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“Flat is the new up”: U.S. advertising investments are forecast to increase 0.7% in 2023

In contrast to GroupM’s bullish assessment for U.S. advertising spend in 2023, The Myers Report’s 30th annual Marketing/Advertising Data and Forecast comes in with a more sobering number.

Media ecologist Jack Myers, chairman of MediaVillage, has released The Myers Report’s 30th annual Marketing/Advertising Data and Forecast for the U.S. market. The Report surveyed senior agency decision-makers at eight global media buying organizations including BIA Advisory, Cowen and Company, Group M, Magna Global, Zenith/Publicis, eMarketer, MoffettNathanson, Nielsen, and Standard Media Index.

Whilst Myers sees significant upside for advertising-supported media in the second half of the decade (once the marketplace adjusts to the evolving digital, data, and AI transformation), he foresees a flat 2023.

Flat is the new up. U.S. advertising investments are forecast to increase only 0.7% in 2023 with total marketing up 0.4%; retail media gains at 20%; while national TV is forecast to be down 4.0%.

Myers points to the cyclical impact of more than $12 billion invested in 2022 political advertising plus the World Cup and Beijing Olympics included in the 2022 advertising spend. He also forewarns, “there are secular headwinds that will continue to repress advertising investments. These include programmatic and procurement-led commoditization, data disruption, expansion of retail media networks, and a ‘shiny new object syndrome’ in digital media investments.”

For 2023, The Myers Report forecasts a 6.3% decline in legacy linear advertising investments, offset by a 6.5% growth in digital spend. This contrasts with an estimated 7.1% increase in 2022 advertising spending ($197.5 billion), reflecting 6.1% growth of legacy/linear media ($89.6 billion) and 7.8% digital media growth ($107.9 billion). The net decline in investment in legacy media is of particular concern.

Myers warns the financial community to “continue to invest in advertising-supported media companies that own legacy brands with valuable intellectual capital,” drawing a comparison to ‘downtown central city’ real estate that is the foundation of renewed urban growth. “The current attitude among investors toward legacy ad-supported media companies will not only kill the golden goose that continues to lay eggs but will destroy the economic marketing ecosystem that depends on it.”

The advertising supported media community must invest in building positive brand equity for their own industry among marketers and investors. Most importantly, the industry must increase investments in building a diverse modern workforce.

Jack Myers, chairman of MediaVillage and The Myers Report