2012 Budgeting Report: Local Online Advertising Forecasts and Key Growth Opportunities

  • November 2011
  • -
  • Borrell Associates Inc.

Summary

Table of Contents

Our 26-page report, “Budgeting for 2012: Local Online Advertising Forecasts and Key Growth Opportunities,” reveals that after two years of fairly flat revenues, this advertising segment is entering another rapid-growth phase. In fact, it's two years from toppling the age-old kingpin of local advertising, newspapers. But don't count newspapers or any other traditional media out: Legacy local media companies still control 92% of all advertising, including half of all locally spent online advertising. And their share is of online is starting to grow, at the expense of local pureplay Internet companies. We're forecasting 18% overall growth as local online advertising goes from $15.7 billion this year to $18.5 billion. In addition, a subset of online, mobile advertising (smartphones and tablets), will push the total expenditure to more than $26 billion by 2016. The report contains 12 charts and graphics, along with two appendices detailing online ad spending by format (banners, email, video, paid search and streaming audio) for 210 U.S. markets. The break-outs include estimates for 2011 as well as forecasts for 2012.

Executive Summary

After years of being seen as the little guy on the block, online advertising has gained new energy and is two years away from toppling newspapers as the age-old kingpin of local advertising. Our forecast calls for 18% growth in local online advertising in 2012 as expenditures go from an estimated $15.7 billion this year to $18.5 billion next year. In 2012, for the first time, one market will surpass the $1 billion milestone in terms of how much local businesses are spending on online media to reach local consumers. (It’s New York City.) Of all 210 U.S. markets, only 1 in 10 will see less than $10 million in online spending by local businesses. Appendix B details our 2012 local online ad-spending forecasts for every U.S. market. This continued uptick sets the stage for dose of internal drama for digital media, which suddenly finds itself facing its own disruptor. While traditional desktop-based web advertising continues to grow in 2012, so does mobile media. By 2013 the proliferation of mobile devices — combined with local advertisers’ budding affair with mobile couponing, text messaging, social media and apps — is likely to cause a precipitous decline in ads served up on desktop computers. We’re forecasting that 88% of all local online advertising will be viewed on tablets, smart phones or GPS? enabled laptops by 2016.
The transformation will be akin to the switch from DVR players to DVRs, perhaps relegating the market for desktop PCs to Craigslist and yard sales. Who’s winning the race for Main Street’s marketing dollars? It may be hard to believe, but it’s traditional local media companies. They already control 92% of all local ad dollars — including half of all locally spent online advertising. For the past two years, traditional media companies have been quietly staffing up their online sales forces, stealing share from Internet pureplay companies. We foresee that trend continuing in 2012 as pureplay companies lose 1.6 points of share while local TV stations gain 1.6 points, radio 1 point and newspapers 0.8 of a point. In terms of online ad formats, the big story is in sales of static banner advertising, sold on the basis of “eyeballs.” Run-of-site banner sales are forecast to decline 3% next year while sales of targeted banner advertising more than doubles. Increases are also forecast for paid search (up 10%), streaming video (up 18%), email (up 9%) and streaming audio (up 129%).

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