According to eMarketer’s third annual comprehensive study, Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry: The Complete eMarkerter Series, spending on digital advertising will continue its astounding growth through 2014 and beyond.

The report breaks down trends and marketing dollars spent on all digital delivery systems, including desktops and laptops and tablets and mobile phones, and encompasses all advertising formats appearing on these devices across ten key industries.

Not surprisingly, since it already has the greatest investment in digital marketing, Retail will continue to be the top spender in this area, with investments increasing from current levels of around $11 billion to over $17 billion by 2018, an increase of 13 percent. It currently holds the largest share of the digital ad spending landscape with 22.1% of the marketplace.

However, other industries are increasing their spending as well in order to increase their digital presence. Overall, total digital add spending, across all industries, is projected to grow by 13+% from $50 billion in 2014 to just shy of $80 billion by 2018.

Following closely behind Retail are the Financial and Automotive industries. Of the two, Automotive is expected to see its share grow over the coming years, increasing from its current 12.3 percent to 13 percent by 2018. This will be a result of its steady increase in digital ad spending, growing from 2013’s $6.15 billion to $10.36 by 2018. The Financial services industry will also continue to increase its spending, but will see its share of the marketplace decline slightly to 12% by 2018.

eMarketer is also predicting slight shifts in the digital landscape, particularly as spending moves away from desktop to mobile formats. Again, Retail will be at the front, as it has already engaged in active campaigns to keep up with the changing habits of its customers. The Automotive industry is beginning to see the need to change as well as searches for vehicles have increased on mobile devices and is adjusting accordingly.

The objectives for ad spending – either direct response or branding – continue to hold steady at 60/40, respectively. However, eMarketer sees the line between the two fields merging as the trends towards goal-based marketing strategy slowly supplants price, measurement, or formatting considerations. In this sphere, Consumer products, Pharmaceuticals, and Telecommunications lean more towards branding as an objective, while Automotive, Financial, and Retail lean toward direct response approaches.


eMarketer. Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry: The Complete eMarkerter Series. May, 2014.