Global ad spend trends for 2016: Programmatic starts to dominate ad buying


By the end of 2015 in the US, Programmatic transactions will account for 52% of non-search digital advertising spend, with growth set for 20% a year, according to new research.


The data, from media network Carat, forecasts an accelerated global ad spend growth in 2016 of 4.7% reaching $554bn.

This increase is fuelled by digital media spend which Carat predicts it will, for the first time, account for more than a quarter of total advertising spend in 2016 with a market share of 26.5%.

Digital’s strong growth trajectory is driven by online video, programmatic and mobile.

Key findings:

• Overall, mobile is experiencing the greatest spend growth across all media and Carat predicts year-on-year increase in mobile spend at +51.2% in 2015.

• Meanwhile online video will grow at a rate of 22% this year.

• In the UK the total advertising market is forecast to hit £16.9 billion in 2015, up 6.4% from last year.

Current indications position 2016 growth in the UK above global forecasts, with a year-on-year growth rate of +5.5%.

The 2016 UEFA European Football Championships, at which it is possible that multiple home nations may qualify, is likely to start a summer of increased spending, with the 2016 Rio Olympic Games also driving some advertising revenue.

Carat also predicts that the UK will reach a digital advertising tipping point for the first time in 2016 as digital advertising spend will reach a majority share of 51% in 2016.

Fuelled by the rise of Mobile and Online Video spending trends, Carat’s latest forecasts reconfirm the continued solid growth for Digital media, evident through the upsurge in the predicted share of advertising spend in 2015 of 24.3% and 26.5% in 2016.

For 10 of the markets analysed, including the UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia, Digital is now the principle media used based on spend, with the US market predicted to join this list in 2018 when digital advertising spend is forecast to overtake TV advertising by more than $4bn.

Regional breakdown: Latin American leads growth

From a regional perspective, Carat confirms on-going positive momentum in 2015 for most regions although volatility occurs in some individual markets, with Western Europe at +2.6%, +4.2% in North America, +4.1% in Asia Pacific and +12.7% in Latin America. Western Europe’s continued positive growth is driven by solid 2015 figures in the UK and Spain of +6.4% and +6.9% respectively, strong enough to withstand the political turmoil in Greece and its revised advertising growth this year of -12%, significantly down from the +8% predicted in March 2015.

Despite a slight decline in growth forecasts due to China’s economic downturn,
Asia Pacific remains strong in 2015 with an above global spend rate of +4.1%, driven by high-performing India at 11% and growing Australia at 2.4%. Carat’s data also reports an encouraging outlook for 2016, with all regions predicted to increase year-on-year spend next year and Central & Eastern Europe to return to positive growth.

Media breakdown: Digital only channel getting double digital growth

By media, Digital continues to be the only channel warranting double digital growth, predicted at +15.7% in 2015 and +14.3% in 2016. This is driven by the high demand for Mobile and Online Video advertising especially across social media, with 51.2% and 22% year-on-year growth expected this year. Programmatic buying is also experiencing rapid growth at a rate of +20% each year.

TV remains resilient with a steady 42.0% market share in 2015 and is predicted to grow by more than +3% in 2016, as the upcoming Olympic Games and US elections are expected to drive considerable viewership. Despite the ongoing decline in Print* spend, Carat’s forecasts confirm year-on-year growth for all other media with updated predictions for 2015 highlighting year-on-year growth in Cinema at +4.7%, Radio at +1.3% and Outdoor at +3.4%, with the latter two slightly revised down from March 2015 figures.

Analysis: BRIC break-up?

Commenting on the Carat Advertising Expenditure forecasts, Jerry Buhlmann, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network, said: “Carat’s latest advertising spend forecast shows optimism balanced with realism during a year of increased volatility in major markets such as Russia and China. Noticeably, the landscape is becoming increasingly complex as previously grouped markets, such as the BRIC economies, are now operating differently and economic situations can quickly change markets at pace. Our teams are well positioned to navigate our clients through this multifaceted marketplace and successfully assimilate new market opportunities at speed.

“Digital media continues to achieve outstanding growth as the effectiveness of this medium and results achieved, especially with millennials, warrants the upsurge in spend levels. As Digital rapidly evolves into a more established asset and Programmatic and Search bring stronger performance and efficiency, we continue to add value to our clients by delivering innovative solutions that are different and better.”


Carat's advertising expenditure forecasts are compiled from data which is collated from around the Carat network and based on Carat's local market expertise. We use a bottom-up approach, with forecasts provided for 59 markets covering the Americas, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Rest of World by medium - Television, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, Cinema, Out-of-Home and Digital Media. The advertising spend figures are provided net of negotiated discounts and with agency commission deducted, in current prices and in local currency. For global and regional figures we convert the figures centrally into USD with the average exchange rate. The forecasts are produced bi-annually with actual figures for the previous year and latest forecasts for the current and following year.

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