US B2B Advertising Forecast 2021

The Pivot to Digital Is Permanent with Growth, Transformation, and Inflection Ahead for the Market

About This Report
According to our July 2021 forecast, 2023 will be a pivotal year for the US B2B digital ad market: Display will overtake search, mobile will surpass nonmobile, and the split between digital and traditional will near a tipping point just beyond our forecast period.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

According to our July 2021 forecast, 2023 will be a pivotal year for the US B2B digital ad market as spending approaches $15 billion. By then, the seismic transformation spurred by the pandemic will be permanent.

Will the pandemic have a lasting impact on how US B2Bs allocate ad budgets?

Last year, US B2B pivoted from in-person channels to digital ads to reach audiences. In 2021, the growth in digital ad spending will be even greater than we originally estimated, indicating the shift to digital isn’t slowing down. Digital ads will also remain a more prevalent part of the B2B media mix in the coming years.

How much will US B2Bs spend on display ads this year?

US B2Bs will spend $5.09 billion on display advertising in 2021, up 32.6% from 2020 when $3.84 billion was allocated to this format, according to our first-ever estimate for this breakout.

How much do US B2Bs spend on LinkedIn display?

LinkedIn makes up the largest share of US B2B display in 2021 with 32.2% of the $5.09 billion that will be spent on B2B display this year. We estimate US B2B LinkedIn display ad revenues will be $1.64 billion in the US, growing 27.1% from 2020 when $1.29 billion was spent on LinkedIn B2B display.

How much do US B2Bs spend on search ads?

In 2021, US B2Bs will spend $5.36 billion on search ads, more than what will be allocated to display. But search’s growth rate isn’t as strong: It will increase by 19.5% from 2020.

What industries drive the most US B2B digital ad spend?

In 2021, tech products and services will be the largest category by far, accounting for 32% of the market. Financial services will be the second biggest industry, making up a quarter of ad spending.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report details the most important market shifts in our July 2021 forecast for US B2B advertising. It also includes new estimates for B2B display and search ad spend.

KEY STAT: The US B2B digital ad market grew 32.5% in 2020 and will grow 24.9% this year for nearly $11 billion in spending, according to our July 2021 estimates.

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    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. US B2B Digital Ad Spend Grows While Traditional Media Becomes Less Essential
    3. The B2B Digital Ad Mix
    4. Industry Breakout: A Look at Five Major Sectors
    1. B2B Considerations for Targeting and Measurement
    2. Key Takeaways
    3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    4. Read Next
    1. Sources
    2. Media Gallery

    Charts in This Report

    Interviewed for This Report

    Jason Abbate
    Stein IAS
    Vice President, Strategic Accounts
    Interviewed June 4, 2021
    Kevin Arsham
    Partner and Group Director
    Interviewed May 24, 2021
    Michelle Bandler
    Managing Director, Tech B2B
    Interviewed June 7, 2021
    Kevin Lord Barry
    Right Percent
    Interviewed May 21, 2021
    Lou Cohen
    Director, Digital Marketing and Demand Generation, Americas
    Interviewed June 4, 2021
    Justin Cooperman
    Vice President, Product
    Interviewed June 9, 2021
    Chris DeMartine
    Programmatic B2B
    Interviewed May 21, 2021
    Jorrit DeVries
    Global Category Development Officer, Technology and Telco
    Interviewed June 10, 2021
    Mick Feldman
    Viral Nation
    Director, B2B Influencer Marketing
    Interviewed May 19, 2021
    Stacy Greiner
    Dun & Bradstreet
    General Manager, CMO
    Interviewed June 4, 2021
    Daniel Hellerman
    Vice President, Media Strategy and Architecture
    Interviewed May 19, 2021
    Eric van den Heuvel
    The Gate
    Managing Director, The Gate Media
    Interviewed May 26, 2021
    Adam Kasper
    Executive Vice President and Managing Director
    Interviewed June 9, 2021
    Ray Kingman
    Interviewed May 28, 2021
    Todd Krizelman
    Founder and CEO
    Interviewed June 9, 2021
    Dmitri Lisitski
    Co-Founder and CEO
    Interviewed May 20, 2021
    Ian Monaghan
    Adobe Advertising Cloud
    Head of Product Marketing
    Interviewed June 10, 2021
    Doug Novack
    Managing Director, Business and Industrial Marketers Practice
    Interviewed June 7, 2021
    Penry Price
    Vice President, Marketing Solutions
    Interviewed June 10, 2021
    Dave Raymond
    Adobe Advertising Cloud
    Senior Manager, Advertising Solutions Group
    Interviewed June 10, 2021
    Gabe Rogol
    Interviewed May 19, 2021
    Pablo Shah
    Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR)
    Managing Economist
    Interviewed June 8, 2021
    Geisla de Souza
    Executive Vice President, Paid Media
    Interviewed June 14, 2021
    Kieley Taylor
    Global Head of Partnerships and Managing Partner
    Interviewed May 25, 2021
    Devon Watts
    Senior Director, Corporate Marketing
    Interviewed June 9, 2021
    Rob Welch
    The Wall Street Journal
    Senior Vice President, Enterprise Media and Partnerships
    Interviewed June 2, 2021
    Brian Zilberfarb
    Vice President, Global Advertising
    Interviewed June 9, 2021

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    Jillian Ryan


    Jeremy Goldman
    Principal Analyst
    Nicole Perrin
    Principal Analyst
    Melissa Rosenberg
    Senior Researcher
    Peter Vahle
    Forecasting Analyst