U.S. digital advertising experienced tremendous growth in 2021. During the past year, the industry was able to capitalize on the resurgence of marketing budgets throughout the year (following a decline in Q2 of 2020) and the influx of isolated consumers who relied on digital media as their primary connection during the pandemic. Overall, digital ad revenue increased 35.4% year-over-year—the highest growth since 2006.
Digital ad revenues benefited as the entire digital market has expanded. According to a study by Deighton Associates, commissioned by IAB, the internet economy has grown seven times faster than the U.S. economy over the past four years and now accounts for 12% of the U.S. GDP. As consumer time spent and attention on digital media channels continues to grow, advertising expenditures allocated to digital media are following, particularly across digital video (including CTV/OTT), digital audio, social media, and search. Advertisers also looked to capitalize on opportunities to message consumers who, buoyed by government stimulus packages and a reopening economy, increased spending in 2021.