Ad-Supported Jobs Add $1 Trillion To Economy

The ad-supported Internet contributed about $1.121 trillion in revenue and more than 10 million jobs to the U.S. economy in 2016.

Breaking this total by contributions to identify the billions that came from search, video, and other areas reveals some surprises -- for example, the $2.4 billion in revenue from Web technology that match buyers and sellers of services such as Uber and Lyft or Airbnb.

A report titled "Economic Value of the Advertising-Supported Internet Ecosystem," led by a Harvard Business School professor for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, notes that in a prior study, search engines and portals accounted for more than 25,000 Internet employees in the Consumer Services Support layer of the report.

But since Google restructured and renamed as Alphabet, the report now refers to the company as an "Integrator."

Internet-related employment of "integrated firms" such as AT&T, Verizon, Amazon, Alphabet, Comcast, Microsoft, Google and Facebook was 442,000, which is about 11% of the Internet employment base, with revenue in aggregate of about $273 billion.



The 2016 study shows that 4.1 million people owe their jobs directly to the advertising-supported Internet ecosystem, which grew at a compound annual growth rate of 18.5% to 19.6% when compared to the results of two earlier studies.

If the purpose of the study was to track the contributions that Internet advertising makes to the economy over time, perhaps the most surprising number in 2016 is the billions in contributions from YouTube partners.

For instance, PewDiePie contributed $15 million in revenue to the U.S. economy in 2016; Roman Atwood, $8 million; Lilly Singh, $7.5 million; Smosh, $7 million; Tyler Oakley, $4.5 million; and Rosanna Pansino, $6 million.

Social media sites such as Microsoft's LinkedIn -- as well as Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat -- contributed $3.4 billion in revenue and 8,893 jobs.

The study also estimates contributions from full-service advertising agencies at $11.75 billion and 52,953 jobs. Omnicom Group contributed $2.7 billion in Internet revenue and employing 13,842 in 2016. The numbers for Publicis North America came in slightly lower at $2.7 billion and 11,936; WPP, $2.4 billion and 8,851; IPG, $1.2 billion and 5,294; Dentsu Aegis Network, $442 million and 3,882; and all other general full-service agencies at $2.1 billion and 9,148, respectively.

The estimate for digital and CRM vendors contributes $13.02 billion to the economy and 53,733 jobs. Salesforce, Adobe Systems, Epsilon, Dun & Bradstreet, and Merkle took the top five spots, contributing in aggregate a bit over $9 billion and 27,157 jobs. Others called out in the list include Marketo, Harte Hanks, Bazaarvoice, and Tapjoy.

Online ad networks and exchanges contributed $2.9 billion in U.S. revenues and 3,788 jobs. Here are the top five per the study: MediaMath contributed $800 million and 375 jobs; Exponential contributed $600 million and 650 jobs; iAD contributed $341 million and 195 jobs; Rocket Fuel contributed $337 million and 755 jobs; and AppLovin $234 million and 115 jobs, respectively, in 2016.

The study names Nielsen, comScore and Quantcast as the firms that contributed $778 million to U.S. revenue and 4,272 jobs in the category of measurement and analytics.

Shippers delivering online purchases came in at $30,284 in 2016 Internet revenue and 353,315 employees

Web-enabling services such as self-employed Web designers, developers and content creators whose work isn't captures elsewhere in the study contributed $17.9 billion and 182,284 jobs.

The estimate for Financial Services Support is $2.2 billion and 7,569 jobs. Our estimate for E-learning Support is $799 million and 4,656 jobs. Our estimate for Travel Services Support is $1.2 billion and 1,906 jobs. Our estimate for Health Care Information Solutions is $2.4 billion and 11,783 jobs.

The detailed report estimates that companies in the News & Information category contributed $18.2 billion in U.S. revenue and 47,777 jobs; multi-genre content, $19.6 billion and 34,391 jobs; specializing research and user generated content on sites like Yelp and Angie's List contributing $933 million and 4,032 jobs.

Online music services from sites like Spotify, Pandora, iHeartMedia, and Rhapsody contributing $2.5 billion and 3,163 jobs; and online video from Netflix, Hulu, Vevo and YouTube partners and contributes at $6.35 billion and 38,796 jobs, to name a few.


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