The last few months could be described as “bumpy” for marketing, technology and advertising. But new data from the US Ad Market Tracker indicates that the fall could go smoothly.
This summer, the worlds of content, marketing, advertising, and technology got a little strange. Everyone traveled, even though everyone also predicted a recession that never materialized. Many people, especially in the tech sector, were dealing with the downturn, layoffs, and general bad mood – yes, that’s a technical term – that seemed to permeate the market.
Now that the end of summer is approaching, U.S. ad spending increased 6.2% in July, according to the US Ad Market Tracker. This is the largest increase – the only increase, apart from a 2.5% jump in May – since July 2022.
Robert Rose, CMI’s chief strategic advisor, explains what these financial tea leaves can mean for marketing in this week’s CMI News video. Watch it below or keep reading for the highlights:
Expect an uptick, especially in digital media
Even though large advertising companies such as WPP is a little cautious In its recent earnings reports, the US Ad Market Tracker indicates that the remainder of 2023 could see more gains or at least less severe declines.
Digital media appears to be the biggest winner in advertising growth compared to traditional media advertising. As of January 2023, the split between digital and traditional media is approximately 50-50, according to the US Ad Market Tracker study. As of July 2023, digital media had a 67% share, while traditional media had a third of ad buys.
“Trying to predict where marketing spend is going is a bit like being on a boat in turbulent waters and trying to eat lunch,” says Robert. “It is, at best, a difficult balancing act. You may end up with a lot of your lunch on your chest and if you do it for a long time you may get sick.
When WPP lowered its forecast a few weeks ago, it noted that technology the company’s marketing made up about 18% of its business. Robert says it’s no wonder WPP is feeling a little wary of the market.
He explains: “We tend to counterbalance our feelings about the economy by relying on the performance of the technology and media sectors because they are popular. The technology sector is going through a significant correction period and the media is facing its own challenges with strikes, continued disruption of the advertising model and its relationship with the technology sector.
Robert’s recent conversation with someone in the travel industry led him to discover that they are feeling more optimistic than ever, citing the huge growth in leisure travel over the past 12 months.
3 signals to make useful predictions for marketers
To read the tea leaves of the general business growth mindset to inform marketing growth, Robert focuses on three categories:
- Business trip: It took time to return to pre-pandemic levels, but the Global Business Travel Association reports a return is happening more quickly than expected.
- Advertising expenses: As previously reported, July’s unexpected rise is expected to lead to continued growth through the end of this year.
- Marketing job growth: This category has been very difficult to read, given the AI disruptions. The data all points to good growth, but that is certainly not the case. Few companies currently have higher headcounts.
Robert therefore feels optimistic about two of the three main categories. “I’m cautiously optimistic about where we’re at in the fourth quarter and have a feeling 2024 could be even better,” he says. “Of course, many obstacles – political, economic and even technological – could hinder this evolution, which could cause rougher seas. But as September kicks off, I think we have calmer waters ahead of us.
What do you think? It’s September 1st. What are your thoughts on marketing, your business and the ability to finish 2023 strong? Let us know in the comments.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute