U.S. Ad Market Drops 31% In May, Third Consecutive Monthly Decline

The U.S. ad market had another steep decline in May, falling 31% from the same month a year ago, according to the latest data from the U.S. Ad Market Tracker.

May follows a 35% decline in April, and an 11% decline in March, indicating that demand for advertising may not yet have hit bottom.

The tracker, a collaboration of MediaPost and Standard Media Index, is based on the change in a composite index value of all the media-buying data processed and modeled by SMI from the major agency holding companies.

A number of polls of ad executives have indicated that they expect the decline in ad demand to bottom out soon and to begin rebounding in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

The index indicates the recession may be impacting smaller and mid-size advertisers more than the biggest.

The top 10 ad categories declined only 27% in May, while all other categories were off 46% year-over-year.

The index also reveals yet another troubling sign for the network upfront advertising marketplace, which has already been delayed, relied on virtual presentations, and has had many on the demand-side predicting steep cuts in volume, price, as well as the number of quarters being bought upfront for next year.



In May, the tracker’s national TV advertising index fell 36% from May 2019, the first significant decline since the current recession began.

Digital media so far has proven more resilient, declining 14% from May 2019.

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