KEY FINDINGS

1. Globally, media owners’ advertising revenues grew by +22% in 2021 to reach a new all-time high of $710 billion, following a decline of -2.5% in 2020. Advertisers spent an additional $126 billion on top of the 2020 tally. The global marketplace is now 19% larger than pre-COVID levels and will continue to grow steadily in 2022 (+12%).
2. Advertising revenues from traditional advertising formats (TV, radio, OOH, print, cinema) grew by $21 billion (+9%) following a -17% decline in 2020, to reach $268 billion; this puts traditional formats at 90% of the pre-COVID market size (2019).
3. Digital advertising sales (search, social, video, banners, digital audio) increased by $105 billion (+31%) to reach $442 billion; digital formats now represent 62% of total advertising sales worldwide.
4. Advertising growth is fueled by strong economic recovery (global GDP +5.9%) and personal consumption, as expected, but the magnitude of growth rates suggests it is more than just the marketplace catching up post-COVID and organic growth factors are driving the tremendous digital acceleration of 2021.
5. Among those factors are the growth in digital media consumption and the explosion in e-commerce scale and depth, which prompted big brands and – especially – small businesses to increase digital marketing activity and ramp up their use of social and search formats.
6. All major industry verticals increased ad spend this year. Drinks, Entertainment, Retail and Technology were among the most dynamic spenders, while Automotive ad spend stalled after a strong first half, due to the semiconductor shortage reducing production and sales.
7. Ad spend grew in all 70 ad markets monitored by MAGNA and reached double-digits in 68 out of 70. Several of the world’s largest markets posted above-average growth including the US (+25%), the UK (+34%), Brazil (+30%), Canada (+27%) and Australia (+23%), while China (+17%) and India (+14%) experienced below average growth.
8. Looking at 2022, supply chain issues will slow down some verticals, and the tail end of COVID variants may still inhibit growth in a small number of markets, but growth factors are strong enough for MAGNA to forecast further growth in advertising spending. Economic growth (global GDP +4.9%) and large-scale vaccination will spur consumer mobility and the recovery of some laggard verticals (Travel, Movies), while digital marketing will continue to grow organically, and no less than three cyclical events (Winter Olympics, US Mid-Term elections and FIFA World Cup) will bring billions of incremental marketing budgets.
9. In this environment, the global marketplace will grow by +12% to reach $795 billion. Linear ad format growth will slow down to +4% (still a stronger performance than the pre-COVID trends) while digital ad formats will grow by +17%.
10. The 2021 US ad market grew by +25% to reach $284 billion, with pure play digital ad sales up +37% and traditional media owners ad sales up +8%. In 2022, Economic growth (GDP +3.9%) and political spending will continue to fuel ad sales, despite supply-chain issues slowing down some verticals in the first half. The market place will grow by +13% (digital pure play +18%, traditional media owners +4%) and pass the $300 billion market for the first time, to reach a new all-time high of $320 billion.
 
Vincent Létang, EVP, Global Market Research at MAGNA and author of the report, said: “The global ad market recovered above and beyond the economic recovery in 2021. Mature linear ad formats recovered to 90% of the pre-COVID level, just as the economy did. Digital ad formats, by contrast, grew much faster than expected, driven by multiple organic growth factors, e-commerce boom being the most significant. Traditional, brand- and privacy-safe media remain crucial to building consumer brands, as shown by the strong demand boosting TV costs in 2021, but marketers are increasingly diversifying into digital formats to reach hard-to-reach audiences, improve ROI and connect more seamlessly to e-commerce. This once-in-a-lifetime planet alignment of growth factors led to the unprecedented market growth we experienced in 2021.”
 

