Mobile Captures More Than Half Of All U.S. Internet Ad Revenue

What: Mobile has captured more than half of all U.S. internet advertising revenue for the first time ever, while total digital ad spend hit a landmark US$72.5 billion in 2016 according to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report.
Why it matters:While mobile ad revenuesoars to an all-time high of US$36.6 Billion digital video surges to a record US$9.1 Billion.

Mobile advertising accounted for more than half (51%) of the record-breaking US$72.5 billion spent by advertisers last year, according to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and prepared by PwC US. The total represents a 22 percent increase, up from US $59.6 billion in 2015. Mobile experienced a 77%  upswing from US$20.7 billion the previous year, hitting US$36.6 billion in 2016.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Digital video hit a record US$9.1 billion in 2016, a 53 percent year-over-year rise from US$5.9 billion in 2015
  • On mobile devices, video revenue skyrocketed, more than doubling—up 145 percent year-over-year—to nearly US$4.2 billion
  • Social media advertising generated US$16.3 billion last year, climbing 50 percent over 2015’s $10.9 billion
  • Search revenues reached nearly US$35 billion in 2016, up 19 percent from US$29.5 billion in 2015
  • Digital audio, measured for the first time in this report, brought in revenues of US$1.1 billion in 2016
  • Retail, representing 21.3 percent of internet ad spend in 2016, Financial Services at 13.3 percent, and automotive at 12.5 percent, continue to have the largest category share, with Media (5.2%) picking up speed, up 13 percent over 2015

“Mobile fueled the internet economy in 2016, with advertisers showing their confidence in digital to achieve their marketing goals,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “This increasing commitment is a reflection of brands’ ongoing marketing shift from ‘mobile-first’ to ‘mobile-only’ in order to keep pace with today’s on-the-go consumers.”

“In a mobile world, it is no surprise that mobile ad revenues now take more than half of the digital market share,” said David Doty, Executive Vice President and CMO, IAB. “Digital video’s powerful ability to attract engaged audiences is naturally attracting greater investments. Next week’s NewFronts presentations will showcase the latest in original digital video content, certain to spark even greater interest from marketers and media buyers.”

“Mobile, social, video, and programmatic trends combine to redefine the digital landscape, providing unprecedented access for advertisers to reach consumers,” said David Silverman, partner, PwC US. “Digital audio, generating US$1.1 billion in 2016 speaks to the continued evolution of new formats that enable marketers to find audiences at home, behind their desks, or wherever they are.”


Full Year


Full Year


% $ (in thousands) % $ (in thousands)
Revenue (Ad Formats)
Search 34.4% $20,481 24.5% $17,756
Classifieds and Directories 4.6% $2,757 3.2% $2,345
Lead Generation 2.9% $1,756 2.7% $1,989
Mobile 34.7% $20,677 50.5% $36,641
– Digital Video Commercials 7.1% $4,236 6.8% $4,898
– Ad banners / display ads 13.0% $7,745 10.2% $7,377
– Sponsorships 1.1% $649 0.6% $422
– Rich media 2.1% $1,251 1.5% $1,093
    Total display-related 23.3% $13,881 19.0% $13,790
Revenue (Pricing Models)
Impression-based 33.5% $19,942 34.6% $25,085
Performance-based 64.9% $38,644 64.0% $46,432
Hybrid 1.6% $965 1.4% $1,004