Global Ad Spend Trends

Posted on 10/20/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

eMarketer forecasts that the total worldwide ad spend in 2015 will be $569.65 billion. Global digital ad spend will jump 18% compared with 2014 and reach $170.17 billion, or 29.9% of the total advertising market.

ZenithOptmedia (ZO) forecasts global growth to be slightly lower at $564 billion. Mature Markets (defined as North America, Western Europe and Japan) will contribute more to global ad spend growth this year than Rising Markets (defined as everywhere else) for the first time since 2006.

North America has the highest ad spending worldwide, with $195.26 billion predicted in 2015. By 2019, Asia-Pacific is expected to overtake North America as the leading advertising market.

For all of 2015 ZO expects global ad growth to be about 4% while eMarketer’s predicts it will reach 5.7%. Spending growth in North America will lag the global pace this year with ZO estimating a 3.5% increase. On the other hand, China’s growth will be twice as much as the global ad market. With help from the Olympics and U.S. elections North American ad sales next year are expected to grow 4.2%, up from 3.5% in 2015.


According to eMarketer digital advertising spending worldwide, including desktop and laptop computers, mobile phones and tablets, reached $137.53 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach $154.29 billion in 2015, or 27% of total advertising spend.

eMarketer estimates that search marketers will invest $82 billion in 2015, with the amount rising to $94 billion in 2016 and $107 billion in 2017. By 2019, marketers are expected to spend nearly $135 billion on search engine advertising.

Display advertising will increase from $74.8 billion in 2015 to $90.50 billion in 2016 and $105.30 billion in 2017.

In 2015, 31.8% of total media ad buys will go toward digital formats, a share that eMarketer expects to reach 41.4% by 2019.

By the end of 2015 Facebook, Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn will account for 55.5% of all U.S. online ad revenue, leaving 44.5% to all the other Internet outlets.


Mobile advertising remains the driving force in advertising market growth, contributing 83% of all new ad dollars between 2014 and 2017, according to ZO’s estimate. Worldwide, mobile advertising is expected to grow 38% in 2016 to $71 billion.

Mobile ad buys in the U.S. will reach $30.2 billion in 2015. Canada will reach $1.3 billion this year. Both the U.S. and Canada will record double-digit growth in mobile through 2019. This will be fueled by increased spending on mobile video, mobile social networks and mobile search formats.


Newspaper advertising revenues worldwide were $87 billion in 2014 and are expected to continue to decline to about $68 billion in 2016.
PWC says advertising revenue as a share of total newspaper revenue in the U.S. declined from 54.4% in 2010 to 52.6% in 2014. In 2019 advertising revenue is expected to account for just 50.7% of total newspaper revenue.

ZenithOptimedia found time spent reading newspapers in print had fallen 24 percent since 2010 and projected further declines by 2017.

Newspaper Association of America reported that 2013 print ad revenues are now the lowest they've been since 1950, when the organization began tracking industry data. And the annual declines continue.

A handful of large daily newspapers, including The New York Times, now make more money from readers than advertisers, but, in the U.S. at least, that is the exception. (A recent study of newspapers in more than 70 countries from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers found that circulation had overtaken advertising as the primary source of revenue.)


Consumer magazine advertising revenue will be essentially flat this year compared to 2014 at nearly $24.6 billion, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. It is expected to remain essentially flat through 2019.

During the next 4-years ad sales are expected to rise at a combined annual growth rate of less than half of one-percent, reaching about $17 billion.

Magazine companies have looked to digital advertising to stem print losses, but print remains their primary source of revenue. For instance, Time Inc., the nation's largest magazine publisher, generated just 20% of its ad sales from digital in 2014.

Copyright © 2015 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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