US digital ad spending continues to grow. Between 2012 and 2017, investment in online and mobile paid media will increase from $36.80 billion to $62.83 billion, for a compound annual growth rate of 11.3%, according to a new eMarketer report, “Digital Ad Spending by Industry 2013: Forecasts and Key Trends.” Advertisers across vertical industries are making use of a host of proven digital ad tactics, while at the same time ramping up investment in newer formats such as digital video, real-time and native advertising.
While investments are unquestionably rising across the board, each industry is adopting digital at its own pace as it rises to meet its own unique challenges and opportunities. Some industries—such as retail and financial services—are early adopters in their use of digital tactics as part of integrated, multichannel campaigns. Others—such as healthcare and pharma—are further behind on the adoption curve.
In 2013, eMarketer also did a deeper analysis of digital ad spending to determine how much marketers in each industry were investing in tactics primarily focused on obtaining sales or leads (that is, direct response) compared with those designed to drive favorable opinion about a brand. Spending by some verticals—including travel and retail—skewed much more heavily toward direct-response advertising. Others—such as consumer packaged goods—remained more focused on branding.
Each vertical’s media mix was closely tied to industry dynamics, market conditions and advertising objectives.