Fueled by a massive gain in digital, the U.S. advertising business posted a fifth consecutive month of year-over-year growth in December. Total U.S. ad dollars rose 7.2%, compared to December 2019, according to final 2020 data generated by the U.S. Ad Market Tracker, a collaboration of Media Post and Standard Media Index, that tracks ad spending by the major agency holding companies.
The new data “demonstrates U.S. ad demand has firmly rebounded from the effects of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered a five-month advertising recession between March and July,” MediaPost says.
The ad recovery isn’t being felt uniformly, however. National TV advertising fell 9.7% in December, compared to one year earlier, while digital media ad dollars soared 30.7%. This supports the theory that many marketers shifted their budgets to ecommerce and performance media buys during the pandemic.
The recovery is also tilted toward the largest brand marketers with the top 10 ad categories rising 9.5% year-over-year in December, compared to just 1.5% for categories ranked 11+.
November 2020 experienced a similar trend when the top 10 ad categories grew 23.3% while all other ad categories continued to erode, down 3.2% in aggregate. All told, November was the best month of 2020, increasing 11.5% over the same month in 2019.
The Ad Market Tracker indexes the movement of U.S. ad market volume on a month-to-month basis. Data represented in the index is derived from actual spending by ad agencies representing approximately 70% of all U.S. agency spend.