While the U.S.'s total national-advertiser investment in media continued to rebound in May, with a 56% increase compared to a year ago, the spend on radio was up 122% year-over-year, according to Standard Media Index. That follows a month where radio's ad spend was ahead of the worst-of-COVID April 2020 by 80%, signaling that radio is currently outpacing other media in its comeback, although still off by 21% vs. where it was in May of 2019.
The data, as reported by MediaPost, shows the ad market's May surge followed a 53% gain in April and a 22% increase in March, the first month with a year-over-year rebound from the pandemic-driven advertising recession. Compared to pre-pandemic levels of two years ago, the industry is up 5%, driven by digital media with a 32% increase in spending from May 2019 and up 69% from a year earlier.
Along with radio, which was expected to benefit from the resumption of out-of-home behavior changes among U.S. consumers, out-of-home advertising's ad spend gained significantly in May as the weather warmed up and restrictions were lifted, up 98% year-over-year. The only ad medium still showing a decline from a year ago is consumer magazines, off 21% from May 2020.
SMI's figures, which reflect network and national audio ad spend as opposed to local direct ad sales, which make up the majority of radio revenues, are based on a recently expanded database to include IPG Mediabrands and several leading independents. It represents 94% of all national advertiser spend accounting for $90 billion in ad spending across all media. “This pool expansion further enhances our unmatched marketplace intelligence, giving our partners and clients exclusive visibility into spend, revenue and pricing across media types and channels,” said James Fennessy, Global CEO, SMI.