Digital Video Continues To Be One Of The Fastest-Growing Channels

Over the past four years, the internet economy has grown seven times faster than the US economy and now accounts for 12 percent of the US GDP. In 2021 alone, US digital advertising experienced tremendous growth. Consumer time spent on digital media channels keeps growing and advertising spend on digital media is following—especially across digital video, digital audio, social media and search. Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) latest report breaks down the industry’s growth for the full year of 2021.

Key Findings:

  • Digital video continues to be one of the fastest-growing channels, up 50.8 percent compared to last year, with total revenues of $39.5 billion.
  • Digital audio captured the highest year-over-year growth, up 57.9 percent to $4.9 billion.
  • Social media advertising was up 39.3 percent to $57.7 billion, as consumers continue to engage with Meta platforms, Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter.
  • While search revenue grew substantially (32.8 percent) in 2021, it didn’t grow as strong as other areas, leading to a slight decrease in total revenue share (reduction of 0.8 percentage points).
  • Small business growth engine will be a key contributor to fueling ongoing digital media and marketing ecosystem acceleration.

Advertisers also looked to capitalize on opportunities to message consumers who, buoyed by government stimulus packages and a reopening economy, increased spending in 2021. The explosion of new businesses created in 2021 was undoubtedly an additional growth driver. According to the Census Bureau, 2021 saw the greatest business growth in history with 5.4 million new businesses created. Those businesses rely upon the ad-supported internet to attract new customers and provide ongoing products and services. We believe the small business growth engine will be a key contributor to fueling ongoing digital media and marketing ecosystem acceleration.

2021 Vs. 2020 Internet Advertising Revenue

Internet advertising revenue in 2021 grew by 35.4 percent YOY, surpassing expectations on Wall Street and showcasing the US internet advertising industry’s resilience post-pandemic. In 2020, internet advertising revenue increased by 12.2 percent YOY to reach $139.8 billion.

Streaming media, including digital video and digital audio, are growing faster than the overall industry. If the total internet ad revenue growth index baseline were 100, digital audio reached 164, digital video reached 144 and social reached 111, according to IAB. Search and display advertising formats experienced less than average growth rates.

Desktop Vs. Mobile Revenues

In 2021, mobile and desktop ad revenues experienced record levels, far outpacing prior years. While mobile revenue grew by 37.4 percent YOY, desktop grew by 30.7 percent YOY.

This rapid growth is the result of several factors, including:

  • The permanent shift to hybrid work environments post-pandemic along with reduced business travel and the simultaneous use of mobile and desktops.
  • Consumers spending more time with all mediums of digital media, especially mobile for online shopping.
  • The economy’s rapid recovery after COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

Since 2011, overall internet advertising revenue experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.6 percent, mobile saw a CAGR of 55.8 percent and desktop came in at 6.1 percent. In 2021, mobile internet ad revenue reached 135.1 billion while desktop earned $54.2 billion.

Revenue Concentration

Though the top 10 companies’ share of growth has relaxed, together they comprise 78.6 percent of digital ad revenue for a total of $148.7 billion in 2021. IAB believes that this phenomenon, coupled with the reversal of multi-year loss in share among mid-tier publishers, points to the possibility that advertising revenue among mid-tier and long-tail publishers is democratizing. In 2020, the top 10 companies comprised 78.1 percent of all internet advertising revenue and in 2019 that figure was 76.7 percent.

2021 Results By Format

Among the top formats in 2021, search (41.4 percent)—historically the most prominent format—held the highest share, followed by display (30 percent) and digital video (20.9 percent), found IAB.

In that same year, search earned $78.3 billion after a 33 percent increase from 2020, display earned $56.7 billion after a 29 percent increase and digital video earned $39.5 billion after a 51 percent increase. 

Between 2020 and 2021, digital video witnessed the greatest advertising growth with a 51 percent increase in revenue and a 2.2 percentage point gain in market size. All other formats held 7.8 percent of the market at $14.8 billion with a 40 percent increase over its 2020 figure.

Formats By Device

Among the top device formats, each grew on desktop and on mobile. In 2021, desktop revenue for search grew by 21.9 percent YOY to reach $23.5 billion, display grew by 25.4 percent YOY at $11.8 billion and digital video grew by 58.2 percent at $12.2 billion. 

