U.S. advertisers will collectively spend upward of $50 billion on digital advertising in 2014, according to new figures from eMarketer. This represents the fifth year in a row of rapid growth, reflecting broad economic and advertising industry trends that have driven nonstop, double-digit gains across virtually all industries since the trough of the Great Recession in 2009, according to the research firm. The eMarketer analysis also found that mobile spending is driving a lot of the digital growth, with spending levels roughly similar across industries, and virtually all sectors committing about one-third of spending to the mobile channel.
A new eMarketer ad spending report series breaks down digital spending by objective—direct response vs. branding—and by industry. While both direct-response and brand advertising grew at approximately the same pace year over year (about 16%), the report found that direct-response advertising increased from a higher base, and it gained $4.74 billion against $2.79 billion for branding objectives, making it the clear leader in market share.
Interestingly, the report also found that as marketers get better at measurement and attribution, the lines between direct-response spending and branding are blurring. Objectives for direct response are still squarely in the call to action, the report says, but branding is becoming more measurable and trackable.