GLOBAL AD MARKET: +22% TO $710 BILLION

The global economy has recovered in-line with expectations (GDP +5.9% vs +6.4% expected in April) and, in most markets, so has marketing activity and advertising spending. Growth was particularly strong wherever COVID vaccination was fast and deep and allowed full business re-opening early in the year: US +6.0%, UK +6.8%, France +6.3%. Some other large markets displayed tepid economic recovery by comparison, due to underwhelming vaccination and lingering COVID restrictions and/or a manufacturing sector crippled by supply-chain issues: Japan +2.4%, Germany +3.1%. Throughout the world, consumers spent more money than ever in 2021, using the forced savings they built up in 2020 as soon as restrictions to mobility and shopping were relaxed in the spring or summer. In that environment, national brands and local businesses competed to be the first or the most effective in reconnecting with consumers. Ad spend also benefited from the added driver of rescheduled international sports events (Summer Olympics, UEFA Euro).
 
Global all-media advertising spending grew by almost +22% to reach a new all-time high of $710 billion. This +22% growth represents the highest growth rate ever recorded by MAGNA, beating +12.5% in 2000 and a significant increase from MAGNA’s previous global forecast (June 2021: +14%). Coming after the COVID lockdowns of 2020, and fueled by the gigantic Government stimulus packages, 2021 was always expected to show record growth, but again, this is growth in excess of recovery. The compounded advertising market growth over the two years 2020-21 was +9%, higher than the average growth experienced during the four years before COVID (+6% per year between 2016 and 2019). It shows that, on top of economic recovery and COVID control, several organic factors drove the tremendous acceleration of 2021 (detailed below).
 
Linear ad format sales (TV and long-form video, radio, print, OOH, cinema) grew by +9% to reach $268 billion worldwide, regaining $21 billion of the $50 billion lost in 2020 (-17%). Global linear sales are thus back to 90% of pre-COVID (2019) levels. Most of the growth came from demand-driven inflation in media costs, rather than increased volumes, ad loads or impressions. Linear TV CPMs for instance, grew by an average +13% globally due to strong demand from many key industries (Retail, CPG/FMCG) and shrinking supply (linear viewing resumed its long-term decline following the COVID surge in 2020). As a result, TV spending grew by +9% in 2021.
 
While mature linear ad formats recovered more or less in-line with the economy, digital ad formats proved once again that organic growth factors – beyond simple economic and marketing recovery – are turbocharging adoption and spending. Changes in lifestyles, media consumption, and business models continued to fuel an acceleration in digital marketing from national consumer brands as well as small, local and “direct” advertisers. Digital growth from consumer brands comes partly at the expense of traditional linear channels, but in the case of small businesses (who represent the bulk of search and social ad spend and are growing much faster than big brands), it is almost entirely incremental money being added to the advertising pie. Digital advertising formats (search, social, video, banners, digital audio) grew by +31% to reach $442 billion or 146% of the pre-COVID market size. Digital ad formats now account for 62% of total advertising sales worldwide. All digital ad formats grew by double-digits in 2021, led by digital video formats (long and short form) +37%, social media +34% and search +33%. Pricing was also a key component to spending growth in 2021. Supply increased too as digital video and social media continue to grow in reach and time spent, but this still was not enough to meet exploding demand, which led to double-digit inflation in CPM or CPC costs.
 
Back to traditional ad formats, TV did well in 2021, with global ad sales reaching $168 million (+9% and 98% of the pre-COVID level) but radio was even stronger, although it had more ground to make up: +16% to 28 billion (89% of 2019 sales). Print ad sales were flat around $43 billion but when adding back the digital ad sales of news and magazine publishers, total print-related ad sales were up approx. +10%. Finally, out-of-home media sales grew by +12% to $27 billion. The slower and more gradual recovery of OOH was expected due to the declines in consumer mobility, particularly in the heavily advertised transit segment, hurting OOH media audience and reach for most of 2021. OOH global ad sales stand at just 83% of their pre-COVID level at the end of 2021, but MAGNA is confident that ad sales will increase by double-digits again in 2022 and grow back to the 2019 level by 2023.
 
