Adspend growth in 2022 and 2023 will not be as fast as previously predicted, according to the latest Advertising Association and WARC expenditure forecast.
The forecast still anticipates overall ad market growth, but recessionary fears mean all-2022 spending is now expected to be lower than the July report’s predictions.
The prediction for market growth in 2023, which was already in single digits in July, now sits slightly below 4%.
But most news media appear to have bucked the 2022 trend, with several adspend predictions revised up somewhat.
And Q2 figures suggest news publishers generally experienced growth in the first half of 2022.
The AA/WARC report anticipates Q4 spending will be £9.5bn – up 4.5% year-on-year and a record high for the Christmas quarter.
Across 2022, the report forecasts total adspend of £35bn – an increase of 9.2% on 2021, but a 1.7 percentage point smaller increase than was predicted in July’s report.
AA/WARC said: “This revision is attributed to high levels of inflation and squeezed margins as UK plc deals with supply chain inflation and subsequent rise in the cost-of-living.”
James McDonald, the director of data, intelligence and forecasting at WARC, said: “Higher costs are carving into advertisers’ margins and household budgets alike, and trading conditions are at their worst since the Covid outbreak, leading to muted expectations for the Christmas quarter.
"Against this deteriorating economic backdrop, a 9.2% rise in advertising investment this year would be impressive given that it is near double the average rate of expansion recorded prior to the pandemic.”
Adspend in Q2 rose 8.8% to £8.6bn. For the entire first half of 2022, it rose 14.4% to £16.7bn.
The national and regional newsbrands categories each saw double-digit growth in the first half of the year.
The report anticipates that online advertising will account for 74% of the market in 2022, and that in 2023 it will surpass three-quarters of all advertising spending.
Among news media, online national newsbrands and online radio is expected to see 8.2% and 8.1% year-on-year adspend increases between 2021 and 2022.
All news media are predicted to record growth in 2022, with the most sluggish rise appearing among magazine brands, where spending is forecast to rise 0.7% on 2021. Adspend on online magazines specifically is expected to rise 5.4%, however.
Online regional newsbrands are forecast to bring in 7.2% more advertising income in 2022 than in 2021; for regional newsbrands overall, that figure stands at 2.6%.
In general, news media avoided the downgraded predictions prevalent across the rest of the report. Growth expectations grew for national newsbrands (up 2.3 percentage points to 3.4%); regional newsbrands (up 2.6 percentage points to 2.6%); magazine brands (up two percentage points to 0.7%).
Radio adspend growth was revised up 0.8 percentage points to 6.2%. Television adspend growth was revised down three percentage points to 2.9%.
What have industry figures said about the report?
The chief revenue officer at data management business Lotame, Chris Hogg, attributed some of the growth to publishers moving away from third-party cookies: “We’ve experienced increasing interest in cookie-free identity solutions from publishers seeking to enrich their audience data and remain competitive against the Big Three, and it’s wonderful that this seems to be paying off, as their success is the success of the open web.”
On a similar topic Clare Dove, UK group commercial director at magazine publisher Future, said: “It’s essential that marketers understand where these audiences can be found and foster meaningful connections with them to drive ROI.
"Premium publishers can facilitate this relationship between advertisers and readers that match brands’ target audiences by providing accurate data on their interests and passions while producing content that speaks to their needs.
"We have learned that Future’s audience is significantly more likely than the average UK consumer to opt in for 'treating myself and/or my loved one' to various items and experiences in the next few months, for example. Successfully tapping into ready-to-spend groups such as these can help brands shine and drive considerable uplift in Q4.”
Adspend forecasts for 2023
In 2023 the report forecasts the ad market will grow a more paltry 3.9%, to £36.2bn. That percent increase is a downgrade of 0.5 percentage points on the July report’s prediction.
In contrast to predictions for 2022, the AA/WARC report anticipates that adspend will decrease for most news media in 2023.
National newsbrands are forecast to see a 2.5% decrease in adspend, magazines a 5.9% decrease and regional newsbrands a 7.1% decrease.
Their online counterparts are forecast to suffer less badly, but only online national newsbrands are expected to experience growth - currently put at 3.7%.
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