Digital Marketing in the US Continues to Rise: Industry Experts Predict a $120 Billion Online Advertising Spend by 2021

in usa •  last month

Digital Marketing Spend In The U.S.

Digital marketers and businesses who advertise their products & services online know all too well about the continuous increase in competition in marketing their own brand and that of their clients through the means of the Internet.

The reason: digital marketing works! If no one was making money marketing on the Internet then no one would be spending money and there would be absolutely no competition.


Since digital marketing offers a lower barrier to entry to for getting a particular message out to the masses than more traditional forms of advertising - radio, T.V., newspaper ads - and can be tracked and optimized with very little effort, more and more affiliates, marketers, digital ad agencies, and businesses of all sizes continue to pour more money into their digital marketing campaigns,

Increasing competition is great for the digital marketing industry as a whole but it also increases advertising expenses and makes it harder for marketers and businesses to stand out in a crowd of millions of advertisers all touting their wares in cyberspace.

The Future of Online Marketing According to Digital Marketing Experts

The increasing rise in competition and ad spend is not only being seen by those who invest in digital marketing but by many experts in the field as well.

Forester, an American marketing research company, is already predicting that digital marketers will begin spending more on “quality advertising” than on “quantity advertising” for the next 5 years in order to stay ahead of their competition.

Their prediction cannot be taken lightly as the company has been following the digital marketing world, as well as researching & reporting on it, with a great deal of accuracy for the past 20 years.

What Quality Marketing Spend Means for Online Marketers & Their Budgets

Again, as more and more people enter the digital marketing arena more competition is created, which means sending a flood of “general” traffic to a particular product or sales page will not do. Instead, marketers are going to have to be more focused and pay a higher cost to get more targeted visitors who are ready to buy in order to get a decent return on their investment (ROI).

In this case, less will equal more!

Forester is also predicting a shift not only in advertising expenses but also in how online markets reach their targeted audience.

Increased Overall Spending

Just how much will ad spend increase over the next 5 years?

As far as the US is concerned, the following will constitute the majority of online ad spend due to its ability to target & attract quality visitors who are easily converted into leads & buyers:

Paid Search

Social Media Ads

Display Advertising

Video Marketing

Email Marketing


Many of the online advertising platforms like Google Ads & Facebook Ads have already seen a rise in their Cost-Per-Clicks (CPC) due to increased advertisers flocking to their site.

Google’s average CPC is already $2.32 per click, while Facebook’s average CPC is around $1.72!

Because of these increased expenses, the overall digital marketing budget is estimated to reach $120 billion by 2021. As of this year (2018), the current digital marketing investment within the US is approximately $111 billion.

More Online Video Marketing

For years, the top digital marketers have been imploring their following to start creating videos to engage with their audience on a more personal basis.


Videos increase conversions, produce a high ROI, builds trust, works well with mobile, encourages social shares, and is liked by the two biggest online ad platforms - Google & Facebook.

Remember, marketers have to look for more “quality” visitors now and in the future due to rising competition and video gives the most bang for the buck in this regard.

The truth is that video has a reach similar to that of traditional TV yet at a fraction of its cost, which is great for small businesses and larger enterprises alike. This is yet another reason why video marketing has been increasing each year since 2014, 114% to be exact, and should continue to do so over the next 5 years.

Millennials are Coming of Age

Millennials, those between the ages of 18 & 35, can not remember a time without the Internet.

Guess what?

In the next 5 years, they are going to be the ones purchasing the majority of goods and services online. They are already the most connected generation the online world has ever experienced.

Millennial purchasing power will only increase as their careers begin and they start their families. As they are already the “most connected” group of individuals online, marketers are going to have to tailor their advertising messages to fall in line with this new group if they want to stay ahead of the curve.

As of right now, Millennial shoppers already spend $600 billion a year in the US alone, so it makes sense why brands will increase their ad budget over the next 5 years to reach them.

Spending on What Works

American online marketers have had plenty of time to refine their advertising processes to know what works for them and what doesn’t. In other words, they are going to “scale up” solely on platforms, tools, data, and technology that brings them better conversions and the highest ROI moving forward.

Marketers are spending more money now on technology, data, & customer engagement (experience) than strictly piling their entire advertising budget into ad tests to see which traffic resource, ad, and landing page works best for their specific situation.

The switch in budget allocation will not decrease the total amount of digital marketing spend but only increase it as there are more opportunities appearing every day which online advertisers can tap into to improve conversions. Putting less money into testing just means putting more money into what they already know works and increasing their profitability by purchasing new customer experience tools.


Newer technology, millennial targeting, higher quality traffic, and video marketing look to be the driving force behind the increasing digital marketing budget forecast for the next 5 years.

Savvy marketers who can see these trends popping up in advance can take full advantage of them before the rest of the crowd does and separate themselves from the competition even before the competition even realizes what is happening.

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