Global Digital Ad Spending 2019

Digital Accounts for Half of Total Media Ad Spending Worldwide

Digital Ad Spending 2019

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Forecasts for seven markets: US, Canada, China, France, Germany, Latin America, UK

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About This Report
In 2019, digital will account for 50.1% of total media ad spending worldwide thanks to strong growth from major digital ad sellers like Google, Facebook, Alibaba and Amazon. Traditional channels will remain important, however, as advertisers begin to think more holistically about their advertising and marketing budgets.

What’s Shaping the Digital Ad Market

Despite early warning signs of a global economic slowdown, the possibility of a recession is not keeping most advertisers up at night. Ad spending will continue to rise across the globe, with digital driving most of the growth. That said, total media and digital ad spending growth rates will be weaker than they were in 2018, but that’s indicative of a market in transformation rather than budgets tightening.

“The advertising market is underperforming the economy, but we don’t think that’s because advertisers have stopped investing,” said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith. “Instead, we think they’re investing in other areas like advertising technology, data and ecommerce.”

In 2019, worldwide digital ad spending will rise by 17.6% to $333.25 billion. That means that, for the first time, digital will account for roughly half of the global ad market.

In some countries, including the UK, China, Norway and Canada, digital has already become the dominant ad medium. This year, the US and the Netherlands will join that group, with digital accounting for 54.2% and 52.6% of total ad spend, respectively. In Russia, half of total ad investments will go to digital.

Meanwhile, in less-developed countries such as those in Latin America and parts of Southeast Asia, digital ad investments will continue to lag behind traditional for the foreseeable future.

Google will remain the largest digital ad seller in the world in 2019, accounting for 31.1% of worldwide ad spending, or $103.73 billion. Facebook will be No. 2, with $67.37 billion in net ad revenues, followed by China-based Alibaba, at $29.20 billion. Though Amazon has been steadily chipping away at the Google-Facebook duopoly in the US, it will be a smaller player on the global stage, with $14.03 billion in ad revenues. (That still makes it the fourth-largest digital ad seller worldwide, however.)

The continuing shift toward digital advertising doesn’t mean that traditional channels will be neglected in 2019. In fact, advertisers across the globe are beginning to strategize how to effectively leverage both traditional and digital advertising and more closely mirror how their audiences consume media. That’s part of a larger trend of convergence within the total marketing and advertising landscape.

“Brands are continuing to break down the traditional marketing silos and think about customer experience first and foremost,” said Sara Whiteleather, vice president of media at US-based AMP Agency. “That applies to traditional vs. digital and paid vs. owned. They’re thinking holistically about how to reach consumers across all the different touchpoints in the full marketing ecosystem.”

Brad Simms, president and CEO of global business agency Gale Partners, agrees. “There’s a real opportunity in 2019 for brands to tell sequential stories across different media platforms in a progressive fashion,” he said. “They’re starting to think about how to build interesting narratives about their brand, instead of just hammering people with the same message over and over again.”

But the path to cross-channel coordination isn’t easy, and it won’t be a reality for many companies in 2019. An average of 28% of marketers worldwide identified websites, mobile apps and video advertising, common channels for ad messages, as “siloed” at their organizations, according to a September 2018 Salesforce survey. That figure was higher for emerging marketing channels, like voice assistants and mobile messaging, but even some so-called traditional digital channels like email were above average.

At the same time, however, Salesforce found that the average share of marketers who said they dynamically coordinated messages across channels was up from 28% in 2017 to 32% in 2018, confirming that advertisers are actively working toward coordinated cross-channel engagement.

Reaching that goal will become even more important—and more difficult—as the number of marketing channels grows and the need to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) rises. In 2019, however, marketers will be better equipped than ever to rise to the challenge. Armed with data that will help them more fully understand the customer journey, they can better target their audiences and personalize messages cohesively across the marketing landscape.

“The past few years have been about collecting data,” said James Towers, founder and lead digital strategist at Australia- and Sweden-based 16K Agency. “Now it’s more about making meaningful connections from that data. Advertisers are asking themselves how they can use it to improve customer experience or tailor an online message. And they’re learning that the more they mine the data, the better connections they can make with their customers.”

Report Collection | Digital Ad Spending

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Table of Contents

  1. What’s Shaping the Digital Ad Market
  2. The Duopoly Around the Globe: How Does Amazon Fit In?
  3. Digital Privacy: Still Trending in 2019
  1. Key Takeaways
  2. eMarketer Interviews
  3. Sources
  1. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Greg Allum
LQ Digital
Vice President, Display and Social
Interviewed February 20, 2019
Jonathan Barnard
Head of Forecasting
Interviewed December 21, 2018
Tim Keller
Kolle Rebbe
Executive Director, Brand Strategy and Innovation
Interviewed January 22, 2019
Jacque O’Donnell
Group Commercial Director
Interviewed February 14, 2019
Tim Ringel
Reprise Digital
Interviewed December 20, 2018
Brad Simms
Gale Partners
President and CEO
Interviewed January 18, 2019
James Towers
16K Agency
Founder and Lead Digital Strategist
Interviewed January 16, 2019
Sara Whiteleather
AMP Agency
Vice President, Media
Interviewed February 1, 2019
Holly Zheng
BlueFocus International
CEO and President
Interviewed February 13, 2019


Jasmine Enberg


Alina Brentnall
Researcher, Europe
Chris Bendtsen
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Paul Briggs
Senior Analyst
Matteo Ceurvels
Research Analyst
Man-Chung Cheung
Research Analyst
Jaimie Chung
Associate Product Manager
Bill Fisher
Senior Analyst
Eric Haggstrom
Forecasting Analyst
Nazmul Islam
Junior Forecasting Analyst
Jennifer Jhun
Research Director, International and Special Projects
Angela Kim
Senior Researcher
Oscar Orozco
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Monica Peart
Senior Director, Forecasting
Showmik Podder
Forecasting Analyst
Shelleen Shum
Director, Forecasting
Tracy Tang
Senior Researcher
Karin von Abrams
Principal Analyst