April 26, 2017 Last Updated 2:39 pm

Report finds that mobile now accounts for more than 50% of all Internet advertising in the US

‘This increasing commitment is a reflection of brands’ ongoing marketing shift from ‘mobile- first’ to ‘mobile-only’ in order to keep pace with today’s on-the-go consumers’

The Internet Advertising Bureau today released the results of research conducted by PwC US that showed that Internet advertising revenue in the US totaled $72.5 billion for 2016, and for the first time mobile accounted for the largest portion. Overall, Internet ad revenues for the full year of 2016 increased 21.8 percent over the prior year.

“Mobile fueled the internet economy in 2016, with advertisers showing their confidence in digital to achieve their marketing goals,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “This increasing commitment is a reflection of brands’ ongoing marketing shift from ‘mobile- first’ to ‘mobile-only’ in order to keep pace with today’s on-the-go consumers.”

The full report can be found on the IAB website in both PDF and Word form.

The move towards mobile in Internet advertising can be dramatically seen in the graph below which shows that in 2010 mobile accounted for less than $1 billion in revenue, but now has reached $36.6 billion, compared to $35.9 billion of non-mobile.

The report also has some important historical numbers that publishers will find useful, especially when arguing with their media owners about what is going on in their industry – a constant frustration, I know.

Here is the press release for the report:


NEW YORK, NY — April 26, 2017 — Mobile advertising accounted for more than half (51%) of the record-breaking $72.5 billion spent by advertisers last year, according to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and prepared by PwC US. The total represents a 22 percent increase, up from $59.6 billion in 2015. Mobile experienced a 77 percent upswing from $20.7 billion the previous year, hitting $36.6 billion in 2016.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Digital video hit a record $9.1 billion in 2016, a 53 percent year-over-year rise from $5.9 billion in 2015
  • On mobile devices, video revenue skyrocketed, more than doubling—up 145 percent year-over-year—to nearly $4.2 billion
  • Social media advertising generated $16.3 billion last year, climbing 50 percent over 2015’s $10.9 billion
  • Search revenues reached nearly $35 billion in 2016, up 19 percent from $29.5 billion in 2015
  • Digital audio, measured for the first time in this report, brought in revenues of $1.1 billion in 2016
  • Retail, representing 21.3 percent of internet ad spend in 2016, Financial Services at 13.3 percent, and automotive at 12.5 percent, continue to have the largest category share, with Media (5.2%) picking up speed, up 13 percent over 2015

“Mobile fueled the internet economy in 2016, with advertisers showing their confidence in digital to achieve their marketing goals,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “This increasing commitment is a reflection of brands’ ongoing marketing shift from ‘mobile-first’ to ‘mobile-only’ in order to keep pace with today’s on-the-go consumers.”

“In a mobile world, it is no surprise that mobile ad revenues now take more than half of the digital market share,” said David Doty, Executive Vice President and CMO, IAB. “Digital video’s powerful ability to attract engaged audiences is naturally attracting greater investments. Next week’s NewFronts presentations will showcase the latest in original digital video content, certain to spark even greater interest from marketers and media buyers.”

“Mobile, social, video, and programmatic trends combine to redefine the digital landscape, providing unprecedented access for advertisers to reach consumers,” said David Silverman, partner, PwC US. “Digital audio, generating $1.1 billion in 2016 speaks to the continued evolution of new formats that enable marketers to find audiences at home, behind their desks, or wherever they are.”

Last year closed on a particularly strong note, as Q4 revenue hit a record $21.6 billion, an increase of more than 24 percent year-over-year. In addition, mobile took an even greater share of the final quarter’s U.S. digital advertising revenue than it did for the whole of 2016, claiming 53 percent of total revenue in the fourth quarter.

IAB sponsors the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, which is conducted independently by the New Media Group of PwC. The Q4 2016 revenue is estimated based upon a representative sample of the overall survey respondents. The results are considered a reasonable measurement of interactive advertising revenues because the data is compiled directly from information supplied by companies selling advertising on the internet. The survey includes data concerning online advertising revenues from web sites, commercial online services, free email providers, and all other companies selling online advertising.

The full report is issued twice yearly for full and half-year data, and top-line quarterly estimates are issued for the first and third quarters. PwC does not audit the information and provides no opinion or other form of assurance with respect to the information. Past reports are available at www.iab.com/adrevenuereport.

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