Ad-Buy Data Lags Agency Consensus By Wide Margin

The 2022 U.S. ad market expanded a little more than 3% over 2021, according to a MediaPost analysis of 12 months of data from Standard Media Index’s U.S. Ad Market Tracker.

The analysis -- a simple, unweighted average of monthly year-over-year percent changes during 2022 -- does not account for actual monthly ad-volume differences, and precedes an explicit annual analysis expected to be released by SMI soon.

Depending on how the final analysis holds up, the index’s growth rate is marked lower than the most recent consensus of the major agency holding company forecasting units' estimates for 2022 ad-spending growth: 9.8%.

SMI's data is derived from actual invoiced media buys pooled from the 12 largest agency companies -- both holding companies and independents – and as such is weighted more toward big national advertisers and agencies.



While the index was reset with more detailed digital data effective with December 2022’s data, it ended the year on a down note: -12.1%.

Importantly, the biggest advertising categories ended the year more resiliently than smaller ones.

The top 10 ad categories’ ad spending declined 9.4% in December, while all others fell 15.8%.

It’s not clear whether that’s a leading or lagging indicator of the ad economy as it relates to big vs. smaller ad categories, but for full year 2022, the simple, unweighted average monthly growth was only 1.3% for the top 10 ad categories and 7.1% for all others.

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