Per-​Consumer Online Ad Spending Quickly Rising

Are marketers allocating enough ad money to the online mix? There are several ways to measure these statistics and onlineshopperanswer this question. The analysts at MarketingCharts have taken at look at data from sources such as the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and determined that while growth in online formats has outpaced the increase in online population, the amount being spent still doesn’t match what advertisers pay to reach each TV viewer.

In nominal dollars, marketers spend $144 to reach an online user in the U.S. This is calculated by dividing the total digital ad spending by the number of online users. The comparable figure for TV is $225 per viewer. Not surprisingly, over the past several years, online ad spending growth has zoomed ahead of both inflation and the number of consumers who are starting to go online. This kind of change would be expected as marketers want to ‘catch up’ with online consumers and the amount of time they’re spending on the format.

Analysts also pointed out that marketers continue to spend more on search, per user, than on other well-​studied and popular formats as these numbers show.

  • Search $52
  • Display-​related $37
  • Classifieds $7
  • Email $0.48

Categories like display, classifieds and email are continuing to drop as marketers put more money into newer formats like video, mobile and social media.

It will be fascinating to see exactly when marketers will begin to spend more on digital formats than on TV in order to capture the attention of media-​hungry consumers. What’s your guess as to when this will happen?

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.