How Big Is The Digital Marketing Pie?

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Digital Marketing may not be booming (it’s close to it though) and the future is healthy.

eMarketer had a news item yesterday titled, How Much Marketing Is Digital? It was tied into a report I Blogged about here: The Agency Of The Future Is… that looked at what CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) would be looking for in their agencies going forward. What should interest you the most is how eMarketer ends the news item by looking at the US online advertising spending as a percentage of total media advertising.

What do you think the percentage is?

In 2007, Digital Marketing accounted for only 7.6%.

In 2008, they are anticipating that number to move to 8.7%.

Digital Marketing accounts for under 10% of the total media advertising done in the U.S.

Looking into their crystal ball, eMarketer is saying that by 2013, Digital Marketing will be at 18.3%.

These number reveal two important factors:

1. Digital Marketing is the place to be. It’s still relatively small, but will continue to grow. I don’t know many other media channels that are looking this healthy and still have tons of potential.

2. Human capital continues to be a real issue. As these increases unfold, we’re going to need the right people out of university interested in taking on a Digital Marketing career and we would also be well served to look at other media channels that might be moving in the opposite direction to train those professionals in the online channel. If the increases do happen the way eMarketer is tracking them, we are woefully unprepared in terms of sheer people power to get the work done.

All that being said (factoring a weakening economy too), the news is all good for the Digital Marketing channel.

Quick question: what would it take to get Digital Marketing to 20% in two years instead of the estimated five years?


  1. Better targeting and measurement is the short answer, but as social media channels are embraced by MSM (like CNN’s Rick Sanchez on-air Twittering), I think we’ll see new opportunities for game-changing advertising. At the break-neck rate we’re going, future spending on digital might not include what we now think of as digital marketing, but instead something like online customer service will take a larger piece of the pie.

  2. I find that most people (myself included) have become very good at ignoring marketing that is pumped through traditional media.
    However, I also find that most people I know (again myself included) respond very well to marketing that is done through REAL PEOPLE. This kind of marketing is more often than not done online in the digital worlds that technology lets me wander through.
    Julien Smith & Chris Brogan have started a great talk about this via their blogging / writing about “trust agents”.
    I personally believe that marketers should be looking into the idea of “trust agents” that more than anything else, because authentic person to person experiences will produce the best ROI.

  3. Less noise. In my eyes, the differentiating factor that digital has over existing media is its ability to cater individually, but scale globally.
    And yes, I know that this is exploited (in a good way) a bit already. But the current offerings are usually either proprietary (Facebook) or lackluster (Google’s recommended ads).
    When a balance is finally found between consumer privacy and public availability of personal information, that’s going to tip the needle: digital ads won’t be “ads” — they’ll be recommendations from a friend. And they’ll (more often than not) lead to content that would benefit the viewer, not simply a “buy now!” page.
    My two cents, I suppose…

  4. Perhaps Long Tail marketing is going to have an impact, and of course, by its very nature, we may not be able to factor this impact in right now (i.e. it’s too early in the process to be able to estimate the Long Tail’s true impact on Digital Marketing).
    But I suspect that marketing to the Long Tail is going to have more of an impact in increasing Digital Marketing over time.
    Am I way off base here?

  5. With companies becoming more cost-conscious, and with target audiences largely using digital receptacles for their information, advertising and marketing is invariably going to move away from television and print. Those companies who can offer an integrated multimedia, video, and web solution will be the ones who will see the most growth in the coming years.
    Overall, it will be an issue of convincing large corporations that antiquated forms of marketing will make them appear as an “old horse” vs. those companies who are using fresher, digital, and viral approaches to their business. It will also be a question of social media undergoing a consolidation. With too many options to choose from, traditional marketers will have a rough time deciding on an ultimate solution that has a proven track-record.

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