Magna upgrades global ad growth forecasts, with Facebook and Google as drivers
- Global ad revenue will grow 6.4% to $551 billion this year, higher than previous growth projections of 5.2%, according to updated forecasts from IPG's Magna division reported in The Wall Street Journal. The adjustment in the growth projections can be attributed to Facebook and Google's strong first quarters, where the two had collective revenue growth of 31%.
- Ad buys from smaller companies and local businesses may be bolstering Facebook and Google's bottom lines, according to the Journal. Digital overall makes up nearly half of Magna's 2018 projections. Global digital ad sales, which include display, video, search and social, are expected to grow 16% this year to $250 billion, a slight decline from the 18% growth in 2017.
- Magna previously forecast global digital growth to be 13%. Impressions and clicks on mobile devices are generating more than 60% of the growth. U.S. total ad sales will grow 6.4% in 2018, reaching $207 billion. Magna previously project the U.S. market would grow 5.5%. Outside of major events, television ad revenue is projected to be flat this year.
Even though some marketers have cut their spending on Google and Facebook in recent months, citing concerns ranging from data privacy and brand safety to campaign performance and measurement, Magna's updated forecasts signal that there's little to stop the momentum of the world's two largest digital advertising platforms.
Some of these controversies, including Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal and ensuing data privacy dustups, have raised the specter of tighter government regulations, but few concrete measures have been enacted. Other laws, like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), were supposed to reign in the power of these tech companies by enforcing more stringent rules around obtaining user consent to information collection, but appear to have only benefited them. Google, for example, has the resources to follow stricter interpretations of the GDPR that smaller businesses can't adhere to.
Marketers have been hoping for a more competitive digital ad space to put greater pressure on the duopoly, especially as Facebook has made changes that seem to de-prioritize ads. Facebook at the start of the year announced algorithm changes that would prioritize user posts over organic ones from brands and publishers. The adjustment has increased the price of paid ad campaigns as the organic reach of brand and publisher posts has diminished.
Facebook and Google are facing some new competition, however. EMarketer forecast in March that Facebook and Google will receive a combined 56.8% of U.S. digital ad investment in 2018, down from 58.5% last year. Amazon and Snapchat, however, are experiencing growth that, while still far from that degree of market dominance, could be significant further down the line, especially for Amazon, which is putting a heavy focus on growing its ad business.
Publishers are also pushing back more fiercely against these technology giants. Concert, a joint venture between Vox Media and NBCUniversal that Vox operates, recently brought titles like New York Media, PopSugar and Rolling Stone into its digital ad marketplace. The publishers are hoping to leverage their capabilities to target niche audiences as a strong pitch to marketers. German media company Axel Springer, which owns Business Insider, and the Norwegian media group Schibsted also joined forces to push back against Google's GDPR solution.
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