There are strong signs of a comeback in the U.S. advertising market, according to new figures released by Standard Media Index.
The marketing intelligence firm says the year-over-year market was down just 5% in the third quarter after the staggering, pandemic-induced 32% plunge seen in Q2.
SMI says digital is the first advertising medium in the U.S. to find positive growth since March, rising 8% year-over-year and growing 26% over Q2. Digital, according to SMI, made up nearly half (49%) of the July-to-September media mix, with growth driven by search and video.
“The third quarter also represents the conclusion of the broadcast season, as this was a transformative force for the broadcast industry as the market looked to recover from a disastrous second quarter,” SMI says in a news release. “With the cancellation of sports and live events the broadcast sector in the U.S. saw -31% decline in ad revenue.”
SMI says the easing of lockdowns improved the Q3 trends, along with key drivers like news content and the return of the delayed NBA and NHL playoffs, which found zealous marketers eager to reach sports-hungry consumers.
However, there’s still a lot of pain in the Other Media category, which includes traditional advertising mediums like radio, print, cinema and out-of-home. Recovery there still awaits, according to SMI, noting a 46% decline in Q3.
In terms of the strongest performing categories in the U.S., pharmaceuticals led the way with 19% growth.
The Automotive Vehicles and Dealers category, however, saw a year-over-year decline of 19%. Despite efforts by U.S. brands to tout flexible leasing options in the early stages of the pandemic, “consumers continued to be hesitant to opt into big-ticket purchases in such uncertain times,” SMI says. “The category may see improvements in the future as consumers will be less inclined to take public transportation, representing an opportunity for the category.”