Social media advertising overtaking television

Social media advertising overtaking television

The global ad market will continue its recovery from the 2020 pandemic downturn and grow 9.1% in 2022, after a 15.6% growth in 2021, according to advertising company Zenith’s forecast. Global adspend will grow 5.7% in 2023 and 7.4% in 2024. Social media adspend will overtake TV next year. Online video will grow 14% a year as consumer like streaming and advanced TV.

Adspend in all regions is now well above pre-pandemic levels, and all are expected to grow healthily over the next few years. Zenith forecasts the fastest growth between 2021 and 2024 to come from Central & Eastern Europe and the Middle East & North Africa, with average annual growth rates of 12.2% and 10.0% respectively.

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The biggest growth 2021 to 2024 will be in the US where adspend is forecasted to represents 48% of the entire growth in global adspend over this period. The next-largest growth will come from China, the UK and Japan. The slowest-growth is expected from the mature markets of Western Europe, where growth is forecasted to be 5.3% a year.


Digital advertising will represent 60% of global adspend for the first time in 2022, reaching 61.5% of total expenditure, By 2024 the share will rise to 65.1%.

Zenith estimates that global adspend will reach USD 705 billion in 2021, up from USD 634 billion in 2019, and will rise to USD 873 billion by 2024.

“While the emergence of the omicron variant is not factored into this forecast, it will increase the risk of more set-backs to the travel, hospitality and bricks-and-mortar retail sectors, and may cause further shifts into ecommerce and digital advertising”, the forecast says.

Zenith estimates that global digital advertising will expand 25% year-on-year in 2021. “


As consumers return to shopping in person, we’ll see some rebalancing of marketing towards in-store communication”, Zenith says forecasting 14% growth in digital adspend in 2022, and 9% in 2023 and 10% in 2024.

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“The pace of digital transformation has been higher than expected, as progress towards containing COVID-19 has been slower and consumers have been wary to resume in-store shopping. Varying opinions about vaccine effectiveness and willingness to obtain the vaccine have delayed the return to stores, causing brands to maintain a greater reliance on ecommerce and digital channels than previously forecast.”


“The structural change in the economy towards ecommerce means that advertising is playing a greater role in driving sales growth. In particular, it has sparked a surge in retailer media advertising: display or search advertising that appear on ecommerce platforms.”

Zenith estimates that retailer media advertising surged from 24% growth in 2019 to 53% in 2020, and 47% in 2021, when it totalled USD 77 billion. This is equivalent to the sums spent on newspaper, magazine, radio and cinema advertising combined, and accounts for 20% of all expenditure on digital display and paid search advertising.


Zenith predicts social media will be the fastest-growing channel between 2021 and 2024, with an average annual growth rate of 14.8%, closely followed by online video at 14.0%.

Paid search will grow by 9.8% a year, primarily driven by retailer media, and out-of-home will enjoy solid 7.4% annual growth as foot and vehicle traffic return to normal. Radio and television will grow marginally, by 2.2% and 1.4% respectively, while print declines by 4.7%.

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