GroupM Global Ad Forecast: "Not a Single Country Where Digital Is Negative"

adam smithInternet advertising is growing everywhere  – even in economically bedraggled countries like Greece and Spain. So says GroupM in its new global report looking at measured media spend in 70 countries. The surge comes amid lower than expected growth in overall measured ad spend, both globally and in the U.S.

Futures director Adam Smith spoke with AdExchanger about the report's key findings. Below are excerpts from his comments.

On digital growth 'round the world…

"There isn't a single country on the planet where digital is negative, not even in the most benighted Euro Zone economies. Once again, our predictions of the weighted growth and the share of total advertising investment have proved too conservative, and this is despite a little bit of cooling in advertising in general."

Not only are we revising upward again, we're doing in the context of an ebb tide in advertising in general. This is unprecedented. Technology moves so quickly and advertising investment seems to be following it pretty quickly too."

On "old" versus "new" economies...

"The bulk of total digital advertising investment is in the older industrialized economies, [which] will (we think) account for 78% of measured digital ad investment in 2012, and 75% in 2013. It was 100% in 1999 and fell through 90% in 2007.

But there are countries like China where the digital share is already at the same levels as the older industrial segment.  It's another thing that's happening faster than we expected – this leveling of investment.

It's very interesting, particularly given that in the faster growth world television is by far the dominant medium. We've seen the print media -- what's happening to them as a result of digital – to the point where we've asked, has this stopped now? Has print reached some sort of floor?

Anecdotally one of the more interesting things we've learned this week is that as a consequence of reduced China airtime, which have been imposed by the government, advertisers have had to seek online substitution, and they've found it.

The example given to me is Shanghai, where online video rates were half those of linear television for equal value."

On linear TV versus online video…

"We hear about the pretty rapid growth in investment in the USA and U.K. into video, but then you realize there's not much to stop this happening in any country that has the infrastructure.

Back to my point, I wonder if we're at a peak oil situation with linear TV now. Nothing wrong with the medium, nothing wrong with its reach or its editorial quality, but once you start pointing your investment toward online video, of course you've got a lot more choices."

On what's driving the digital surge…

"I think it's all about metrics. It's about having a liquid market with clear pricing signals. You get those two things together and a lot of constraints fall away.

It's particularly evident in mobile now. Smartphone proliferation is yielding good data. You talk to the media planners here, they don't talk about mobile being a set of constraints and problems. They talk about the possibilities of the medium.

We'd like to see specific amounts of investment going into these platforms now. You get planners who are leading on this; that is a sign of a medium which is maturing and being sold properly."

By Zach Rodgers

 

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