In 2021, mobile revenue for search grew by 38 percent YOY to reach $54.7 billion, display grew by 29.8 percent YOY at $45 billion and digital video grew by 47.8 percent at $27.3 billion. Other revenues also experienced growth from 2020 to 2021.

Digital Video: Desktop Vs. Mobile

Overall digital video advertising revenues, including connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT), grew by 50.8 percent from $13.3 billion to $39.5 billion from 2020 to 2021. Mobile accounted for the majority of digital video revenues at $27.3 billion as desktop accounted for $12.2 billion—1 percent higher than its proportion in 2020. 

Digital Audio Desktop Vs. Mobile

Just as digital video experienced immense growth in 2021, so too did digital audio. Digital audio advertising revenues, including podcasting, increased by just under $1.8 billion between 2020 and 2021 for a YOY increase of 57.9 percent with mobile digital audio revenues driving most of the growth. Desktop digital audio revenues reached $739 million with a 23.8 percent YOY increase over 2020. 


Programmatic advertising revenues grew by 39 percent, or $27.8 billion, between 2020 and 2021, to reach $99 billion (excluding search). Digital video, in particular, experienced the greatest increase YOY versus other non-search advertising mediums, especially on mobile devices.

Social Media

In 2021, social media advertising revenues increased by $16.3 billion over 2020 to reach $57.7 billion. 

Advertising Revenues And Growth By Digital And Non-Digital Media

Besides magazines, all media types have seen positive advertising revenue growth since 2020—including internet advertising (35.4 percent), TV advertising (8.7 percent), terrestrial radio (12.8 percent), newspaper (3.6 percent) and B2B (46.3 percent). Of all the media types, cinema experienced the largest percentage increase between 2020 and 2021 at 61.8 percent.

2022 And Beyond

Some of the key trends IAB says industry leaders are focusing on in 2022 include:

More Dollars Flowing Into Digital

Ad monetization embedded in gaming and emerging devices and experiences like virtual reality (VR) and the metaverse are rapidly increasing and will likely provide publishers, tech companies and content creators continued opportunities to earn revenue. Another trend that may continue to drive ad investment into digital is the ongoing rise of ecommerce and smartphone shopping. In response, advertisers will seek to place their messaging where transactions are happening.

Privacy And Addressability’s Impact On Measurement And Monetization

Consumers are becoming more protective over and aware of the value of their data, and as they are, publishers and platforms are exchanging for it ad-free, ad-light or ad-heavy content experiences. As consumers migrate to these ad-free and subscription-based experiences, ad-supported streaming services’ revenues are being threatened. Advertisers are finding themselves in a predicament—either continue operating in the space where legacy models deliver expected ad content and ad loads or embark into new territory toward personalized content delivered on the consumer’s terms.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion And Purpose

Consumers are now, more than ever, expecting brands to place diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of their business operations. And as advertisers respond and prioritize their needs to be purpose-driven, inclusive and authentic, their publishing partners will also have to engage in business practices and messaging that embody those values.

Jose Cuervo’s Metaverse Distillery Will Open This Summer

One metaverse margarita coming right up. This summer, Jose Cuervo will open the first distillery on virtual platform Decentraland to quench younger consumers’ thirst for virtual experiences, limited edition products and tequila education.

In a 3D hologram rendering, a star- and purple cloud-studded night sky sets the backdrop for the turquoise Jose Tradicional Distillery, whose perimeter is dotted with agave plants. Adjacent to the distillery is a large, lighted dance floor, presumably where some of the events will take place once it opens.

To bring the “metadistillery” to life, the tequila brand has teamed with Bompas & Parr, which will dream up the distillery’s aesthetic and consumer experience. M2 Studio will create the virtual space in Decentraland and program the user experience.

According to a Drizly retail report, 2022 could be the year that tequila outsells vodka, as nearly 80 percent of retailers plan to carry more tequila this year – on par with bourbon and 40 points ahead of vodka. These findings mirror sales trends on Drizly, where over the past few years tequila’s share of spirits sales has grown by 13 percent while vodka’s share has declined by 2 percent.

As the retail and entertainment industries discern the metaverse as a strategic priority and new frontier for business—from Decentraland’s inaugural metaverse fashion week to The Sandbox’s and Warner Media Group’s music venue—the spirits market has an opportunity to ride their coattails. Buying digital ad space in concerts and events and building brand awareness by launching NFTs that can be used to customize avatars are just a few examples of how. Beer brands like Bud Light and Miller Lite have already dipped their toes into the metaverse with limited edition NFTs and virtual bars.

