North American advertising spend to increase in 2012

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North American advertising spend is projected to increase 3.6% to $171 billion in 2012, said Jonathan Barnard, head of publications at ZenithOptimedia. The marketing services firm's advertising projections predict the most growth will occur in mobile advertising, with mobile ad spend expected to increase 48% to $1.2 billion, compared with 2011.

The projection anticipates steady 2012 growth in display ad spending, which will increase 12% to $5.2 billion compared with last year, as well as paid search ads, which will increase 15% to $13.1 billion.

Social ad spending is expected to increase 37% to $3.4 billion in 2012.

Despite the steady decrease in print advertising spending, particularly in newspapers and magazines (expected 2012 declines of 8% and 3% respectively), direct mail has and will continue to hold steady, Barnard said. ZenithOptimedia predicts direct mail spending will increase 3% to $50 billion.

“At a time when advertisers cut heavily, direct mail was still relatively strong because there was a steady return on investment,” Barnard said. While the popularity of the Internet introduced new advertising models that disrupted print ads in periodicals, “that's not the case with the way mass marketers use direct mail,” Barnard said.

“They already knew what return they were getting [with direct mail],” he explained. “So marketers know they're getting a return, they don't switch to other channels.”

ZenithOptimedia's market sizing, which had total U.S. 2011 ad spend growth at 1.6%, presents a slightly rosier outlook than the recently-released figures from Kantar Media. Global ad spend is expected to grow 4.8% in 2012 to $489 billion.

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