US Travel Digital Ad Spending 2020

Ad Budgets Crater in Historically Challenging Year

About This Report
In a difficult year for digital advertising overall, US travel industry spending will decline faster than any other vertical. It will bring up the rear in total spending and claim the smallest market share of all industries we cover.

Executive Summary

In a difficult environment for advertising, the US travel industry will bring up the rear in overall spending, growth, and share, and by most metrics, will have the most challenging year any vertical has had since we began tracking digital ad spending.

How much will digital advertisers spend on travel ads this year?

Travel industry digital ad spending will amount to just $3.24 billion, a staggering decline of 41.0% year-over-year (YoY). We estimate that travel will account for just 2.4% of US digital ad spending, down from 4.2% in 2019.

How has the coronavirus pandemic changed our outlook?

Pre-pandemic, we estimated 19.3% growth for travel ad spending, a strong figure in line with the generally robust trends for digital across nearly all verticals. No industry had grown its digital ad spending at less than a double-digit rate in the past three years; travel’s 41.0% decline is unprecedented.

Which digital ad format will see the most travel spending?

Travel leans more toward search ad spending than any vertical. Search will account for 58.8% of its digital budget, compared with the industrywide figure of 40.4%. But the $1.91 billion that travel will spend on search will be the least it has transacted on the format since 2016.

Which platforms are favored for digital travel ads?

Unlike most industries, which lean heavily on mobile, travel is balanced between mobile and desktop/laptop ad spending (50.9% versus 49.1%).

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report includes our annual breakdown of US travel digital ad spending. It features a comprehensive overview of total digital ad spending, as well as estimates by device and format.

KEY STAT: US travel digital ad spending will plummet 41.0% this year to $3.24 billion. No other industry will decline as fast or spend as little.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. US Travel Industry Digital Ad Spending Outlook
  3. Digital Ad Spending by Device
  1. Digital Ad Spending by Format
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Read Next
  2. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Dave Antonelli
Dish Media
Director, Sling TV
Interviewed June 12, 2020
Arsen Avakian
Cooler Screens
Co-Founder and CEO
Interviewed June 17, 2020
Danielle Cravatt
Senior Vice President, Client Partnerships
Interviewed June 8, 2020
Klarn DePalma
MNI Targeted Media
Executive Vice President
Interviewed June 3, 2020
Stephani Estes
Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Media
Interviewed June 8, 2020
Doug Grumet
AMP Agency
Senior Vice President, Media
Interviewed June 9, 2020
Kunal Gupta
Interviewed June 4, 2020
Cheryl Huckabay
The Richards Group
Managing Principal, Media
Interviewed June 15, 2020
Jennifer Kohl
Senior Vice President and Director, Integrated Media
Interviewed June 10, 2020
Todd Krizelman
Founder and CEO
Interviewed June 4, 2020
James Malins
General Manager, Cross-Channel Strategic Solutions
Interviewed June 25, 2020
Japhia Mangan
Senior Account Director
Interviewed June 12, 2020
Mike Menkes
Analytic Partners
Senior Vice President
Interviewed June 9, 2020
Jon Morgenstern
Senior Vice President and Head of Investment
Interviewed June 18, 2020
Frost Prioleau
Interviewed June 3, 2020
Jon Schulz
Viant Technology
Interviewed June 10, 2020
Scott Symonds
AKQA Media
Managing Partner
Interviewed June 16, 2020
Jeremy Tate
DWA, a Merkle Company
Senior Vice President and General Manager
Interviewed June 4, 2020
Vanessa Vignon
Ubisoft Entertainment
President of Audience, Acquisition, and Management
Interviewed June 23, 2020
April Weeks
Executive Vice President, Media Services and Operations
Interviewed June 15, 2020
Brian Wieser
Global President, Business Intelligence
Interviewed June 26, 2020

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Ethan Cramer-Flood


Oscar Orozco
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Blake Droesch
Junior Analyst

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