The national U.S. ad market jumped 6.2% year-over-year in July for its largest increase since April 2022. July’s gain follows a modest 1.4% decrease in June, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Ad Market Tracker, a collaboration between MediaPost and Standard Media Index.
The ad industry faced favorable comps in July 2023 – July 2022 ad spending was down 8.2% year-over-year.
“Given better comparisons with year-ago levels that were experiencing a mini ad industry recession, the remainder of 2023 should see gains or at least less severe declines – even as many agencies and some media companies have been reporting a weak start to this year, citing macroeconomic volatility,” MediaPost Editor In Chief Joe Mandese writes in the publication’s coverage of the new numbers.
Smaller ad categories (+6.6%) outperformed the top ten ad categories (+5.9%) by a slight margin. That’s consistent with what several radio group heads said in their quarterly earnings calls, noting that small advertisers were generally spending at a higher rate than large ones.
Smaller advertisers that need to make the cash register ring have continued to invest in advertising through the downturn, iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman said on his company’s Q2 results call earlier this month. But the larger advertisers have been a mixed bag. “Some have been in at the levels they were, and some categories actually are up in the large advertisers. And some are holding back,” Pittman said. “And it looks like probably Q4 is the quarter when that breaks loose.”
The U.S. Ad Market Tracker is a composite monthly index from SMI designed to provide a real-world measure of U.S. ad spending, based on actual invoiced media buys from the major agencies and their clients. As such, it is mostly representative of spending by big national advertisers.