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Recession, What Recession? For A 10th Straight Month, U.S. Ad Spend Is Up.

Since April 2023, ad spending has managed to stay in the plus column when comparing each month to that of a year ago, according to Guideline's U.S. Ad Market Tracker, powered by Standard Media Index.

For January 2024, the news is even better, as the month's year-over-year percent growth nearly maintains that of December's, helping to put thoughts of a recession even further in the rear-view mirror.

Following three consecutive months of steady year-over-year growth increases – from 1.0% for September 2023 to 4.5% in December – January 2024's U.S. ad spend shows a 4.3% gain compared to a year earlier. After a first-quarter of 2023 where monthly year-over-year spend declines ranged from 4.1% to 6.5%, January 2024 marks the 10th straight month with an increase, according to an analysis from MediaPost.

Helping drive January's growth are advertising categories below the top 10, with an index up 5.1% from January 2023, while the top 10 categories gained 3.8%. Digital media remains a larger factor than traditional, with its index up 15.9% year-over-year, vs. -8.3% for traditional media. The balance has tilted more in favor of digital over the past year, as digital's share has moved from 52% to 58%, while traditional has gone from 48% to 42%.

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