U.S. digital advertising spending will cross $100 billion this year, with retail marketers spending more on digital ads than anyone else.

Spending on digital advertising by U.S. marketers will grow 18.7% this year and total $107.30 billion, new research from eMarketer Inc. predicts. 2018 will be the first time digital ad spending has surpassed the $100 billion mark.

Sellers of digital advertising should thank retailers for their support. Retail marketers spend more on digital advertising than marketers from any other industry. EMarketer projects U.S. retailers will spend $23.50 billion on digital ads this year, or about $1 in every $5 spent on the ads. Automotive marketers and financial services marketers are the No. 2 and No. 3 largest spenders, with those sectors spending about $13 billion each on digital advertising.

Of the $23.50 billion retailers will spend on digital ads this year, 69.4% will be on ads served to mobile devices. 34.5% of U.S. e-commerce sales were made on a mobile device in 2017. Mobile’s share of U.S. online sales is expected to reach nearly 50% by 2020, according to eMarketer estimates.

“Retail brands spend far more than any other industry on digital advertising because, in retail, it’s increasingly about winning in search,” says Patricia Orsini, eMarketer senior analyst.


The results of Internet Retailer’s 2017 Digital Marketing Survey found that 47% of e-retail marketers spent more than 50% of their marketing budgets on digital advertising. 18% spent 30-50% of their budgets on digital ads, and 35% spent less than 30%. More survey results can be found in the 2018 edition of Internet Retailer’s “The Best Digital Marketers in E-Commerce Report.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is the biggest winner in the digital ad game, accounting for more than a third (37.2%) of digital ad spending by U.S. marketers, prior research from eMarketer says. Facebook is No. 2, with about 20% of spending.

Retail marketers can expect to see some changes as they log in to bid or buy more digital ads with Google over the next month or so. Today, the advertising giant began rolling out new names for some of its ad products and services. Google AdWords will now be marketed as Google Ads. Google’s display ad network DoubleClick and its analytics suite, known currently as Google Analytics 360 Suite, will now be collectively dubbed as the Google Marketing Platform.

For those selling advertising space on their websites through DoubleClick for Publishers or DoubleClick Ad Exchange, they’ll now find a combined network under the Google Ad Manager name.


Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president of ads and commerce at Google, writes in a post on Google’s blog announcing the rebrandings that the name changes are meant to make it easier for users to choose the products they need. “As the opportunity to engage consumers has grown and become more complex, we are simplifying our products for advertisers and publishers of all sizes so they can more easily reach consumers anywhere, at any moment and on any channel,” Ramaswamy writes.