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Good News Continues For Advertising Spend In 2022!

The good news continues for advertising spend in 2022! The US advertising marketplace is still growing after recovering from the impact of 2020. SMI data is pointing to a very strong January, with 19% year-over-year growth in ad spend, and suggests February and March will have strong single-digit lifts, indicating a solid Q1 growth YoY.

These numbers are according to our newest Pacing Report, which contextualizes historical monthly ad spend as a benchmark, then projects the current year’s relative performance, as well as well as an update preview today from the upcoming final numbers to be released to clients next week. To enable this analysis, SMI directly receives invoicing commitments from agency partners, months ahead of when the ad inventory runs. Accordingly, this report features a three-month future readout of “forward bookings“ which forecast the pace of market change year-over-year.

Besides continued growth in advertising spend, what does this report tell us about Q1 2022?

Buying behavior is shifting earlier in the buying cycle

SMI has also been observing a change of ad buying behavior for the past several months. As agencies increase their digital investment levels, they are entering a larger portion of those commitments into their billing systems earlier compared to buying cycles observed in H1 2021 and years prior.


We’re seeing commitments for digital get booked months earlier in the sales cycle than the historical trend. In contrast, TV inventory is being bought later in the buy-cycle, closer to airtime.


Interestingly, the data shows that January and February 2022 commitments, as of three months in advance, doubled compared to the same 2021 period. However, we do not expect this doubling to carry through to the entire month’s performance. Instead, we expect less to be bought closer to the inventory month, with the overall totals still up.


All told, we anticipate strong Q1 market growth YoY, but with a settling from 2021’s historically huge +18% YoY recovery growth.

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