And soon, users’ avatars can make some money by auditioning and starring in fashion shows, music videos and animated series, providing drinks brands yet another opportunity to advertise and engage users in the metaverse.

One spirits brand is betting big on this new world. Starting with 1,056 cocktail-themed NFTs, woman-owned Vodka brand Wisher Vodka launched in the metaverse before selling at brick-and-mortar retailers. Each Wisher Vodka NFT includes a case of vodka, merchandise, limited edition wearables for Decentraland and access to metaverse events.

Acura Is Launching A Digital Showroom In Decentraland

To promote its new 2023 Integra car, Acura is launching a digital showroom in the metaverse on March 22—making it the first automaker to do so—and its first limited edition NFT.

Running throughout March Madness, Acura’s metaverse activation will give the first 500 customers who reserve the 2023 Acura Integra the chance to claim an NFT designed by 3D artist Andreas Wannerstedt. Each Acura NFT will include the artist’s signature surreal textures and colors, which serve as an artistic representation of the latest Integra model. Reservations for the car opened on March 10.

Inside the brand’s virtual showroom, dubbed Acura of Decentraland, fans can experience the model’s features, browse Integra wearables—also created in partnership with Wannerstedt—play the Acura racing game “Beat That,” and explore other immersive rooms. Acura buffs can enter the showroom, which will open during Decentraland Fashion Week, via the microsite

In addition to running NFT-focused spots on social, Acura will air the Integra campaign on broadcast TV during March Madness games on CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTv. Digital displays and takeovers on and are also part of the mixed media campaign.

Over the last few years, Acura has made inroads with tech-driven marketing. At the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, its Mood Roads activation leveraged virtual reality to offer fans a full-sensory driving experience. Using brainwave technology, Acura tapped into drivers’ emotional, cognitive and physical inputs to create a unique environment with landscape, color and music that changed in real-time to reflect drivers’ moods.

Later that year, to showcase its 2018 TLX A-Spec car, Acura enlisted tech influencers and race car drivers for a live augmented reality (AR) driving race via Facebook Livestream.

Acura’s certainly not the first automaker to flex its metaverse marketing muscle. In September 2021, BMW launched Joytopia, a virtual world where fans could watch Coldplay perform live. The activation came in response to customers’ demands for personalized experiences in the digital space, according to Stefan Ponikva, BMW vice president brand communication and brand experience.

More recently, Mercedes-Benz debuted an NFT collection with five artists from around the world to celebrate its G-Class. Not long after, Lamborghini announced a series of five digital artworks accessible via a QR code engraved in five units of a physical object.

These Brands Are Betting Big On The Metaverse

Global metaverse revenue opportunities on things like live events, ads, social commerce and hardware are projected to reach over $1 trillion according to JPMorgan, and $800 billion according to Bloomberg. The market for game makers and gaming hardware alone may surpass $400 billion. 

Gaming and entertainment brands, as well as some fashion labels, are paving the way for brands seeking to navigate the metaverse. Meanwhile, Google contributed almost $40 million in a private equity fund for all metaverse projects and Walmart has filed dozens of metaverse trademark requests since December 2021. And big brands like Nike, Meta and Disney are creating their own metaverse business units.

There are already 1 billion active augmented reality (AR) users worldwide, and that number will almost double by 2024. What’s more, 56 percent of influencers say they currently participate in the metaverse. As marketers continue to break through the noise facing consumers 24/7, understanding and embracing new immersive technologies can be an effective way to engage and delight audiences.

According to Harvard Business Review, brands seeking to enter the metaverse should first determine their place in it and balance the risks and rewards of entering the digital landscape. Next, they should determine whether and how much of their target audience spends time in the metaverse and adjust their approach accordingly. The metaverse may be the next iteration of how we use the internet to connect, communicate and transact so it’s also important for brands to stay in a “test-and-learn” mode and remain agile as they venture into this uncharted territory. 

Ahead, see a round-up of some of the brands that have embraced the metaverse so far—or plan to in the near future—and how they’ve navigated some of the considerations raised by HBR.


