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Online Ad Spend – My How You’ve Grown

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday September 18, 2012 )

Ever wondered how many ad dollars are spent on each Internet user on average?

It seems in 2011 in the USA, online ad spend per user in nominal dollars worked out to $131 – almost the quadruple the $36 spent per user in 2002.

According to MarketingCharts, even when adjusted for inflation, ad spend per user has grown by slightly less than 3x since 2002.

What that ad money has been plowed into has also changed dramatically over the years.

Back in 2000, display-related formats captured an 81% share of total spending. By 2004, that had halved due to the influence of search advertising.

By 2011, search had grabbed 47% share of online ad spending and display ads remained in the minority at 35%.

Last year, email accounted for a tiny 0.7% share of online ad spend.

The spend per user on search has grown dramatically. When it was still a young pup in 2000, it was just $0.67 per online user. By last year it had jumped to $47.

If you’re in the USA and have been online since 2000, it works out around $937 has been spent in advertising to you in nominal dollars on average. I guess many would prefer to have the $937.

For more fascinating advertising facts that are sure to make you the life of any party (as long as that party is full of marketing execs), see the full report on MarketingCharts.

Ad history trivia – Google started running ads in December 1999, but didn’t introduced PPC until 2002; which was shortly followed by a patent infringement lawsuit filed against the company by Overture.

Adwords is Google’s main source of revenue, generating a massive USD$28 billion for the company in 2010.

Jupiter Research has predicted $34.5 billion will be spent overall on US online advertising this year.


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