Ad Dollars Still Not Following Online and Mobile Usage - eMarketer
« Return to Mobile Website

Newsletters Sign-Up

Plans & Pricing

Does My Company Subscribe?

Ad Dollars Still Not Following Online and Mobile Usage

Spending low compared to time spent with digital media

March 31, 2011

Despite the projection that online advertising will increase its share of US major media ad spending by more than 10 percentage points between 2009 and 2015, spending on digital, including internet and mobile, has not yet risen to match consumption patterns, eMarketer estimates.

Among the major media of television, internet, radio, mobile, newspapers and magazines, US adults still spend the most time each day with TV. eMarketer estimates adults watched television for 42.9% of the time they spent each day with those media in 2010, and ad dollars align closely, at 42.7%.

The internet, by contrast, took up 25.2% of adults’ daily media time in 2010, but received just 18.7% of US ad spending.

“Those of us focused on the internet channel have complained for years that it hasn’t been getting its fair share of media dollars based on time spent,” said eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey. “However, the precise extent of that imbalance has been shrouded in mystery and exaggeration. Now we know—it’s a gap of 6.5 percentage points.”

Share of Average Time Spent per Day with Select Media by US Adults vs. US Ad Spending Share, 2010 (% of total)

Mobile is also behind. It claims 8.1% of time with these media, but most of that is devoted to communications activities marketers are not looking to interrupt. Magazines and newspapers, meanwhile, took in far more ad dollars than consumption.

eMarketer formed its estimates through a meta-analysis of data aggregated from research firms and other organizations that track advertising spending and time spent consuming various media.

These spending and consumption patterns mean that print media receive the most ad spending for each hour adults spend with them. Print ad spending has dropped considerably by this metric since 2008, but remains high. Even television gets only a third of the ad spending per hour that print does.

US Major Media Ad Spending per Hour Spent with Media per Adult, by Media, 2008-2010

Just $0.12 was spent on internet advertising for each hour adults spent on the web last year, and mobile got only a penny per hour. Digital media have a long way to go before dollars match up with eyeballs.

Keep your business ahead of the digital curve. Learn more about becoming an eMarketer Total Access client today.

Check out today’s other article, “Mobile Marketers Must Respond to Cultural Differences.”


  • Go beyond the articles:

    eMarketer Products

    You've never experienced research like this.

  • Hear from our clients:

    Customer Stories

    Nearly all Fortune 500 companies rely on us.

  • Want to learn more?

    Contact Us

    Inquire about corporate subscriptions today.