It’s so rare that we get to talk about unambiguously good news for publishers here on TMB that we thought we should mark the occasion – internet ad revenue rose 19.1 percent in the first half of 2016, according to an IAB study conducted by PwC.


That marks an all-time high, driven by changing audience habits that are seeing them spend more time with publisher and brand content than ever before. 

Unsurprisingly, that growth in internet ad spend is largely driven by an increase in mobile and social spend. In fact, YOY mobile saw an 89 percent increase in ad spend, eclipsing search spend as the lead ad format for the first time. That growth is especially visible in the following graph, which happily breaks out exactly where that spend is going in mobile as well.


Image courtesy of IAB/PwC internet ad revenue report, HY 2016

Notably the much-heralded rush into video advertising is more visible in mobile formats than overall, with the proportion of mobile ad spend going to video increasing to 48 percent year on year – with the proportion spent on mobile banner ads decreasing (thank God).


Image courtesy of IAB/PwC internet ad revenue report, HY 2016

Despite that digital video was also the only ad format on desktop devices that had meaningful growth, increasing 13 percent over the first half of 2015. If that bubble is indeed about to burst, it’s going to be one hell of a pop.

David Silverman, partner at PwC, said:

“The continued strong growth in internet advertising comes at a time when traditional media struggles to hold onto its audience share. Social media, in particular, has filled in that gap by enabling advertisers to reach consumers in new ways.”

That should be welcome news for publishers who are properly optimised to deliver content digitally, particularly since a couple of earnings reports have made plain the extent to which they depend on digital revenue as print collapses.

Oh, the caveats remain – publishers aren’t necessarily going to be the main recipients of that increased ad spend, Facebook and Google own the ecosystem etc. etc. – but it’s proof that there’s a hell of a lot of money out there for publishers, if they can figure out how to snatch it.