2019 Global Ad Consensus Loses Some Steam, Remains Buoyant

The average of the Big 3 -- WPP’s GroupM, IPG Mediabrands’ Magna, and Publicis’ Zenith -- would be a 4.1% expansion of global ad spending over 2018, which grew 5.3% over 2017.

The global ad outlooks lost a little steam from previous tracking at GroupM, which downgraded its initial 2019 outlook by three-tenths of a point, and Zenith, which took it down two-tenths of a point.

“This seems consistent with a macro outlook that remains firm, but fraying into 2019,” GroupM contends in its just-released December 2018 update to its global ad-spending report.

“We expect advertising expenditure to grow behind the global economy as a whole throughout our forecast period,” Zenith Head of Forecasting and Director of Global Intelligence Jonathan Barnard predicts in his updated outlooks running through 2021.

“Global advertising spending expanded by the strongest growth rate since 2010 this year,” Magna Executive Vice President-Global Market Intelligence Vincent Létang noted about 2018’s strong base, adding: “This record growth was fueled by the combination of a robust economic environment prompting most verticals to increase ad spend, as well as stronger-than-expected cyclical spend. Digital media was again the main winner but television proved resilient, thanks to the loyalty of consumer brands, strong pricing and incremental cyclical spend.”

Magna’s bottoms-up economic modeling approach yields the highest 2018 estimate (up 7.2%) vs. more tepid expansions from GroupM (4.3%) and Zenith (4.5%).

The consensus for the U.S. -- the world’s largest ad market and still the biggest contributor in volume to the global ad expansion -- matches global ad growth in 2018, when including a fourth recognized ad forecaster’s (Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser) estimates.

But the outlook for the 2019 growth is more tepid -- +2.9% -- than the global forecast, owing to the loss of 2018’s extra political campaign stimuli, as well as other factors.

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