Our recommendations of the best global online marketing consumer adoption and marketing benchmark statistics
Online marketers love statistics about digital marketing. We do too since they enable us to use a more data-driven approach to inform our future investments. 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, I'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. Here we share our experience of ten of the best, most reliable free and paid sources we use to update our benchmarks. Everyone has their favourites, 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.
Our premium members can use our regularly updated Powerpoint downloads of online marketing statistics and benchmarks, aimed at saving you time when you need the latest stats for a presentation or report you're working on against a deadline. These Powerpoint compilations are structured around our RACE framework to give you a comprehensive coverage of the latest stats and visuals carefully selected to help you make your case for investment in digital marketing to colleagues or clients.
Recommended Smart Insights compilation blogs
Using these research sources and others we regularly update these compilations of benchmarks to enable readers to compare the effectiveness of their channels. We have recently updated them with the latest data for 2023:
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.
Datareportal Global Insights is at number one since this is the best free compilation offering both a global overview and data on consumer online adoption in each country. It uses some of the other sources in this list such as GWI. It is usually updated at the start of the year and in April. As well as insight on adoption of different devices it also has data on buyer behaviour which is useful for seeing how consumer buyer behaviour changes.
The Datareportal data is informed by the ITU - International Telcoms Union data for each country. 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.
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 reports give a great yearly snapshot of statistics and commentary. For 2023 see their Connecting the Dots report.
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.
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.
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.
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 recommend 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!