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MediaRadar: Optimism Ignited Among Brands, Giving Market A Year-End Boost.

No one is yet ready to say the advertising market has turned the corner after an uneven 2023. But there are several fresh data points that MediaRadar says are “igniting optimism” among brands. It says 24 of 27 ad categories grew during October compared to a year earlier, including technology, finance, and professional services. And just as encouraging is that all 27 verticals showed ad spending growth between September and October, which is positive enough that MediaRadar says the ad market is showing “early signs of recovery.”

The topline number is good on its own. The ad tracking firm says it measured $15.6 billion in total ad spending during October, which was up 15% from the prior year’s estimate. It also identified an increase in ad spend of 36% from September of this year. “The overall ad market is showing signs of improvement as we enter the holiday season,” MediaRadar says in its latest update.

Digging deeper into the data, MediaRadar says there were 129,000 brands investing in advertising during October. That included 14,6000 new advertisers, made up primarily of new companies that marketed themselves for the first time. MediaRadar says more than four in ten new advertisers were represented by companies in the professional services, industry products and services, and technology segments.

Yet the numbers also demonstrate the ad market recovery is still a work in progress. There were six percent fewer companies buying ads in October compared to a year ago. Marketers are also shuffling their dollars around, rather than adding significantly more money to their budgets. MediaRadar says it tracked 24,600 companies that adopted at least one new ad type or format during October, which while less than a year earlier was still up from September.

The report is based on MediaRadar’s sample of ad spending across various media.

Professional service advertising, mainly from doctor and dental services, is one place where radio stands to gain in the recovery. MediaRadar says ad spending in this category jumped 13% in October versus a year ago, and was up 18% against the prior month.

Financial ads are also up, as not only did financial institutions spend more compared to last year, but so did insurance companies. Some of the biggest gains came from brands like GEICO, Progressive, and State Farm, as well as Discover Bank, Square Capital, and Capital One. MediaRadar says the brands in the segment spent more than $1.3 billion on advertising during October, with insurers spending $568 million versus $650 for financial intuitions.

Technology advertising was also up by about a third from a year ago as consumer electronic brands like Apple, Dell, and OnePlus accounted for $517 million of ads – which was up 70% from September’s total. “Consumer electronics make excellent holiday gifts and often increase ad spend during Q4,” the report says. It also notes AT&T and T-Mobile, among other telecom companies, invested over $508 million in October ads.

There was also some seasonal impact on the totals. The fourth quarter travel season brought a 50% increase in total ad spending in the hotel category from the prior October, while toy companies upped their ad spending 43% versus a year ago. And thanks to Halloween, MediaRadar says other notable product categories that increased ad spend in October included chocolate, candy, and cookies.

MediaRadar expects the recovery to continue into the new year. Of the brands spending money during October, it says 1,700 are likely to issue RFPs during the first quarter.

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