Last Year’s Global Ad Spend Said to Have Outperformed Pre-Pandemic Total by Almost 20%

January 12, 2022
eMarketer Forecast Global Media Ad Spend Jan2022

Although 2020 was admittedly a discouraging year for global advertising, last year proved to be a better year in the world of advertising. Year-end estimates from eMarketer indicate that global media ad spend grew by a record-breaking 19.9% over 2020, with digital ad spend doing a lot of the heavy lifting. 

Indeed, although ad spend contracted by 1.2% in 2020, per eMarketer, the strong rebound last year resulted in a total ad spend that was considerably higher than in 2019.

Worldwide media ad spend — which includes digital (desktop/laptop, mobile, and other internet-connected devices), directories, magazines, newspapers, out-of-home, radio and TV — was projected to reach $780.59 billion last year. The nearly 20% year-over-year (y-o-y) growth is higher than the 15% growth eMarketer had forecast earlier in the year. It is also more than $120 billion more than pre-pandemic spending in 2019.

Digital Leads Recovery

Even during the first year of the pandemic, when many advertisers and marketers were struggling with budget decreases and shifts, digital media channels experienced less of a negative impact than traditional media. The continued reliance on digital saw 2021 global digital ad spend hitting $491.7 billion — an increase of 29.1% over 2020 and, once again, surpassing an earlier eMarketer forecast. 

Display and search are two digital channels highlighted by eMarketer for their growth in ad spend last year. Both saw impressive double-digit growth, with display ad spend growing 30.8% y-o-y and search ad spend growing by 29.3% y-o-y. The growth in search ad spend is also backed up by previous research from MAGNA, which shows that ad spending on search was 51% higher in 2021 than in 2019

Furthermore, although traditional media was the hardest hit by the pandemic and recovery was always expected to be slower, eMarketer notes that traditional media such as TV, out-of-home and newspaper advertising experienced “unusually strong growth,” in large part due to the decrease in spending on these channels in 2020.

Growth Expected in the Future

Looking ahead to this year and beyond, eMarketer estimates that growth in media ad spending will continue, albeit at a slower rate than seen in 2021. Global ad investment is expected to increase by 11% y-o-y this year to reach $866.43 billion. In the years to follow, year-over-year growth will slow to 9.3% in 2023, 7.8% in 2024 and 6.8% in 2025.

The continued growth is expected to lead to total global media ad spend exceeding the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2024, with spending reaching $1.1 trillion by 2025.

Read more here.

About the Data: Findings are based on eMarketer estimates, which include “digital (desktop/laptop, mobile, and other internet-connected devices), directories, magazines, newspapers, out-of-home, radio and TV.”


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