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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

5 Ad trends to know for Upfront and Newfront season

April 25, 2023 | By Todd Krizelman, CEO – MediaRadar@ToddKrizelman

The largest TV networks and media companies are busy presenting their upcoming programming and ad inventory for the year ahead. A large portion of advertising budgets are typically allocated to TV advertising, so advertising shifts among top brands will impact the whole marketplace. In this article, we’ll explore some of the latest advertising trends and insights to keep in mind during the Upfronts, NewFronts, and beyond.

1. Digital takes the top spot

In 2022, nearly $144 billion was invested in digital, print and TV advertising. While TV still makes up 41% of total ad spend, digital was the top ranking format making up 47% of all buys. Over $68 billion was allocated to digital formats. These formats include display, online video, native, and paid social among other formats. This marks an opportunity for continued growth in digital media sales. 

2. Top categories investing in TV are also top buyers of digital 

Four out of the top five categories buying TV ads are top digital buyers as well. Not surprisingly big spenders from finance, media & entertainment, retail, and tech brands drive digital ad sales.  TV investment for these, with the exception of media and entertainment, is down YoY. 

However, each of these categories are up YoY in digital ad sales. Their combined digital investment still exceeds $36.6 billion and made up 53% of all digital spend. This represents a shift in the market towards digital advertising among top segments.

3. Few advertisers entering the market bought national TV spots

Only 1% of advertisers entering the market bought national TV spots. Despite looming recession concerns, MediaRadar observed 52k new advertisers (nearly 80k brands) entered the market in the second half of 2022. Not all of these advertisers purchased TV spots (530), but over 36k invested in digital display, video advertising and other digital formats. 

4. Online video advertising is up 

Online video advertising is increasingly more important to advertisers as it rose 86% YoY. A study by Hubspot says, “91% of marketers surveyed say they find video important to their advertising mix and 92% of them say online video produces a high ROI.” These feelings are likely contributing to the continued growth of video ad sales across media formats. 

MediaRadar observed 31.1k advertisers spend an estimated $28.2b in video advertising during 2022.  Top three categories advertised via online video during 2022: software ($1.9 billion), pharma ($1.4 billion), and film promotion ($1.4 billion). Combined spend nearly reached $4.8 billion, this is only 17% of total online video spend.

5. OTT investments increased despite concerns 

Just a few years ago, new OTT streaming platforms were being launched regularly and consumers were anxious to embrace them. Now, platforms struggle to match growth of 2021 and prior. To overcome challenges groups, like Disney+ and Netflix, have introduced ad supported versions at a reduced cost to mixed reviews. Despite the challenges, 5.7k brands increased their investment in streaming platforms YoY. Together their buys were nearly $1.3 billion. Most notably LinkedIn, eHarmony, Kohl’s, and Febreeze contributed to this YoY increase. 

While the Upfronts and Newfronts are an increasingly important time for large networks and media conglomerates, it is also an important time for all media sellers to understand the shifting marketplace and carve their niche into the new year. There is much opportunity to capitalize on the changing advertising landscape and continued digital growth. 

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