U.S. Ad Market Posts 10.8 Percent Gain In January

The U.S. advertising market grew 10.8 percent in January over the same time last year. Standard Media Index attributes the growth to significant gains in national television and on digital platforms. Year over year, advertising revenues in national television grew 7.1 percent—11.1 percent growth in cable and 2.7 percent growth in broadcast, while digital grew 16.8 percent. In contrast, radio slipped 6.1 percent last month compared to the same month in 2017, out-of-home advertising declined 2.1 percent and print dropped three percent. Sales of promotional products in fourth quarter 2017 were 5.8 percent higher than the same period in 2016, according to the latest Market Outlook Report, produced by ITR Economics and PPAI.

“January has been a stellar month for national TV,” says James Fennessy, Standard Media Index CEO. “Scatter volume is up 50 percent on 2017 as a host of advertisers have stormed back into the market. Some of this growth has been driven by the move of several big college football games and the Grammys into January, but even so, underlying growth is still an impressive 5.3 percent. Based on these results, and our view into forward bookings, we predict national television to grow 1.6 percent in Q1, excluding the Winter [Olympic] Games.”

In digging into national television’s performance in January, Standard Media Index notes that NFL post-season games that took place in January recorded a 5.3 percent year-over-year increase in advertising revenue, and that cable news was up 25 percent. Its research also found that entertainment programming saw a resurgence in January 2018 with 12 percent growth compared to January 2017. It attributes this in part to the Grammy Awards shifting this year to January—it took place in February last year—a five percent increase in the average cost of a 30-second commercial during the Golden Globes, and a 25 percent increase in ad revenue for the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Digital has grown ad revenue on a year-over-year basis in every month since Standard Media Index began tracking the data. Digital’s rate of growth slowed in the second half of 2017 and has been steady around 12 percent since October. Social media networks saw the largest growth in January at 42 percent—Facebook grew 55 percent and Twitter increased its ad revenue 30 percent. Video sites grew 10 percent in January, with large gains from premium video providers.

Looking at advertiser categories across traditional ad platforms, the telecommunications industry was the largest spender in January, increasing 8.3 percent year over year. Autos, which were the second largest category, remained flat. The top five are rounded out by prescription pharmaceuticals (+16.9 percent), insurance (+25.9 percent), and quick service restaurants (+6.3 percent). The IT and software category grew the most year over year, more than doubling its advertising spending.

Watch for PPAI’s annual sales volume report on 2017 promotional products sales coming this spring.

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