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U.S. Ad Spend Is Up Again In September – Even If It's Just By 0.1%.

In the words of multi-platinum rapper Cardi B: “If it's up, then it's up.”

That might be enough for media companies looking for any good news from Guideline's SMI monthly tracker, which shows U.S. ad spend up just 0.1% from last September to this, according to MediaPost. While it represents the industry's third straight year-over-year gain, those lifts have steadily downtrended, with July 2023's growth at a promising 6.2% from a year ago, and August's down to 1.2%.

Guideline's U.S. Ad Market Tracker is a composite monthly index from SMI, designed to provide a real-world measure of U.S. ad spending, based on actual invoiced media buys from the major agencies and their clients. As such, it is mostly representative of spending by larger national advertisers.

With the exception of a 2.5% year-over-year rise in May, every other month since September 2022 has shown an ad spend decline from a year earlier, ranging from -1.0% that September to a -12.1% plunge during the holiday season last December.

Even with SMI's reported tiniest of uptrends for September amid a still-uncertain economy, it should be noted that while the market was off 2.0% from September 2021 to this September, the former was the best September since Guideline began tracking the U.S. advertising marketplace.

MediaPost's analysis points out that most of this year's stability has come from smaller advertising categories, where aggregate spending has gained 1.7% from last September, vs. the top 10 ad categories, which are down 1.0% year-over-year.

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