In 2021, all seventy ad markets analyzed by MAGNA recovered to some degree. Sixty-eight out of 70 markets reached double-digit growth. Several of the worlds’ largest markets posted above-average growth including the US (+25%), the UK (+34%), Brazil (+30%), Canada (+27%) and Australia (+23%) while China (+17%) and India (+14%) grew below average. Growth was above average in EMEA (+23%), North America (+25%) and LATAM (+26%, partly driven by economic inflation).
 
Looking forward to 2022, there are two potential threats to the global economy and the advertising marketplace: COVID and supply chain issues. Turning first to COVID, the recent increase in cases and endless controversies about vaccination and passes should not hide the good news that the war against COVID is nearly won thanks to vaccination. Cases have increased again in 4Q21 to reach 500,000 daily worldwide by mid-November, but remain well below the previous peaks of 800,000 cases per day and, more importantly, the number of deaths remains relatively low (7,000 daily). That is because 4.2 billion people have already received at least one dose of vaccine, representing more than half the world’s population (60% to 80% in most Western countries). Beyond some renewed mobility restrictions promulgated e.g. in Austria, Netherlands and Germany, most Government policies are prioritizing booster shots, encouraging or even mandating vaccination (Austria from Feb. 2022) rather than bringing back strict restrictions to circulation and business that hurt the economy. We are therefore optimistic that 2022, if not entirely COVID-free, will at least be exempt from the more severe policy responses that preceded vaccine availability and contributed to economic pressures in 2020 and the early part of 2021.
 
The second risk lies with supply-chain issues, including the insufficient supply of semi-conductors causing some industries, most notably automotive, to cut production, as well as the insufficient capacity in global shipping and raw materials. We believe the latter issues will self-adjust gradually throughout 2022 as demand cools down and capacities recover, but there is uncertainty about how long the semiconductor shortage will affect the automotive and technology industries. We have factored this in as a headwind for media types that rely particularly on the automotive vertical, for instance local television in the US.
 
These risks and headwinds are largely offset, in our view, by the drivers on the horizon: strong economic growth (the IMF predicts +4.9%), further mobility recovery (esp. for transit), continued organic digital growth fueled by e-commerce, and no less than three cyclical events generating incremental advertising spending (Winter Olympics, US Mid-Term elections and FIFA World Cup). MAGNA thus predicts the global advertising market to grow by +12% and reach $795 billion in 2022. Linear ad format growth will moderate to +4% (still a stronger performance than pre-COVID) while digital ad formats will grow by +17% and reach 65% of total ad sales.
 
Next Global Ad Spend update: June 2022
 

US MARKET REACHES THE $300 BILLION MARK

Boosted by economic recovery, advertising sales grew by an estimated +25% this year to reach $284 billion. The US ad market growth was slightly above the global average (+24%). All major industry verticals increased ad spending by double digits, with technology (+29%), retail (+28%), entertainment (+27%) and finance (+25%) leading the way.
 
All media channels benefitted to a degree. Cross-platform long-form video advertising sales grew by +6% to $66bn. Of this, national ad sales increased by an estimated +10% to $47bn. Broadcast/cable linear ad sales were up +7%, while long form AVOD and OTT/CTV devices gained an impressive +36%. Finally, video pure players (short form video) increased +47% on the strength of YouTube and Twitch. Conversely, local TV and video ad sales fell -3% as local broadcast ad sales were off -5% without the tailwind to the record political spend in 2020. Cross platform audio ad sales rose +25% to $16bn on the strength of digital audio and podcasting (+68%). Total publishing ad sales stabilized (+2% to $16.6bn), as growth in digital ad sales (+18%) offset the continuing declines in print ads (-12%). Out-of-home advertising sales increased by +14% to $7.1bn, driven by strong demand for roadside billboards (+17%) and street furniture (+11%) which more than offset the slower recovery of the transit segment (-14%). Cinema ad sales grew by a +53%, as theaters reopened mid-year and blockbuster really came back in 4Q. Full-year ad sales are less than a third of what they were pre-COVID, but cinema should benefit from 12 months of normal behavior and normal releases in 2022. Direct mail ad revenues grew +13% (excl. political spending) in 3Q and should post +8% to $16.5bn for full year 2021.
 
