 show US$ 583.91 billion ad spending. This denotes 7.3% increase from 2016. This growth is said to be driven by increased expenditure toward digital platforms, particularly mobile.

Relying on the data by forecasts, we made this chart calling attention to trends of ad spending by type of media in 2019

2019 Ad Spend

As you can see, estimates differ, no surprise. Certainly, trends show this is a growing market.

So, what happens when a market gives a hint to grow?

Investments go toward the right direction. Go where the heart is. Ahem. Beg your pardon! Go where the profit is!

Now, as a final point, a smart look at what happens among the digital giants.

The Giants of the Web.


Alphabet (Google) 79.38

Facebook 26.89

Comcast 12.92

Baidu 10.36

The Walt Disney Company 8.65

21st Century Fox 7.66

CBS Corp. 6.29

iHeart Media Inc. 6.11

Microsoft 6.10

Bertelsmann 4.84

Viacom 4.81

Time Warner 4.76

Yahoo 4.65

Tencent 4.33

Hearst 4.10

Advance Publications 3.96

JCDecaux 3.76

News Corporation 3.64

Grupo Globo 3.54

CCTV 3.30

Verizon 3.19

Mediaset 3

Discovery Communications 2.97

TEGNA 2.74

ITV 2.56

ProSiebenSat. 1 Group 2.55

Sinclair Broadcast Group 2.50

Axel Springer 2.47

Scripps Networks Interactive 2.42

Twitter 2.25

Yep, the digital world is all around us, and somewhat inside us…

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