The State of Digital Advertising

Matt Bremer

Account Executive/Media Buyer
Digital Marketing

There are many different types of digital ads, each designed for a specific purpose. Some lead you to a website, others direct you to purchase. And most are cleverly served to match your profile or a recent interest. That’s why we advertisers value them so highly. They help us target our customers more precisely and impact their purchase decisions when it’s most relevant.

Here’s an overview of four of the most used types today:

  1. Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a great way to target consumers who are actively seeking a product or service. Google is the gorilla in this room. They run 75,000 searches per second and are preferred by 92.54% of users. If you add in others like Bing and Yahoo the overall search rate increases to 96.62% of users says

Within SEM we also have Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising.

SEO is a set of techniques and strategies to gather organic traffic to your website using links, keywords, and quality content relevant to readers.

PPC allows marketers to only pay for users who click on their ads for more information, as you can see in the example above. This is a highly efficient way to stretch your marketing budget by focusing only on consumers who engage with your ad.

  1. Display Advertising

This form of digital advertising is like traditional advertising as it relies on images and text to attract the user’s attention.

These ads are placed on specific websites that match the demographics and psychographics of the desired target audience.

Different sizes and placements on a website allow advertisers flexibility in on how to display their ads, much like print ads of the past. Static banner display ads are the most common, but advertisers also have the options to create animated, video, and interactive ads to capture more attention in the cluttered digital environment.

Papa John's

3. Social Media Advertising

Social Media

Social media is another highly effective way to talk to your audience. According to, the number of active monthly users on Facebook is over 2.6 billion as of July 2020. You Tube, WhatsApp and Instagram account for over 5 billion active monthly users combined. On average, studies have shown that users of these channels spend nearly one hour per day watching content says It’s no coincidence that advertisers are increasing budget allocations to these channels. Dollars go where they eyeballs are. And social media ads are relatively low in cost, so companies can efficiently target their customers and track results of how the campaign preformed.

Targeting on social media, however, may be getting a bit more difficult as Apple recently announced that their latest mobile operating system will make it harder to target advertisement at users, possibly cutting into revenue for businesses that rely on such ads.

Facebook has taken exception to the changes resulting in a public feud between the two companies. Apple said in a statement that through the changes, the company is standing up for its customers, who should be aware of when and what data is collected and shared. “App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice,” the emailed statement reads. This issue is far from over.

  1. Email Marketing

You may feel that email is becoming a dinosaur. A relic of the early digital age. But it’s not so. According to Statista, the use of email marketing is growing between 2% and 3% per year until 2023. A survey from Adestra showed that 73% of millennials prefer the use of email to communicate with companies and a DMA Insight study indicated that 99% of consumers still check their email daily.

In order to garnish the average ROI of $40 for every $1 spent, a brand needs to have these four areas figured out: gather qualified subscribers, engage with the public, keep the audience engaged and have automation tools to help.


Digital Ad Spending Continues to Rise

Despite the pandemic which created headwinds for overall ad spending in 2020, expects total digital media spending for 2020 to be up 2.8%. And the forecast for 2021 is even more robust with a projection of 7.3% growth.


In 2018, TV and digital each accounted for about a third of the total U.S. advertising spending. The fastest-growing medium – digital – is projected to have reached a 40 percent-share by the end of 2020 says Total advertising spend in the U.S. is projected to reach 200 billion dollars in 2023. That’s 80 billion being invested in digital advertising!

There’s good reason for that shift. Digital advertising is generating strong results. This blog post just begins to scratch the surface on the strengths of these areas. Strategies to employ digital ads vary by industry and company, but if your company isn’t taking advantage of these trends, you may be missing out. The next time you see a digital ad, take a moment to think about how and why that company targeted you. And if it’s an investment well spent. They did.

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