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SMI: U.S. Ad Market Bounced Back 50.3% In May, Compared To 2020.

The U.S. advertising recovery continued in May and it’s not just the big categories that are bouncing back. The latest Standard Media Index U.S. Ad Market Tracker shows the ad market grew 50.3% year-over-year in May, compared to May 2020, one of the hardest hit months from the COVID-induced recession.

May’s rebound shows agency-driven ad buys are back to where they were in May 2019, which MediaPost says shows “Madison Avenue is back where it was two years ago.” May’s number is also is in line with April, which posted a 53% year-over-year increase.

It’s more than just the biggest advertisers that are driving the growth. MediaPost says that while ad spending among the ten largest ad categories ticked up 41.0% over May 2020, all other categories grew 69.3%.

In fact, categories outside the top 10 exhibited a higher aggregate ad-market index value (259) than the top 10 (258) in May. That’s the first time smaller ad categories have surpassed the top 10 since 2013, when SMI began benchmarking the ad market.

In an ongoing trend, digital once again had the largest year-over-year increase, jumping 64.5% over May 2020, and up 33.6% over May 2019.

SMI's figures represents 94% of all national advertiser spend, accounting for $90 billion in expenditures across all media. Its core database, which accesses actual spend from the world’s largest media agency buying groups, was recently expanded to include IPG Mediabrands and several leading independent agencies.

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