Gloom lifts among US agencies and advertisers

02 December 2009

NEW YORK: Advertisers and agencies appear to be growing more optimistic in the US, with online and mobile set to be the main beneficiaries of any increase in spending resulting from this trend.

Advertiser Perceptions conducted a poll of 1,500 industry specialists for its regular Advertiser Optimism Report, which seeks to determine possible expenditure patterns over the next 12 months.

Based on the company's index, where a score of zero implies budgeting levels will effectively be flat, broadcast TV registered a total of –8 points, the medium's best performance since 2007.

National newspapers remained highly depressed, on –41 points, although this constituted an improvement of five points from the previous such study, which was undertaken in the first quarter of this year.

Magazines were up by seven points, to –19 points, on this measure, while cable TV delivered a positive total of 11 points, having not slipped into negative numbers throughout the recession to date.

Mobile also reached a two-year high, on 54 points, while online search and display received an average of 55 points, up by 15 points from earlier in 2009, but down from 73 points two years ago.

Within this, 50% of client-side participants predicted online display spending would rise in the coming year, with 60% saying the same for search, while 58% expected to direct more funds to mobile.

This level of optimism was even more pronounced among agencies, where 65% of the panel forecast that their online outlay would grow, as did 62% with regard to mobile.

Over 70% of clients and agencies also thought broadcast revenues will either increase or stay steady, while more advertisers believed this would be the case for newspapers and magazines.

Ken Pearl, ceo of Advertiser Perceptions, said "we were going in a downward spiral as it relates to optimism for the past two years. And, all of a sudden, we are seeing significant movement in the other direction."

"We feel this is the beginning of a real move towards optimism among marketers and agencies. Hopefully this is not a bounce along the bottom."

More specifically, he suggested the technology and financial services sectors were among the most hopeful at present, marking a significant reversal of prior figures.

"In this most recent study, they were two of the most optimistic categories in the marketplace and that reverses a high level of pessimism they both towards spending in the past," Pearl suggested.

"This is a real upsurge those marketplaces because they have been so pessimistic in the past. Hopefully they aren't overly optimistic."

TNS has reported that newspapers and magazines both posted ad revenue declines of almost 20% in October, and the research firm has also warned online could see totals contract in the fourth quarter.

Data sourced from AdAge; additional content by Warc staff