Zenith: Social Media Advertising Will Surpass TV in 2022

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LONDON—The dominance of digital media will pass a new milestone in 2022 when worldwide social media advertising will hit $177 billion, overtaking television at $174 billion, according to Zenith’s new Advertising Expenditure Forecasts report. 

Zenith is also predicting that the social media ad spend will rise to $225 billion by 2024, when it will account for 26.5% of all advertising, followed by paid search at 22.5% and television at 21.0%.

Online video advertising will also see rapid growth, with Zenith forecasting that the global online video ad spend will increase from $62 billion in 2021 to $91 billion in 2024, when it will be more than half the size of TV advertising for the first time. 

The linear television ad spend will rise much more modestly from $171 billion in 2022 to $178 billion in 2024, Zenith predicted. 

Overall, Zenith is predicting that the global ad market will continue its recovery from the 2020 downturn with 9.1% growth in 2022, after 15.6% growth in 2021. Then, the global ad spend will expand by 5.7% in 2023 and 7.4% in 2024, with brands looking to leverage more social media, online video, advanced TV, and ecommerce channels.

In another notable milestone, advertising across all digital channels will exceed 60% of global ad spend for the first time in 2022, reaching 61.5% of total expenditure, Zenith is predicting. The digital media share of total global advertising will continue to rise to 65.1% by 2024.

“As consumers rely ever more on digital technology to connect and entertain them, and to inspire and fulfil their purchases, advertising is playing a greater role in driving sales and brand growth,” said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith. “Over the next three years we expect the ad market to achieve its highest rate of sustained growth since 2000.”

Zenith estimates that global ad spend will reach $705 billion in 2021, up from $634 billion in 2019, and will rise to $873 billion by 2024.

The company cautioned however that the emergence of the omicron variant was not factored into this forecast and that the new COVID variant will increase the risk of more set-backs to the travel, hospitality and bricks-and-mortar retail sectors, which may in turn cause further shifts into ecommerce and digital advertising.

Zenith also noted that “the pace of digital transformation has been higher than expected, as progress towards containing COVID-19 has been slower and consumers have been wary to resume in-store shopping.

Central & Eastern Europe and the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) will be the fastest growing regions in 2022, but most new ad dollars come from the U.S., Zenith said, with the U.S. ad spend forecasted to expand by $80 billion between 2021 and 2024.

Zenith predicts social media will be the fastest-growing channel between 2021 and 2024, with an average annual growth rate of 14.8%, closely followed by online video at 14.0%. Paid search will grow by 9.8% a year, primarily driven by retailer media, and out-of-home will enjoy solid 7.4% annual growth as foot and vehicle traffic return to normal. Radio and television will grow marginally, by 2.2% and 1.4% respectively, while print declines by 4.7%.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.