In a world that’s just one Netflix binge away from cutting the cord on live television forever, it comes as no surprise that digital ad spend would surpass television ad sales.
Although digital advertising has been a constant presence for many years, money to fund these marketing tools was largely pulled from print budgets in the past. According to a number of advertising industry forecasters, this year could be different as digital advertising continues on the rise.
Television ad sales are expected to fall very slightly this year, representing the first real decline in this ever (aside from one small dip in a year during the recent recession). Forecasters expect a changing of the guard, both domestically and across the globe.
When will digital media overtake television in advertising? Some predict that digital media will overtake television as the number one U.S. advertising category in 2016, with nearly $68 billion in ad units sold. That’s $2 billion more than the forecast for television in the same market. The market research firm also sees a 5.2 percent increase in overall ad sales in the U.S. to $176 billion and a 4.6 percent increase in overall spending globally, to $526 billion.
However, other firms see the future a little differently. Although agency Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia also predicts that digital spending will consume television spending, it doesn’t anticipate the change for another couple of years — in 2018. It does forecast a similar growth in global ad spending for 2016, an increase of 4.7 percent to $579 billion. ZenithOptimedia also believes that mobile ad spend will overshadow desktop spending in 2018, with mobile accounting for 50.2 percent of Internet marketing spend.
No matter how the money balances out, the fact remains that television is still a significant part of most Americans’ daily lives. In one report, A.C. Nielsen Co explains that the average American watches more than four hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or two months nonstop per year). With digital dollars flowing more freely into online video, social media marketing and , advertisers would do well to pay attention to all trends if they want to stay competitive.