Digital audio is percentage leader in 2021 digital advertising report (IAB)

No segment of digital advertising grew as fast as audio, according to the IAB’s new Internet Advertising Revenue Report released this week by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and conducted by PwC.

Digital audio captured the highest year-over-year growth from 2020 to 2021, with 57.9%. That doesn’t mean it’s the richest category in digital advertising — digital audio earned $4.9B. Compare that to digital video’s 37.5B, and social media advertising revenue of $57.7B.

Business as a whole grew fast, the IAB observes in a footnote from CEO David Cohen: “According to the Census Bureau, 2021 saw the greatest business growth in history with 5.4 million new businesses created,” said Cohen. “Those businesses rely upon the ad-supported internet to attract new customers and provide products and services to the American public. We believe this small business engine will be a key contributor to fuelling ongoing digital media and marketing ecosystem growth.”

Continued growth is expected this year, though no projections are offered by PwC or the IAB. The report does predict that digital audio will continue to be a driver.

“We fully expected 2021 to be an exceptional year for digital ad growth, but even we were surprised at the degree of acceleration. Not only was every single digital channel up, but some were up more than 50% year on year,” said Libby Morgan, SVP, Chief Strategy Officer, IAB. “This year’s increase is 3x what it was last year.”


Brad Hill