The U.S. advertising marketplace grew 5.9% in August -- its first monthly year-over-year expansion since March, when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on many forms of ad spending.
The finding, based on a MediaPost analysis of Standard Media Index's U.S. Ad Market Tracker, represents actual media-buying processed by the major ad agencies and brands, and may not be as representative of the long-tail marketplace of smaller advertisers and agencies.
In fact, within the Ad Market Tracker database, the biggest advertisers represented by the top 10 advertising categories increased their ad spending in August 8.4% over August 2019. During the same period, advertisers in categories 11-plus declined 3.1%, indicating that the U.S. ad market rebound is being led by the biggest advertisers.
That said, smaller brands tend to be even more reliant on digital media than expensive national media like broadcast and cable network TV, and the Ad Market Tracker shows that digital is leading the turnaround as well.
In August, digital ad spending soared 17.9% over August 2019.
During the same period, national TV advertising declined 10.8%.
The data affirm projections of many analysts that the U.S. ad recession would bottom out during the summer and would begin to rebound heading into the fourth quarter.
Sequentially, August's index increased 34.8% over July's.