US digital advertising revenues in 2018 passed the $100bn mark for the first time, hitting a new high of $107.5bn, according to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report.

The figure, a 22% increase from the 2017 total of $88.3bn, was described as a “watershed moment for the digital advertising ecosystem” by IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg.

He noted digital’s ability to build direct relationships between brands and consumers and argued that “innovative platforms like over-the-top television, podcasts, virtual reality, and augmented reality all have the potential to help marketers forge even stronger ties with audiences, as brands navigate the new ‘consumer first’ playing field”.

E-commerce, including the emergence of the direct brand economy, has played a key role, the report said, while the popularity of “social stories” as a tool to connect with today’s consumers, is another factor driving investment.

Mobile and video continue to lead digital marketing’s growth. Mobile accounted for nearly two-thirds (65%) of 2018’s internet ad revenues, and, at $69.9 billion, was up 40% on 2017. Digital video, meanwhile, was up 37% to $16.3bn, while digital video on mobile devices stood at $10.2bn, a 65% rise from 2017.

Digital audio advertising grew 23% to reach $2.3bn and social media revenue rose 31% to $29bn.

“Digital marketing has unequivocally secured the lead in media market share, just as it has taken the lead in consumer mindshare,” said Anna Bager, Executive Vice President of Industry Initiatives, IAB.

“As audiences have shifted away from traditional media, digital has been a dominant force in capturing their attention – first from desktop to mobile devices and more recently to connected TV, smart speakers, and digital out-of-home.”

The roll-out of 5G promises even more healthy growth for digital marketing. Set against that, however, are the increased costs that may come from ensuring compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Sourced from IAB; additional content by WARC staff