Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry 2018

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Industry investment in US digital advertising will reach $107.30 billion in 2018, an 18.7% increase from $90.39 billion in 2017.

  • Keeping with the trend of the past several years, retail will far outspend the other industries eMarketer measured for this series, accounting for a 21.9% share of US digital ad spending.
  • Viewership of digital video—whether in long-form on over-the-top (OTT) platforms, or short-form on social platforms—continues to gain in popularity over live TV, especially among millennials and Gen Z. Advertisers hoping to reach these consumers are directing more ad dollars toward video formats.
  • The rise in spending in social channels can be attributed to much of the same factors as digital video: It’s where younger consumers are spending time. Snapchat and Instagram are gaining ground, especially with brands investing in influencer campaigns.
  • Mobile spend is increasing across all industries, as it allows for more targeted ad campaigns. Brands want to engage consumers with more relevant messages, and they are looking to mobile’s capability to offer real-time, personalized offers.
  • Brand safety, fraud and viewability remain top of mind for brands, especially the largest spenders. They’ve gained leverage over ad tech firms and media agencies as demands for better accountability and transparency take hold. But talk of cutting ad spend as the digital ad ecosystem cleans house has been mostly just that. Brands are being more deliberate in their ad buys, taking more control of programmatic and putting dollars toward premium sites. All of these steps have created better return on investment (ROI), and a willingness to spend more where they believe their dollars are working.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This provides a snapshot of eMarketer’s annual forecast for digital ad spending across 10 industries.

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Table of Contents

  1. Digital Ad Spending Trends, by Industry
  2. Automotive
  3. CPG and Consumer Products
  4. Financial Services
  1. Healthcare and Pharma
  2. Media and Entertainment
  3. Retail
  4. Telecom, Computing Products and Consumer Electronics
  1. Travel
  2. eMarketer Interviews
  3. Read Next
  4. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Lee Baler
Senior Media Director, Planning and Investment
Interviewed April 17, 2018
Joseph Barbagallo
Jaguar, Land Rover North America
Manager, Digital, Social and CRM
Interviewed April 12, 2018
Alia Kemet
McCormick & Company
US Digital Marketing Director
Interviewed May 10, 2018
Brian Krick
Executive Vice President, Global Media Planning
Interviewed March 4, 2018
Jeremy Leon
Laundry Service
Senior Vice President, Media
Interviewed April 6, 2018
Jeffrey Rothman
Danone North America
Vice President, Marketing
Interviewed April 20, 2018
Brooke Skinner Ricketts
Interviewed April 11, 2018
Shelagh Stoneham
Senior Vice President, Brand Marketing
Interviewed June 14, 2018
Frank Puma
Managing Director, Digital Investment
Interviewed April 20, 2018
Agency sources
Interviewed April 11, 2018


Corey McNair and Patricia Orsini


Samantha Butler
Caroline Cakebread
Junior Analyst
Tricia Carr
Managing Editor, Interviews
Rebecca Chadwick
Senior Researcher
Annalise Clayton
Senior Researcher
Jeane Han
Senior Researcher
Oscar Orozco
Senior Forecasting Analyst

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