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2019 Digital Ad Spend by Industry (Hint: Retail Dominated!)

By February 13, 2020March 9th, 2022No Comments

As retail marketers face increased demand to deliver on multiple priorities, it’s no surprise that digital advertising spend in the industry grew by nearly 20% in 2019. Retail marketers have robust to-do lists—raising brand awareness, attracting new customers, keeping current customers and increasing personalization in their marketing—and these initiatives require a solid digital advertising plan. 

E-commerce marketing budgets across all retail business models grew larger between 2018 and 2019, but the highest increases occurred within digital-first DTC (direct-to-consumer) companies. By July 2019, the retail industry accounted for 22% of all U.S. advertising spend, topping the list ahead of the automotive (12%), financial services (12%) and telecom (10%) sectors. A few key factors contributed to the spike. 

Amazon drove e-commerce ad spend 

Advertisers in the retail space know that a high volume of consumers begin their path to purchase on Amazon, often with a product search. While just under half of retail marketers dedicated digital advertising spend to e-commerce in 2019, 82% of those who did budget for it started using Amazon in the year prior. This signals a trend for the industry to continue watching in 2020. 

Search yielded returns for retail marketers 

Paid search is now the fastest-growing ad format used by the retail sector, according to eMarketer. 90% of retail marketers spent money on paid search in 2019, and the majority of those expect their search budgets to become larger. Responsive search ads are popular with 90% of retail marketers, and 77% plan to use audience targeting in search ads to an even greater extent in the future. 

Video drove social advertising strategy 

The video advertising bubble presented exciting opportunities for advertisers to reach audiences in 2019. 81% of retail marketers plan to increase their social ad budgets, and nearly half believe video is the most effective format to spend money on. 

Not sure how to sell advertising to retail marketers? Check out these resources: 

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Becoming a master of diversification has become necessary for future-proofing revenue. One revenue streams is gaining in popularity: marketing services. Click here to read more. 

5 Ways to Bundle Your Inventory to Increase Sales 

Multimedia packages are one great way to take advantage of audience-based selling, especially if your inventory spans many titles and channels. Click here to read more. 


Lineup Systems is the leading global provider of media sales technology. Its cloud-based system, Adpoint, is the industry’s only true end-to-end sales and revenue management solution. It has been specifically designed to enable media businesses to save time, work more efficiently, and increase sales. In 2021, Lineup Systems launched Amplio, an all-in-one platform that assists customers with data consolidation, data-driven continuous marketing, subscriptions, and billing.