Autodesk developers have recently begun using its software to design and build virtual worlds for entertainment and gaming. It now features several products for the purpose of rendering 3D animation, constructing virtual buildings and creating within virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) landscapes. Revenues from this segment alone were up 10 percent year-over-year (YOY) in Q3 2021, further pointing to the possibility that Autodesk may soon be the main contender for metaverse developers.


In the Italian fashion brand’s metaverse retail store, digital shoppers won’t buy clothes but instead participate in gaming experiences with the opportunity to accumulate QR codes, which can then be used to make purchases in Benetton’s physical stores. The brand’s Milan flagship was transformed into a mixed-media experience to tease the look and feel of the store in the metaverse, according to WWD.


TikTok’s parent company is in the beta-testing phase of its own metaverse called Party Island. Though ByteDance refuses to label it a “metaverse,” conceptually Party Island is a metaverse. Users can create personal avatars, chat in a virtual world and schedule real-world events. The company spent $1.4 billion to acquire VR headset maker Pico—solidifying its entry into the metaverse space along with a number of other investments within the metaverse supply chain.


Google has started investing in the metaverse with a $39.5 million contribution to a private equity fund for all metaverse projects. Despite the failure of its AR glasses in 2014, chief executive officer Sundar Pichai has since frequently addressed the company’s ongoing interest in AR. It may even make services like YouTube and Maps available in the virtual landscape.

Gucci and Roblox

In May 2021, Gucci debuted the Gucci Garden, a two-week art installation aimed at raising brand awareness among young customers, inside Roblox. Upon entering the garden, visitors could view, try on and buy digital Gucci products to dress their blank, genderless avatars before exploring the garden’s themed rooms.

JPMorgan Chase and Decentraland

The largest bank in the US and seventh-largest in the world has recently made moves to modernize its brand by designing and launching a lounge in the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland called The Onyx. The opening coincided with the release of its report on growth opportunities within the metaverse, which found that the metaverse’s market opportunity will reach over $1 trillion in annual revenues. It said the risk of “being left behind is worth the incremental investment needed to get started” in the race to occupy a space in the metaverse.


Few companies are boldly pushing for a metaverse future the way Meta, formerly Facebook, is. Mark Zuckerberg has shifted the company’s priority almost entirely to the metaverse and has committed a $10 billion initial investment in development, and has filed for several patents related to tech that utilizes metaverse users’ biometric data to generate what they see in the virtual landscape. The company intends on monetizing the metaverse through virtual commerce and advertising revenue streams.


Microsoft aims to expand its dominance over the professional software market by integrating the Internet of Things into the metaverse, along with digital twins and mixed reality. For example, in order to troubleshoot, boost collaboration and directly interact with their product spaces, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces will allow professionals to recreate and visit their retail stores or factories during virtual meetings.

Additionally, the company made a substantial move into the social metaverse space in January when it announced its acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, which would give the company access to 400 million monthly active gamers. 

Microsoft’s Xbox celebrated its 20th anniversary with a virtual 3D museum where gamers could personalize their own avatar and camera POV to immerse themselves in the franchise’s history of consoles, games and infamous mistakes.


It’s no secret that the metaverse requires a monumental amount of processing power. That’s where Nvidia has a leg up in the metaverse. Chief executive Jensen Huang said that the metaverse could save money and resources while reducing waste by simulating plants, factories, power grids and other infrastructure products before they’re constructed in the real world.


Qualcomm recently announced a new partnership with Microsoft to develop new technology that facilitates consumer and enterprise adoption of AR. The company’s chief executive mentioned that its Snapdragon semiconductor products—which already power an array of augmented and VR devices, most notably Meta’s Oculus Quest—will dominate the next generation of the Internet of Things and the metaverse. 


Founded in 2004, the online entertainment platform that allows users to develop games has roughly 47 million daily active users (including about half of American children), 9.5 million developers, its own digital currency and several unique virtual experiences. The company recently purchased Guilded, a platform designed to connect various gaming communities.

Selfridges and Pokémon

To commemorate its 25th anniversary in 2021, Pokémon partnered with Selfridges, designer Charli Cohen and Yahoo Ryot Lab, to build a virtual city called Electric/City where fans could shop for exclusive virtual and physical Pokémon merch. Visitors were able to create custom avatars, dress them and view them via AR body-tracking Snapchat Lens and share them on social media and other virtual platforms.


