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Digital ad revenue surpasses 100 billion

100 billion revenue

As reported by Adweek and the IAB, digital advertising in 2018 surpassed 100 billion in revenue for the first time ever.

Is it working though? As more and more advertiser’s of all sizes, gain direct access to services like Google Ads that can target different demographics of people programmatically, the market is becoming flooded.
And just like any flood, it may be hard to control.

Believe me, I am through the moon that I chose a career in a industry that is pulling numbers like this yearly. My concern however is that majority of this revenue is landing in very few corporations pockets. These corporations have what we call in the industry as “walled gardens”. In basic terms, this is a closed environment that doesn’t allow for much 3rd party integration or verification. Without any 3rd party data collection, there’s no way to hold these corporations to the data reports they provide to the public. You more or less have to take them at their word.

Problem with that is, time and time again we’ve seen scandals of over reported numbers that are sometimes revealed years after the fact when very little can be done. The ad budgets have already been spent and the next media purchasing strategy has already been put in place based on these potentially misleading, false and/or inflated numbers. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest not to have some kind of double verification from a 3rd party. And this part is going to be tough going forward as consumers and advertisers alike are becoming less and less trusting with digital data online due to privacy breaches and the increase in ad fraud.


The revenue report from the IAB was extensive and super informative however I did notice it neglected to report that of the 107 billion in revenue last year, approximately 19 billion of that was generated fraudulently. That is a huge number. Think about it, that’s nearly 20%. At this point should we just factor that loss into our media plan?



DailyMail Video: Chinese ‘click farm’ with 10,000 phones making fake clicks

In all honesty, as a creator, these issues don’t directly concern me. Regardless of the fluctuations in the media types, delivery channel or any of the industry struggles. Advertisers are always going to need effective creative and media, and that’s what I do. But it’s up to all of us in digital media, including my readership to provide useful and factual information, so that we can all create a future of informed decisions on where your budgets are best spent by identifying these underlying issues that aren’t always being mentioned.

As always I’d enjoy hearing your opinions. Do you think walled gardens protect us or shield us from the truth? Is double verification needed? What’s your take on ad-fraud?