Digital pure player ad sales (search, social) were up +35% to $162bn, thanks to robust gains in search (+39%) and social media (+36%). At the end of 2021, the “COVID Recovery Index” for ad spending will reach 125% overall (25% above 2019 levels): 87 for linear ad sales and154 for digital ad sales. By the end of 2022 the recovery index will stand at 140.
 
Looking at 2022, there are some headwinds to consider. The huge fiscal stimulus, that so effectively kept the American economy running through COVID, will gradually fade away, and supply chain issues might get worse before they get better. Many industries are facing the combined effects of production bottlenecks caused by strong demand (e.g. microchips), supply chain delays and disruption (e.g. imported food products, clothes), logistical bottlenecks, and higher costs for raw materials, commodities and energy. The impacts are multiple: limited supply, delays, and rising costs affecting end consumers.
 
Looking at the key advertising verticals, MAGNA rates the supply chain impact as “high” for Automotive, Consumer Electronics and Toys/Games, meaning the impact on business (supply and sales) may be severe enough that some brands may slow down marketing spending for several months. These industry verticals represent approx. 9% of full-year linear ad spend (linear TV, radio, OOH, print), and just 8% of national TV ad spend. Looking at a typical 4Q, the contribution of these verticals is only slightly higher for national TV (10% of typical 4Q ad sales) but significantly higher for social media (16% compared to 6% FY). The impact is deemed “moderate” or “low” for other industries, and non-existent for some (Finance, Insurance, Entertainment). If we bundle the industries with a “high” and “moderate” impact, we find that a third of national TV ad sales could be exposed to some degree in the next few months. However national TV’s ad revenues will be cushioned in the short term by the upfront system, where 4Q ad spend commitments are not cancellable.
 
Tailwind factors continue to outweigh the supply-chain issues, however. MAGNA predicts advertising sales to grow by double digits again in 2022: +13% to $320bn, as robust economic growth continues (+3.9% real GDP growth, still faster than the long-term, pre-COVID trend of +2% to +2.5% per year) and two cyclical events (Winter Olympics in February, and Mid-Term elections) will generate billions of incremental ad spend from brands and political groups.
 
Pure play digital advertising sales will increase by +17% to $190 billion, as search (+18%) and social media formats (+18%) drive growth, while cross-platform long-form video ad sales will rise +4% to $68 billion. National TV/video ad sales will be flat, as growth in long-form AVOD (Hulu, FEPs) and OTT/CTV platforms (+29%) will offset a -5% decrease in broadcast/cable linear ad sales. Audio ad sales will grow +6% to $17bn thanks to the continued growth in podcasting, and the return to normal life which will cause an increase in commuting and terrestrial radio listening. Conversely, publishing ad sales will fall -1%, as digital growth – which will account for 60% of publishing ad sales in 2022 – of +10% will be offset by print declines of -15%.
 
Every industry will have increased ad spend above their pre-COVID levels by 2022, with the greatest growth coming from Finance, Entertainment, Retail and Technology.
 
Next US Ad Spend update: March 2022
 

TABLE 1: GLOBAL AD REVENUES

 

 

TABLE 2: US AD REVENUES

 

 

ABOUT THE RESEARCH

The MAGNA research is media centric. It monitors net media owners advertising revenues based on a bottom-up analysis of financial reports and data from media trade organizations; other ad market studies are based on tracking ad insertions or consolidating agency billings. The MAGNA approach provides the most accurate and comprehensive picture of the market as it captures total net media owners’ ad revenues coming from national consumer brands’ spending as well as small, local, “direct” advertisers. Forecasts are based on economic outlook and market shares dynamic. The full report contains more granular media breakdowns and forecasts to 2025, for 70 markets.
 

ABOUT MAGNA

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