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Hot Ad Categories for 2021

February 2, 2021

BIA Advisory Services tracks and predicts advertising revenue on a nationwide and local market basis. They forecast ad expenditure by advertising category. In a recent interview for Forbes.com, Rick Ducey, Managing Director of BIA, outlined how ad expenditure will change in 2021.

This is a critical comparison, because for most reading this, 2020 was a miserable year. COVID caused massive shutdowns in retail, entertainment, travel, and restaurants. Is 2021 going to be a rebound year for advertising expenditure? Much of this depends on your definition of rebound.

When compared to 2020, BIA predicts that U.S. ad revenue will grow by 2.5% in 2021. While this may not seem like much of a rebound from a poorly performing year, three things need to be considered:

  • The first quarter of 2020 was strong prior to COVID.
  • Political expenditure in 2020 was massive and will be negligible in 2021.
  • The economy in 2021 is uncertain, and how it evolves will affect ad expenditure.

So what categories are predicted to show the biggest jump in 2021?

Automotive + 5.0%
Education + 5.9%
Finance/Insurance + 10.0%
General Services + 5.1%
Health + 3.8%
Leisure/Recreation + 16.5%
Media + 8.3%
Real Estate + 8.7%
Restaurants + 6.0%
Retail + 5.3%
Technology + 4.8%

Source: BIA ADvantage U.S. Local Ad Forecast 2020-21

The greatest growth is anticipated in Leisure and Recreation, with a 16.5% projected increase in 2021. This category was probably the biggest loser in 2020 as travel and outside-of-home entertainment were decimated as a result of COVID restrictions and precautions.

One category is expected to show a massive decline in 2021. Clearly, in 2020, political ad expenditures were the savior to many advertising outlets. BIA predicts that political advertising will fall 86.9% in 2021. No surprise.

Most who are reading this blog are in the radio industry. Keep in mind, however, that this data represents all U.S. ad expenditure and not just radio. Still, knowing the categories that are expected to grow can help a sales person focus on where the money will be coming from.

The entire article can be viewed here.

Have questions on howto use this data to your advantage? Please reach out to us here.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner

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