Digital audio and video ad spending increased more than 50% last year

Final numbers from 2021 show digital channels are up despite measurement challenges and regulations.



Digital audio and video spending both increased by more than 50% last year. Social media advertising and search revenue also saw substantial increases, according to full findings from last year’s digital spend released by the IAB and PwC. Marketers are all-in with digital video channels like CTV, as well as emerging platforms like TikTok.


The numbers from “IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report: Full Year 2021” show promising revenues in these spaces, even though measure and identity resolution challengers are still being worked out in many of these ad ecosystems.


The big takeaways:



  • Digital video is up 50.8% compared to last year, with total revenues of $ 39.5B; 
  • Digital audio captured the highest year-over-year growth, up 57.9% to $ 4.9B;
  • Social media advertising was up 39.3% to $ 57.7 billion and
  • Search revenue grew substantially (32.8%) in 2021, but it led to a slight decrease in total revenue share (reduction of 0.8 percentage points).



Why we care. Last year proved that many of the habits formed during the pandemic are here to stay. Work-from-home and a more flexible schedule for many has made audio an important channel with staying power.


Digital video is getting more diverse as streaming subscribers look for other ways to consume programming, including free ad-supported content, while more watchers continue to cut the cord.


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About The Author










Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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