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Digital marketing statistics sources to inform your marketing strategy

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 25 Mar, 2021
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Our recommendations on the top 10 free digital marketing statistics covering secondary data sources for Global, European, UK, US, Asia and Latin America

Online marketers love statistics about digital marketing. Us too. They allow us to review the growth in customer adoption of the latest digital platforms and technologies, make the business case for investment in marketing and allow us to benchmark our growth and performance against competitors.

From reviewing thousands of stats sources over the years, we've found that there are a very small number of quality online marketing statistics sites and sources which are updated at least annually and have a representative sample size from different countries.

Business Members can use our quarterly 2020 online marketing statistics compilation, aimed at saving you time when you need the latest stats for a presentation or report you're working on against a deadline. This guide contains a full rundown of the latest stats and visuals carefully selected to help you make your case for investment in digital marketing to colleagues or clients.

Here we share our experience of 10 of the best, most reliable free and paid sources. Everyone has their favorites, but I thought it would be useful to share the ones that I go back to most often each week as I research the updates for Smart Insights members and readers of my books.

But, researching marketing stats is meaningless if you haven't got a strong, data-driven marketing strategy to apply them to. That's why I will also be recommending marketing tools and templates to help you take the next steps to creating a winning marketing strategy.

Need a plan to create a winning marketing strategy?

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Top 10 sites for your next digital marketing stats

These sites cover global stats including UK, Europe, the US, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Thanks for adding the other suggestions to the comments - well worth checking out for anyone searching for statistics sources who pass this way.

1. Global and country Internet usage breakdown - International Telecomms Union

ITU is THE global and by country source with the biggest sample size for the big picture of digital device usage and trends by continent and use of fixed and mobile broadband access by country per 100 people.

It's the best source for data in all countries, although this is only available for top-level measures. The 2021 regional reports break down key digital statistics by country, such as this table below showing digital adoption before and after COVID-19 in Europe.

Digital adoption statistics

2. Global use of social media sites and devices - Global WebIndex

Global Web Index is a paid service giving insights on consumer use of social network sites globally and different countries from its own panel of 18 million (which it claims to be the largest worldwide), but it regularly features very specific social media stats on its blog.

Their annual global overview reports give a great yearly snapshot of statistics and commentary.

We use this research to update our article exploring the latest data on social network popularity.

2021 digital and social research

3. For benchmarking sites within a sector for sources - Similar Web

SimilarWeb is a freemium tool for benchmarking the number of visits to sites and mobile app usage. It shows traffic sources for individual sites (good for student projects) with categories and keywords for businesses in the paid Pro version.

We've got benchmarking templates and tools to guide you through the step-by-step process of benchmarking your marketing activity where it really matters. Our RACE Framework helps you track your marketing across your customers' lifecycles - integrated through reach, act, convert, and engage. Find out more.

Need a plan to create a winning marketing strategy?

Get started today using a tried and tested step-by-step process to optimize your marketing.

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4. Consumer media use in individual countries - comScore

For detailed insights of consumer Internet usage and ad spend by country, The comScore press releases summarising its panel data is one of the best sources of the latest stats releases.

See our Mobile marketing statistics research compilation for the latest data on smartphone adoption growth.

Digital Marketing Statistics for mobile usage

5. European Union Marketing Statistics

The EU statistics site Eurostat is the best source for overall European use of digital technology and in individual countries. The Information Society page is the best starting point.

6. Best UK source for consumer Internet usage statistics - OfCom

The Office of Communication Communications Market Report statistics has in-depth reports on the adoption of digital media including telecommunications and the Internet including the adoption of digital devices and telecoms networks for accessing digital and social media. They often combine data from other paid services such as comScore and the IAB.

Rather than the annual communications market report, OfCom has simplified their offering to:

7. UK National Statistics and consumer trends

The UK Government Office of National Statistics (ONS) site is an alternative source for tracking trends and innovation in your industry. Since there is no themed area on Internet use any longer, we recommending starting your search in the 'Internet access' or 'E-commerce' areas.

Keep up to date with the latest trends and marketing case studies in your sector. Smart Insights Business Members have access to hundreds of guides and reports to inform their marketing strategy and win more customers. Get started today.

Need a plan to create a winning marketing strategy?

Get started today using a tried and tested step-by-step process to optimize your marketing.

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8. US digital marketing statistics - Marketing Charts and Pew Internet

Marketing Charts is a long-standing aggregator of information about consumer and business adoption of technologies and approaches. Care has to be taken of sample sizes and it tends to focus on US data - it's rare for it to include any of the sources above.

Marketing charts digital ROI research

It often features Pew Internet Statistics which is one of the best sources for the latest statistics on how Americans use digital media and technology.

9. eMarketer

Emarketer.com is another well-established compilation of digital statistics for online marketers - more US-oriented. It includes a paid option, but many free statistics are published on its blog.

10 Ad Spend and media investment - IAB Research

Research reports on online advertising effectiveness from the US IAB, UK IAB and Europe IAB.

Recommended Smart Insights compilation blogs

Using these research sources and others we have these compilations of benchmarks to compare the effectiveness of other channels which we will keep updated:

As a Smart Insights Business Member, you can apply the RACE Framework through marketing tools and training designed to streamline your approach to digital whilst accelerating your ROI. Our tried-and-tested marketing solutions empower marketers and managers like you to plan, manage, and optimize your marketing strategy. Get started today.

Need a plan to create a winning marketing strategy?

Get started today using a tried and tested step-by-step process to optimize your marketing.

Start Now

Alternative digital marketing stats sources

We will keep this list updated as sources change. Here are some that were formerly useful, but where less digital marketing research tends to be shared today:

Statista is a newer statistical aggregator source that has become popular over the past few years which it's worth bookmarking. Their charts on Internet and social media usage are often derived from sources here like Global Web Index. Here is their summary of digital marketing growth statistics - they tend to base their nicely produced charts on the sources we've identified here - which is good, but they can be dated, so take care you find the latest!

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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