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