Five Revisions Later, Big 4 Composite Falls To +4.3% This Year, +5.8% Next Year

Following five semi-annual revisions since it was first benchmarked in July 2021, the Big 4 agency holding company forecasting composite for worldwide ad-spending growth for this year has fallen 1.1 percentage points to 4.3%.

The composite -- a simple average of each holding company's percentage growth estimate for total ad spending -- also shows the consensus falling to 5.8% for worldwide growth next year, down from +7.1% when it was first benchmarked in January 2022.

The updated composite follows a series of year-end forecasts released this week by IPG Mediabrands' Magna, WPP's GroupM, Publicis Media's Zenith, and the most recent one released early this morning by Dentsu, which seemed to sum the ad industry's group sentiment up for next year, noting:

"In 2024, advertisers will operate within a challenging macroeconomic background as global growth is projected to slow. Yet, it will be a year of big media moments, with global sports events, such as the Paris Olympics and Paralympics, and major local events, including the U.S. presidential election, boosting investments."



Aside from macroeconomic volatility and uncertainty, and the presence of incremental tentpole ad-spending events, Dentsu also notes that there will be some profound secular shifts taking place in the underlying nature of the ad business:

  • Third-party cookies are finally deprecated after having been an inherent part of targeting and measurement since the inception of digital advertising.
  • Amazon will truly enter the video ad segment with a new ad-supported plan by default for Prime Video, which holds promising prospects for closing the media loop.
  • A barrage of franchise blockbusters is forecast to fuel cinema advertising momentum.
  • Generative AI applications will become more concrete and scalable, opening exciting perspectives for channels like audio, where domestic podcasts could become global hits thanks to generative AI powered translation.
  • Generative AI will also contribute to new threats for channels like print, with Made-for-Advertising websites.

For the U.S. -- still the world's largest advertising market by a wide margin -- the Big 4 composite has declined 1.1 percentage points to 3.1% for this year, and 1.4 percentage points to 6.8% for total ad-spending growth in 2024 since they were first benchmarked (see below).

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