The Canadian ecommerce company will play a critical role in monetizing the metaverse. It will be responsible for the digitalization of assets, currency and the ability for content creators to get paid. In 2021, it made two moves giving it a foothold into the possible commerce aspirations of the metaverse. First, it acquired the AR app Primer, which will allow users to see the effects of a purchase or project in their space firsthand—a powerful tool that’ll allow subscribers to build-out shopping experiences and stores in the metaverse. It also launched an NFT platform allowing digital creators—the first of which being the Chicago Bulls—to sell art and other content directly to consumers.

Several other companies are beginning to toy with the idea of a metaverse future by applying for trademarks. Brands like Victoria’s Secret, L’Oreal and McDonald’s and even the now-defunct Blockbuster have all filed trademark requests for online retail services featuring virtual foods, brand names, product names and more. Premier League champions Manchester City, along with its new partner Sony, is building its iconic home, Etihad Stadium, in the metaverse using Sony subsidiary Hawk-Eye’s image analysis and skeletal-tracking technology.

Innovating When You’re Already Digital-First with Quontic Bank’s Aaron Wollner

Aaron Wollner is the CMO at Quontic Bank where he is helping lead the charge of becoming the first digital bank in the metaverse.

On the show today, Aaron and I discuss his path to become CMO, where he got his start, and how multi-variate testing and other analytical approaches led to his belief around how to be data-led in a responsible way. Later, we discuss how Quantic Bank is an adaptive digital bank and how they are pursuing banking in the metaverse.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to innovate when you’re already digital-first
  • The importance of investing in people, not technology
  • What’s worth measuring and what’s not

Key Highlights

  • [01:30] Aaron’s take on being data-driven
  • [04:00] Aaron’s path to becoming CMO
  • [06:47] What it means to be an adaptive digital bank
  • [08:02] How Quontic was born
  • [10:03] How to innovate a digital bank
  • [11:37] Scaling and growing the market
  • [14:01] Building brand guidelines
  • [15:40] Investing in people versus technology
  • [17:44] Balancing what’s worth measuring with what’s not
  • [21:42] An experience that defines Aaron
  • [24:06] Aaron’s advice to his younger self
  • [26:49] Becoming the first digital bank in the digital metaverse
  • [28:29] The brands and organizations Aaron follows
  • [30:46] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned:

Follow the podcast:

Connect with the Guest:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

Adidas And Prada Launch Collaborative NFT Art Project

Joining forces to tap into the virtual and augmented reality of the metaverse, Adidas and Prada have announced the launch of an NFT project that enables fans to contribute to a large-scale digital artwork and earn some money for their involvement. 

Dubbed “Adidas Originals For Prada Re-Source,” the activation invites fans to work on a digital piece inspired by Adidas’ and Prada’s new Re-Nylon collab, a collection of high-end athletic wear made in Italy with recyclable materials.

Starting January 24, anyone can register with a digital wallet and contribute an anonymous image, which the brands suggest should capture something meaningful that demonstrates what play means to them. Adidas and Prada will select 3,000 at random to mint their submission as an NFT, free of cost.

Digital artist Zach Lieberman will compile the 3,000 tiles using openFrameworks—the open-source creative code library founded by Lieberman—into a single mosaic NFT overlaid on an Adidas for Prada campaign image. The NFT will be auctioned on SuperRare from January 28.

Adidas and Prada will split the proceeds from the auction sale. Nonprofit Slow Factory will receive 80 percent, Zach Lieberman, 5 percent, and shared between all participants who created a tile (after auction fees), 15 percent.

To sign up, users must complete a verification challenge then enter an 18+ waitlist, which will determine access to the randomized raffle to receive an invitation to mint.

Prada is far from alone in venturing into this new, virtual world of luxury that promises to help win over young consumers and capture lucrative sales. Burberry set the stage when it teamed with Mythical Games to launch an NFT in their flagship title, Blankos Block Party. A few months later, Balenciaga and Fortnite created virtual clothing and accessories for avatars as well as physical merch. 

Recently, Gucci announced a collection of NFTs with Superplastic, a global toy and digital collectible company. Balmain and Barbie debuted a collaboration comprising a ready-to-wear and accessories collection and a series of exclusive NFTs, the latter marking Barbie’s first foray into the digital art space. Gap also just revealed its first collection of NFTs in partnership with artist Brandon Sines, giving customers the opportunity to own a limited edition, collectible Gap hoodie.

