Internet Advertising Statistics – The Rise of Mobile and Ad Blocking [INFOGRAPHIC]

Internet Advertising Statistics - The Rise of Mobile and Ad Blocking [INFOGRAPHIC]

It should come as no surprise that marketers love statistics. We have even found that some of the most popular posts on the Influencer Marketing Hub are those that highlight marketing facts and figures.

Researchers collect a considerable quantity of data about different aspects of marketing on the internet. They use this data to ensure that they know the latest trends in internet usage, and marketers have to adapt accordingly.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) provides a regular update on the state of the digital advertising market. Many of the statistics used here come from their 2016 Internet Advertising Revenue Full-Year Report, along with some 2017 stats from their Q1 ’17 Internet Advertising Revenue Press Release. We also look at some Hubspot-collected statistics related to Ad Blocking.

Internet Advertising Statistics - The Rise of Mobile and Ad Blocking [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Summary: Quick Jump Menu

1. Internet Advertising Revenues Increased 21.8% Over 2016, and Continues to Grow in 2017

According to IAB research, internet advertising revenues in the United States totalled $72.5 billion dollars for the 2016 calendar year. This was $12.9 billion (21.8%) greater than the 2015 results. This was predominantly the result of increases in mobile digital advertising.

IAB surveys the market every quarter. Their most recent quarterly result is for Q1 2017. This showed U.S. digital advertising revenues in Q1 to be 19.6 billion, the highest first quarter revenue ever recorded. This shows 23% growth of the same period last year.

quarterly revenue growth trends 1996-2017


2. Mobile Now Makes up More Than 50% of Internet Advertising

The overall increase in internet advertising revenue has been fuelled by a huge increase in mobile advertising. After 5 years of growth, mobile now generates more revenue than non-mobile. Mobile now makes $36.6 billion (50.52% ) of the total $72.5 million advertising revenue.

In comparison mobile made up 35% of internet advertising revenue in 2015, 25% in 2014, 17% in 2013, 9% in 2012, 5% in 2011, and 2% in 2010.

3. 87% Increase in Mobile Advertising Over the Last 5 Years

Back in 2011 Mobile Advertising Revenue in the U.S. only totalled $1.6 billion (and at that time non-mobile revenue was $30.1 billion). In the five years since then, mobile revenue has skyrocketed to $36.6 billion. This gives a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 87%, compared to a CAGR of non-mobile of 6%.

Although impressive, these figures actually dropped over the last year. In 2015, the 5-year CAGR for mobile was 100% (coming from a very low 2010 base of $0.6 billion mobile revenue) and it was 9% for non-mobile.

There was no mobile advertising recorded prior to 2010, but the overall CAGR for the 2006-2016 decade indicated 16% compound annual growth in internet advertising revenue.

4. Over the Last Decade, 53% of Internet Advertising Revenue was Made in the Second Half Year

In every year of the last decade, second half year internet advertising revenues have been greater than first half year revenues. Is this the Christmas effect?

The overall average was 53% revenue in the second half year, compared to 47% revenue in the first half. This was even more prominent in 2016, with second half revenue being 55% and first half 45%.

5. The Top 10 Leading Ad-Selling Companies Account for 73% of Total Revenues

Online advertising revenues may be increasing, but they are still highly concentrated with the ten leading companies accounting for 73% of total revenues in Q4 2016. The next 15 companies account for 10% of revenues.

% share of total revenues

Source: IAB/PwC Internet Ad Revenue Report, FY 2016

These percentages have remained relatively unchanged over the last decade, where the revenues of the Top 10 have fluctuated between 69% and 75% of the total.

6. Total Search Revenues Increased 19% in Full Year (FY) 2016, but Desktop Search Revenues Fell

The IAB Report separates ads by format - Search, Banner, Video and Other. Search is the largest category for both Desktop and Mobile ads. Desktop Search generated $17.8 billion revenue in FY 2016, down 13% from $20.5 billion in FY2015. Desktop Search represents 24% of FY 2016 revenue.

The increase in Mobile Search revenue, however outweighed the decline in Desktop, with Mobile Search revenues in FY 2016 having reached $17.2 billion.

