Digital ad growth slowed significantly in 2022

The IAB views the relative slowdown as both a return to normal from the unusually large, post-pandemic growth of 2021, and a result of economic uncertainty experienced in the latter half of 2022. The fight to bring down inflation has sparked a tightening in the economy, which has compelled various industries to pull back their marketing spend. 

The first quarter of 2022 was actually quite successful for internet advertising, seeing growth of 21.1%. By the second quarter, however, growth had slowed to 11.8%. It was during this time that the Federal Reserve first began to increase interest rates, thus slowing down economic expansion. Growth continued to decline through the rest of the year, totaling 8.4% in the third quarter and 4.4% in the fourth quarter.

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Despite a larger slowdown, mobile-based advertising showed strong growth, with revenue increasing 14.1% year over year. The sector also extended its market share to account for 73.5% of total internet ad revenue. Meanwhile, programmatic advertising grew 10.5% and search advertising was up 7.5%. 

Social media advertising achieved its smallest level of growth—just 3.6%—in the last 10 years.