Last year, worldwide ad spend declined by 1.2% -- the first time it has ever contracted.
The report cites an "unprecedented expansion in digital advertising" for the record growth -- the highest rates of increase since such tracking began in 2011.
2021's growth spurt was unusual, and eMarketer cautions that the ad industry likely will not see such a year "ever again." Even now, there are indications that the digital ad train is losing steam.
Traditional ad spending is also strong, in line with the company's forecast, due to "the low base effects" of last year's COVID-19 pandemic-driven pullbacks in TV, OOH and newspaper ads.
EMarketer had predicted that total ad spend would rise by 15%; it rose by 19% or nearly $33 billion more in new worldwide spending.
Most of that money will come from digital, which rose by 29.1% rather than the 20.4% predicted.
Global digital ad spend will near $500 billion, and is expected to blast past half a trillion in 2022.
Which countries are powering the increases? The U.K., the U.S. and France are on top of the digital growth chart, pushing high-performing emerging markets like India and Indonesia a bit further down. North America's digital spend rose by 37.5% and Europe by 27.4%, topping growth seen in Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
Among the major industry players, Amazon was most often in the digital ad headlines in the U.S. but Google will capture 38.1% of all the global growth in digital ad spend in 2021. It will end with $146.12 billion in ad revenues and put it further ahead of Facebook than at any time since 2016.
All three of the giants in what eMarketer calls the "American triopoly" are expected to exceed earlier forecasts, with Amazon's total ad revenue growth pegged at 61.4%