How Are Brands Stepping Into The Metaverse? P&G Is Leading The Way

The metaverse is quickly transforming from theoretical to (virtual) reality. P&G joins the leagues of Nike and Coca-Cola by unveiling a new experience at CES this year, dubbed BeautySPHERE. The activation allows consumers to interact with P&G’s portfolio of brands through content and will continue after CES is done.

“BeautySPHERE was inspired by our ongoing commitment to find new and surprising ways for people to connect with our brands, products and values,” said P&G Beauty CEO Alex Keith in a press release. “Our hope is that, through these fully immersive, digital experiences, visitors can interact with our brands in surprising, engaging new ways.”

P&G Beauty Announces BeautySPHERE

The goal is to engage users of BeautySphere around P&G’s purpose-driven initiatives around sustainability and Responsible Beauty. Experiences vary from virtual visits to brand partner organizations like the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew as well as a program to plant a tree for reforestation efforts in real life, both of which promote the Herbal Essences brand.

“Outside of BeautySPHERE, these principles drive real-world impact and serve as our blueprint of innovation and product development for generations to come,” said Alexis Schrimpf, Vice President of Design, Global Skin and Personal Care. “We’re excited to share this approach with more people around the world through BeautySPHERE.”

The experience can be accessed via desktop computer at

Combating Ad Fraud And Brand Safety With Check My Ads’ Claire Atkin And Nandini Jammi

Claire Atkin and Nandini Jammi are the Co-founders of Check My Ads Institute, but you may have heard of them before. Claire writes the popular newsletter Branded, which breaks major stories about the advertising industry’s ties to disinformation and hate groups. Nandini previously Co-founded Sleeping Giants, the social media campaign that led advertisers to flee from Breitbart. Both are passionate about combating disinformation and marketing issues.

In this episode, Nandini, Claire, and I discuss the Check My Ads Institute, its importance, and its impact on marketers. Claire and Nandini are passionate about making marketers aware of the problem they face with ad fraud. It is in every one of our ecosystems, and marketers have to do the hard work to get out in front of it and stop supporting things like disinformation. Listen to learn much more about brand safety and how to become a member of their nonprofit.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Combating hate speech in ads
  • Where disinformation stems from
  • What is brand safety

Key Highlights:

  • [01:38] Where Nandini and Claire got their start
  • [03:00] Nandini and the Breitbart scandal 
  • [09:30] Claire’s crisis of inaction
  • [12:05] Why Claire and Nandini started Check My Ads
  • [14:04] The struggle with ad tech
  • [16:08] Facebook and disinformation 
  • [19:47] How Check My Ads combats disinformation 
  • [23:09] Partnering with Check My Ads 
  • [26:40] Where should marketers start? 
  • [27:37] Brand safety laundering
  • [30:45] Future plans for Check My Ads
  • [33:02] The experiences that define Nandini and Claire
  • [35:28] Advice to their younger selves 
  • [37:03] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned: 

Follow the podcast:

Connect with the Guest:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

IAB: The Economic Impact Of The Market-Making Internet

The internet economy grew seven times faster than the total US economy during the past four years and now accounts for 12 percent of the US GDP, that’s according to a new study from Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Harvard Business School.

To be exact, the internet economy’s contribution to the US GDP grew 22 percent per year since 2016, in a national economy that grows between 2 to 3 percent per year. In 2020 alone, the internet economy contributed $2.45 trillion to the nation’s $21.18 trillion GDP.

IAB’s 136-page report, “The Economic Impact of the Market-Making Internet – Advertising, Content, Commerce, and Innovation: Contribution to U.S. Employment and GDP,” is the fourth in a series of reports that measure the economic value of the commercial internet, published every four years since 2008.

Since IAB began measuring the economic impact of the internet in 2008, the internet’s contribution to GDP has grown eightfold, from $300 billion to $2.45 trillion.

The commercial internet generated more than 17 million jobs in the US, 7 million more than four years ago. This marks a dramatic increase compared with just 3 million jobs when IAB began measuring employment growth in 2008.

IAB’s research estimated that 850,000 people are self-employed and 450,000 work for small businesses in jobs that couldn’t exist without the internet.

The study also found that the commercial internet directly generated 7 million jobs and indirectly provided jobs to another 10.65 million people fulfilling service needs created by internet-based companies.

