Digital To Account For 95 Percent Of This Year’s Global Ad Spending Growth

The global advertising market is expected to add $24 billion in new spending this year, reports media investment firm GroupM, the largest annual increase since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010, when advertising investment grew by $26 billion. GroupM estimates total advertising spending will grow by 4.5 percent this year and by 3.9 percent in 2019. GroupM also reported that 2017 investment grew by 3.5 percent, higher than the 3.1 percent it had predicted.

GroupM’s study highlights advertisers’ increased investment in digital ad formats. Globally, digital advertising will tally to $198 billion in 2017, $221 billion in 2018 and $243 billion in 2019. Digital investment grew by 15 percent last year, higher than the 12 percent GroupM had predicted in December. The firm predicts 12 percent growth for 2018 and 10 percent growth for 2019. Digital’s share of ad spending for 2018 will rise to 39 percent. In 2019, GroupM expects digital’s share to reach 42 percent. Digital advertising will account for 95 percent of net new global advertising growth in 2018 and 99 percent in 2019.

Excluding China, Facebook and Google captured 135 percent of the growth in digital advertising investment in 2017 according to GroupM’s analysis. GroupM qualifies its assessment with the observation that the line between digital and broadcast continues to become less distinct. Ad revenue flowing into the IP-delivered services of broadcast TV brands is counted as digital.

Advertising’s share of global GDP peaked between 2004 and 2006 at 0.85 percent and in GroupM’s 2018 forecast, has declined to 0.68 percent. GroupM attributes this slowdown in part to big advertisers controlling costs more closely in low growth environments, and on younger consumer economies, where per- capita advertising investment is lower. Other factors impacting advertising’s lower share of global GDP include the potential under measurement of digital advertising expenditures and difficulty quantifying the long tail of advertisers, the number one source of advertising growth.

“We’d like to have better intelligence on the ways investment dollars are flowing to digital,” says Adam Smith, futures director. “Digital ad revenue is reported either in whole or by type—principally display and search—but never discriminates between large and small media owners, nor the short and long tail of advertisers who buy with or without agency support. While the same concern applies to other media, digital is unique in its long tail being dominated by global vendors. Because digital is mostly walled gardens, a country is doing well if 20 percent of its digital ad investment is properly categorized.”

The United States, China, the United Kingdom, Japan, India and the Philippines are the biggest growth contributors globally. The Philippines enters GroupM’s analysis as the newest and smallest of the billion-dollar growth contributors in 2018. It is by far the largest of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ad economies, with forecasted per-capita ad investment of $60 this year, double the regional average. GroupM’s total U.S. ad growth forecasts of 3.7 percent in 2018 and 2.2 percent in 2019 are well behind IMF forecasts of local nominal GDP growth, 5.3 percent and 4.9 percent respectively. GroupM notes that this loss of “ad intensity” is a long trend; U.S. ad growth is in line with the G7 in 2018, but slightly slower in 2019.

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