Last month, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, an alcoholic beverage manufacturer based in Canada, announced during its 15th anniversary that it would no longer be putting ads on television or radio.

Instead, said Sanjiv Gajiwala, Mike’s director of marketing, the company would be concentrating all of its advertising and marketing efforts in digital media.

The move would allow Mike’s to “reach consumers more frequently through more targeted messaging and at different moments of truth for them,” Gajiwala told Ad Age.

Gajiwala’s comments illustrate why the digital side of the ad business has surged through the U.S. economic recovery.

According to research conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, digital advertising’s global revenues surpassed those of broadcast television advertising for the first time last year. Thanks to advancements in computer processing and the spread of high speed, wireless Internet connections, ad agencies can now target people online with unprecedented levels of precision, and new kinds of jobs are popping up across an otherwise mature industry.

“I think it’s the most exciting time I can remember in my career,” said Gayle Fuguitt, the president of the Advertising Research Foundation.

On the whole, the U.S. advertising industry has not yet gotten back to its pre-financial crisis employment levels. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that just over 451,000 people work in the industry today, about four percent fewer than in 2008. Some sectors, like media buying, have only just recovered the jobs they lost, while others, like direct mail advertising, have not recovered at all.

The recovery’s uneven quality reflects the fact that advertising is transforming from a one-way communications business into a highly reactive, measurement-obsessed one.

Nowhere is this more evident than on the digital side.

As recently as seven years ago, agencies treated digital ads much like they treated the ones they made for magazines or newspapers: agencies paid website owners, called publishers, for the rights to display ads in specific areas of a site for weeks, or sometimes months, with price dictated largely by an ad unit’s dimensions or its position on a web page.

Today, media companies sell more and more of their ad units in real time, using exchanges that allow ad buyers (in this case, web-based applications that have been programmed by agencies) to bid on the rights to display ads to specific kinds of site visitors.

“A buyer can ask: ‘Who is that person watching this video right now?’” explained Kevin Lyons, a senior vice president of analytics at the digital services company Exelate.

“We tell them there’s an 85 percent chance it’s a male between the ages of 35 and 44, and the buyer can take that information and decide, using an algorithm, whether to bid on that inventory.

“And this all takes place within 80 microseconds.”

That kind of precision was inconceivable 10 years ago, and agencies are still racing to make the most of its arrival.

“Data has gone from working on small little projects on individual campaigns to redefining the way an entire company might do its business,” Lyons said.

This shift has forced agencies to hire an entirely new class of workers, as they scramble to secure people who can crunch numbers, generate insights, and create connections with customers.

According to the job postings aggregator Indeed, listings for advertising jobs related to measurement and engagement grew healthily during the second half of the U.S. economic recovery.

Community management positions, for example, which task people with cultivating relationships with a brand’s fans and followers, are up nearly 30 percent since February 2012. In cities like New York, analytics and measurement positions are up more than 11 percent.

“Advertising is turning to a Wall Street kind of mentality,” said Mike Adler, a senior partner at executive recruiting firm AC Lion. “They want people who are hyper-quantitative now.”

They are also looking for people who are nimble. A flood of new measurement tools, new ad platforms and new thinking about how to reach certain demographics has digital advertisers constantly rewriting their own industry standards.

“The way you measure success or failure in a campaign is always being tweaked,” said Joseph Phua, a professor of digital advertising at the University of Georgia.

“Everything is moving so quickly now,” he continued. “There’s so many new platforms coming out, and with online platforms, you never know how long it’s going to last.”

In fact, the space has grown so complex, so quickly that agencies are likely to start breaking their digital departments up.

As digital disruptions have rippled across the American economy, not everybody has welcomed them. But people in the advertising industry in particular see them as overdue.

“I think there should be more data, more numbers,” said Elle Midey, an account manager at an ad-buying firm called Rocket Fuel. “I don’t think there’s a limit as far as the basic decision-making goes.”

Midey got into advertising because she saw it as “the most pragmatic way to be creative,” and after graduating from Georgetown in 2012 she got a job at Sullivan, a print advertising firm that counts Citigroup and Pfizer amongst its clients.

But within a matter of months, the creative side of her job had become the most frustrating.

“It was a little too theoretical and creative and subjective for me,” she said. “When there’s so many potential right answers, you tend to spin your wheels a lot.”

Rocket Fuel, which creates programs that help advertisers target specific demographics in real time, gets Midey and her clients closer to finding the exact right answer. Being armed with real data, Midey said, has changed everything.

“Technology does so much of the work for us that I can focus on building client relationships,” she said. “That’s important because I think advertising is a relationship business. It always will be.”