In addition, more internet jobs—38 percent—were created by small firms and self-employed individuals than by the largest internet companies, which generated 34 percent.

Upon analyzing thousands of smaller firms as aggregations, IAB estimates that those with annual revenues over $40 million created 27 percent of the internet’s jobs, and firms under $40 million created 19 percent of the internet’s jobs. Self-employed individuals and people working in small teams of five or fewer people made up a further 19 percent of the internet job total.

In the online creator economy alone, there are 200,000 full-time equivalent jobs (FTE), just short of the combined memberships of craft and labor unions SAG-AFTRA (160,000), the American Federation of Musicians (80,000), the Writer’s Guild (24,000) and the Authors Guild (9,000), according to the IAB.

That 200,000 figure, when combined with Airbnb hosts, Uber and Lyft drivers, Amazon flex drivers, Instacart workers, Amazon sellers, eBay sellers, Esty sellers, Craigslist sellers, Shopify-enabled websites and WooCommerce-enabled websites, adds up to a total of 1.3 million FTE self-employed jobs and jobs in teams of five or fewer people.

Platforms like Airbnb, Uber, DoorDash and Instagram directly employ more than 26,000 people in the US and sustain over 632,000 FTE jobs among independent workers on the platforms.

In 2020, podcasting, streaming video and digital gaming, which IAB notes “barely existed as industry segments when we did our first study in 2008,” employed 34,000 people and generated more than $40 billion of US revenue from internet-related activities. 

IAB also found that more than half of the employment in the advertising and media fields is internet-related, while digital entertainment companies doubled their employment during the last four years.

Additionally, news and information companies like Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters, digital publishers like Vox and The Knot, and multi-platform publishers such as Reddit and Hearst employed more than 142,000 people in internet-derived jobs in 2020, three times the 46,000 they employed in 2008, and 73 percent more than they employed in 2016.

With 2020 US ecommerce revenues of $213 billion, Amazon is the largest ecommerce firm. The next nine US ecommerce companies generated $118 billion in revenue, which is 46 percent of total 2020 US ecommerce revenues, according to the report.

The study also highlights congressional districts’ dependence on internet-dependent jobs. Seven congressional districts have at least 10 percent of their residents working directly in the internet ecosystem, accounting for 9 percent of total US internet employment. The remaining 91 percent of internet employment is spread across 425 congressional districts. Of those, 272 districts have at least 10,000 internet-dependent jobs.

So too was the human resources (HR) function. Prior to 2016, IAB found no firms producing internet software for use by corporate HR departments. In 2016, IAB attributed 5,600 jobs to HR software development. Four years later in 2020, IAB found 83,000 jobs, a 13-fold increase.

Harnessing The Promise Of The Digital Revolution With Stagwell’s Mark Penn

Mark Penn is the Chairman and CEO of Stagwell, the newest agency holding company with over 10,000 employees in more than 24 countries.

On the show, Mark and I discuss his journey from polling in his early teens to being the lead pollster for President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, through her Senate races. In addition to these accomplishments, Mark founded his own company, which eventually got acquired by WPP. His latest venture was the creation and build of Stagwell Group and the recent merger with MDC to create the newest agency holding company—Stagwell.

Later, we talk about the future of Stagwell—what they are looking toward, their strategy, and why they are a different type of holding company for marketers and brands. Ultimately, Mark believes “digital disruption is both the biggest opportunity and the biggest threat to marketing, and our marketers need to be able to effectively harness the promise of the digital revolution.” Listen to find out how marketers should be thinking about the future.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The four layers of the “marketing cake”
  • The importance of digital-first marketing
  • Marrying media and creative to power marketing

Key Highlights:

  • [01:28] The first poll Mark ever conducted
  • [03:34] Polling for the New York State Democratic party 
  • [05:00] Mark’s career path
  • [08:53] Landing Microsoft as a client
  • [12:04] Working with MDC
  • [18:00] The vision for Stagwell
  • [20:27] The four layers of the “marketing cake”
  • [25:40] Stagwell’s global ambition
  • [29:53] An experience that defines Mark makes him who he is today
  • [32:05] Mark’s advice to his younger self
  • [34:30] What marketers should be learning more about 
  • [37:50] The brands and organizations Mark follows
  • [39:00] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.