The ongoing economic crisis has done much to change the futures and perceptions of many industries. The advertising sector is one that many prognosticators have deemed forever changed. Ad dollars lost over the last two years are not ever coming back, they say. But a new study has found a widespread optimism has returned to advertising, with many executives expecting dollars and budgets to increase in the coming months.

According to Advertiser Perceptions Inc., optimism among ad executives is the highest it's been in two years, and ad spending plans are trending upward for most major media. If those plans come to fruition, advertisers will have a lot to be thankful for as November and 2009 come to an end.

API's Advertiser Optimism Report for Fall 2009 surveyed more than 1,500 marketer and agency media decision makers between September and October of this year, finding that "economic pessimism" bottomed out last spring. Most executives are expecting ad spend to grow across major media.

According to the study, digital media and mobile are not the only sectors expected to see growth. More traditional placements are also seeing growth, though it is less steep.

Mobile, online, cable TV and outdoor advertising are all categorized as optimistic and improving. And while Broadcast TV, radio, magazines and local and national newspaper ads are more pessimistic, even their outlooks are improving, according to the survey.

API's index tracks pessimism and optimism with zero being a neutral outlook. Their fall 2009 report showed cable TV to have an optimism index of 11 compared to four months ago; mobile had 54 compared to 42 in the spring and digital had an optimism index of 55, up from 40 four months earlier. Broadcast TV (-8 vs. -17); magazines (-19 vs. -26); and national newspapers (-41 vs. -46) all had negative indexes, but they have all moved closer to zero in recent months.

Plans are improving for every medium except for local newspapers, which stands in contrast the the strength that local properties online have been seeing this year. But both technology and finance are expected to improve over the next 12 months. API began tracking  ad spending confidence levels bi-monthly this year following news of the U.S. economic recession last fall and found that marketers are more bullish than their agencies. 

Ken Pearl, CEO of Advertiser Perceptions, tells AdAge:

"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."

Returning to prerecession ad pages at magazines and newspapers does not seem likely. But if the extreme downturn in the ad industry has more to do with the current economy than a permanent shift in how advertising is created and exchanged, there will be a lot of people ready to celebrate. Now these execs just have to turn their predictions into dollars spent to make that happen.

Image: API

Meghan Keane

Published 30 November, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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Comments (1)


Mike Stenger

I'm really happy for the advertising industry and I'll let 'em finish, but finding newer or more effective ways to advertise is one of the best decisions of all time!

Really though. One side, companies don't have as much capital to advertise, another, they have no clue what to do or aren't getting that great of results so they don't advertise as much or as much as they did. I'm an online guy and there's just so many ways to advertise online and do it so damn effectively.

A lot of businesses really aren't making that big of changes and are sticking to their old habits. TV is still big but have you seen the stats on how many flip through the commercials with their Tivo? Holy crap!

Newspapers and magazines on the other hand are in a pretty tight spot right now. More eyeballs are on the internet and I think that if companies focus on shifting some of their dollars over to the internet, and actually put some serious effort into an effective and not plain boring or straight up ridiculous advertising that doesn't get results, we'll see a big boost in the industry.

That's my two cents or more like a nickel...

over 8 years ago

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