7. Display-Related Digital Advertising Accounts for 44% of the Total Spend

IAB considers Display Advertising to be a combination of Banner Advertising (banners, rich media and sponsorship) and Video. The total of desktop and mobile display advertising was $31.7 billion in FY 2016, a 29% increase on 2015’s $24.6 billion. Desktop Display Advertising totalled $13.6 billion in 2016 and Mobile Display Advertising was $18.1 billion.

8. Desktop Video Revenues Increased 16% Over 2016

In FY 2015 Desktop Video ad revenue was 7% of the total spending. Despite a 16% increase in revenue generated by this format in 2016 it still remained constant at 7% of the total advertising revenue - $4.89 billion.

historical digital video revenues, full year

Source: IAB/PwC Internet Ad Revenue Report, FY 2016

9. Mobile Video Revenue Increased 145% to be 85% of Desktop Video Revenue in 2016

With total mobile digital advertising increasing overall it is no surprise that mobile video has increased its proportionate share, increasing from 8% of total mobile advertising revenue  in 2015 to 11% in 2016. Mobile video’s $4.2 billion brings it up to 85% of the desktop equivalent, and 145% greater than 2015’s mobile video stats.

10. Social Media Revenue Grew 49% Over 2016

Social media advertising revenue rose from $10.9 billion in 2015 to $16.3 billion in FY 2016. There has been a 54% compound annual growth rate of social media revenue from 2012-2016. This has had a huge impact on the overall growth of Mobile Digital ad revenue, with many people using their phones to check social media nowadays.

social media advertising revenue 2012-2016

Source: IAB/PwC Internet Ad Revenue Report, FY 2016
* CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

11. $1.1B Audio Advertising Revenue in 2016

2016 is the first year that IAB has separately measured digital audio advertising. The reason revenues have increased from this source is predominantly due to a rise in streaming music services. Of the $1.8 billion audio advertising revenue for FY 2016, $892 million was via mobile and $205 million via desktop, indicating clearly the types of devices people use to play music.

12. 73% of Consumers Dislike Online Pop Ups and 70% Dislike Ads on Their Mobile Phone

Hubspot and AdBlock Plus undertook a study to examine the effects of ad blockers on the advertising market, and how consumers felt about them.  They asked their respondents how they felt about nine types of ads, predominantly types of digital advertising, although they also included billboard ads, tv ads and magazine / print ads for comparison purposes.

how do you feel about the following types of ads?


By far the most disliked types of ads were online pop-ups (73%) and ads on their mobile phones (70%). The latter is particularly poignant, giving the huge increase in mobile digital advertising as seen by IAB’s research.

Interestingly, the most acceptable ads for the respondents were the traditional magazine / print ads and billboards, with the most acceptable type of online ad being text-only search ads (25% dislike).

13. 34% of Consumers Click on Ads by Mistake

When asked why they clicked on an ad, 40% said it was the ad just happened to interest them. A large 34%, though, admit that they clicked on the ad by accident. Only 7% stated they clicked on ads because they found them compelling or provocative. Consumers clearly have little trust in the majority of the banner ads they now see online.

14. 83% of Consumers Would Like to be Able to Block All Ads on Their Phone or Tablet, although 57% Found Search Ads Useful

Respondents were asked how they felt about being given the option to block all ads from their mobile devices. 83% stated that they would like the option. When queried about their views on different types of ads, 57% thought search ads useful (44%) or very useful (13%). In comparison, only 37% thought banner ads useful (31%) or very useful (6%).

15. 15% of Those Who Use an Add Blocker State They Don’t Care How Websites Make Money

The respondents who use ad blockers were asked how they justified their use of their ad blocker (they could give multiple answers, so the figures add up to more than 100%). 51% stated that it was their experience and they wanted to be in control of it, 51% also used them for convenience, 44% used them because they don’t expect to have to wait for an ad to appear, 18% claim to whitelist sites that display reasonable and appropriate advertising, 10% say they are providing an incentive to make better ads, 8% pay publishers through a subscription and paywall, and 15% bluntly don’t care how the websites they go to make money.

These survey results definitely provide marketers with things to ponder about. Traditional display-type banner advertising, particularly on desktop computers, is on the way out. Consumers no longer accept it, take notice of it, or often even use the devices these ads are targeted at.

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