A report conducted at Harvard University Business School in the US has looked at the positive economic impact of digital marketing on the economy, concluding that it has almost doubled its economic clout over the past five years.

5.1 million people are now employed in posts that are either within the online ad industry itself or related to its economic expansion by proxy.

This means that in 2011 about 530 billion USD (328 billion GBP) was generated by this industry, which is representative of 3.7% of GDP. In 2007 this was down at just 2.1%, according to ClickZ.

Paid ads are seen as incredibly important to the growth of digital jobs in the US, largely because this money helps to fund a whole range of other departments across a total of 12 different types of business that are identified by the authors of the report.

Spokesperson John Deighton said that the report came up with some interesting statistics, pointing to the fact that big data has become an important tool for both advertisers and companies looking to profit from their position in the online marketplace over the last few years.

He said that the value of user information as a commodity has increased dramatically, but also said that the ability of particular companies to handle large amounts of data and convert these into something saleable that can be used to help advertisers target their campaigns and appeal to new customers was also important.

Social networking has helped to play a major role in expanding the market, with Mr Deighton identifying Twitter as being one of the biggest new sources for data which marketers are using in order to focus their strategies going forward.

This sees a break from the traditional use of search and site analytics, which were relied upon in the past in order to improve online performance.

Mr Deighton said that the industry was becoming far more efficient in its ability to gather and interpret data, which are then harnessed in order to fuel marketing.

He also pointed out that two million of the jobs created directly within America’s online space are held by people who work on a self-employed basis rather than for a wider company.

If the survey were to include those who generate extra income on top of their standard salary by selling products online via popular portals, over six million people could be included.

It will be interesting to see whether the economic impact made by this marketplace will continue to grow at such a rate over the next five years, or whether it has reached its zenith.

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About the author:

Oliver Pyper is senior online copywriter at ClickThrough Marketing. He writes on-page content, blogs, press releases and loads of other bits and pieces too numerous and brilliant to mention. He’s also responsible for Kate Bush: The Musical and a series of videos depicting a young man’s search for energy drinks in New York City. Drop him a line if you want to talk content solutions or Kate Bush.