About two weeks ago, the industry received the latest ad-spend data overview, and it provides some interesting food for thought.
First of all, the “no surprises” or “duh” facts: Ad spend in 2020 is down, whether you look at total media advertising revenue, internet advertising or most other individual media and platforms. There is no surprise here because… pandemic.
And what the actual numbers will be by the end of this year remains to be seen.
It seems that COVID-19 will be here for a good while longer, and the impact on business and the economy -- and therefore marketing and advertising -- will be felt for an equally long time.
Another “duh” fact is that the top 10 consists for 70% of companies in tech, communications and new commerce.
The only three “traditional” advertisers in the Top 10 are Procter & Gamble, American Express and General Motors. The fastest-growing advertisers reflect the Top 10 similarly in that they are largely in the same categories of tech, communications and new commerce.
They include the likes of Sirius, Facebook, LendingTree, Wayfair and GrubHub, to name a few. This is obviously completely reflective of consumer usage and consumer interest in today’s world.
As a category, other than tech, insurance seems to be the fastest-growing, which tells you something else about the world we live in.
We must be super worried and scared, because why else would the likes of Geico, USAA, Farmers, Progressive and all the others who are ready to sell us “safety” see opportunity to spend such enormous amounts of money to entice us over?
What is also fascinating is that Kantar’s measured media covers about 20% to 30% of all estimated advertising dollars. If you are an advertiser who is using Kantar metrics to calculate Share of Voice vs Share of Market to determine your budgets… good luck!
The advertising top 10, of course, looked completely different ten or twenty years ago. At that time, the list would have been dominated by food, beverage and FMCG’s (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), as well as insurance companies, cars, fast-food restaurants and perhaps even retailers.
Looking forward, it seems that the forecasters have all decided that 2021 will be the year of recovery. GroupM is forecasting that ad spend will grow by 4.2% (current 2020 ad spend is down 12.9%), with digital ad spend predicted to be up 11.8%. So the forecasted growth will not make up for the losses, but there will be growth.
Well, call me a naysayer, but I don’t think this is warranted. The fallout from the industries, business and services that are only partially open or re-opened, or are re-opening and then closing again, is huge. Think bars, gyms, hotels, airlines, restaurants, universities, music venues, theaters, cinemas, tourist attractions and sports venues… the list is long, and their economic tentacles reach far into all sorts of other parts of the economy that supply or depend on these businesses.
My prediction is that we will, sadly, see continued high unemployment rates in all these categories -- and as a result we will continue to have a depressed economy while consumers do not have the dollars or the confidence to spend.
That means depressed ad spend will continue to be the case going forward as well.
I hope I am wrong and the other crystal ball gazers are right. But based on current data and trends, I am not convinced.