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Social media overtakes print as third-largest ad channel

07 Oct 2019  |  Michaela Jefferson 
Social media overtakes print as third-largest ad channel

Social media is expected to claim a 13% share of global adspend this year and overtake print for the first time, according to Zenith's latest Advertising Expenditure Forecasts.

While spend on social media is set to grow 20% in 2019 to reach US$84bn, newspapers and magazines are expected to see their combined expenditure fall 6% to $69bn.

Social media therefore takes third place in the race to become the largest advertising channel, though its growth trajectory is expected to drop as the market matures. In 2020 it is expected to grow 17%, followed by 13% in 2021.

Paid search also reached a new milestone this year, exceeding $100bn for the first time. The channel ranks second in terms of share at 17%, while TV claims the largest share at 29% - though it is expected to slip to 27% by the latter half of 2021.

Overall, Zenith expects total global adspend to remain steady at 4.4% a year to 2021, a small downward revision on the 4.6% forecast made in June.

"We have slightly downgraded our expectations for 2019 amid a marginally weaker trading environment," said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith. "But growth should then remain steady out to 2021, powered by the robust US ad market."

According to the report, the US is responsible for almost half of global adspend growth - driven by digital brands and small businesses. Meanwhile, growth in Europe has slowed.

Western Europe can now expect to grow just 1.9% this year, a downgrade of 0.5 percentage points from previous forecasts due to poor economic performance in key markets.

Meanwhile, the UK is set to finish the year with a 3.3% growth in adspend, down from 8.7% in 2018. Zenith UK's head of investment, David Mulrenan, said this can largely be attributed to Brexit uncertainty, which has seen advertiser budgets fluctuate throughout the year.

"However, as we move towards some resolution (hopefully!), 2020 is forecast to show greater growth at nearly 5%. Unsurprisingly, most of this growth is being driven by digital channels. However, this has more to do with traditional media owners digitising their inventory and estate than new players in the market," he added.

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CharlieWannell, Head of Marketing, Mediamark on 7 Oct 2019
“Can you tell me who the top 2 are in terms of spending if Social is now number 3? Thanks