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nielsen-global-ad-spend-growth-q12012-june2012.pngWorldwide advertising spend rose 3.1% year-over-year in Q1 to reach $128 billion USD, per new figures released in June 2012 by Nielsen. Ad spend gains were minimal in January, but picked up steam in the following months, with spending in March 4.5% higher than in the previous year. The report notes that the Q1 2012 gain might have come as a result of depressed spending a year earlier, when market conditions and political unrest were more pronounced. Nielsen earlier reported 7.3% ad spend growth in 2011, though that figure was limited to major traditional media (TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers).

The 3.1% growth rate reported in Q1 is slightly below the 4.3% rate forecast for 2012 by ZenithOptimedia and the 4.8% rate predicted by Warc.

Middle East & Africa Region Sees Rapid Growth

The Middle East and Africa saw the most rapid Q1 growth, as spending grew 23.3% year-over-year. Egypt in particular saw explosive growth, with ad spending rising 67% in Q1 following last year’s Arab Spring. Interestingly, the most recent ZenithOptimedia forecast calls for just 1% growth in the Middle East and North Africa this year, with continuing political and social unrest a key factor.

Latin America Spend Grows by Almost 10%

Latin America also posted strong gains in Q1, according to the Nielsen figures, with spending increasing by 9.6% from a year earlier. This is more in line with the ZenithOptimedia forecast, which called for 7.8% overall growth in the region this year, with that being a downgrade from an earlier forecast of 9.2%.

Meanwhile, Q1 ad spend growth in North America (2.1%) and Asia-Pacific (1.7%) was more muted, both figures below projections from ZenithOptimedia (of 3.6% and 6.7%, respectively). Europe was the only region to see a decline in Q1, of 1.4%, though growth rates varied by country. Greece and Spain each saw significant decreases, while France, Germany, and Switzerland all posted gains.

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