Industry Outlook

The outlook for the advertising industry varies by sector. Some advertising sectors will have more growth, such as in online and mobile advertising, whereas other sectors will have slow or no growth, such as radio, magazine, and newspaper advertising. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimates advertising industry growth by sector through 2022 in its “Global Entertainment and Media Outlook” report.

According to the PwC report, mobile advertising is expected to continue growing in the next few years, with display advertising (including video) experiencing the most growth. Display advertising is also projected to surpass Search (such as search-engine advertising) by 2022. The report explains that “Search tends to be a bigger advertising player on computers than on mobile devices.” Mobile advertising overall is projected to grow by an annual average rage of 13 percent through 2022. During this same time frame, Internet advertising on wired devices is expected to decline slightly, by about 1.5 percent.

TV advertising is projected to grow slowly into 2022, at a compound annual rate of just 1.3 percent. Online advertising will comprise only a small part of TV advertising revenues. As the PwC report describes it, “To put digital’s small penetration into context, advertisers are expected to spend as much on digital newspaper advertising as digital TV advertising in 2022.” On the other hand, cable broadcast networks will have higher compound annual growth in advertising than multichannel systems through 2022.

The magazine advertising market consists of the consumer magazine and the trade magazine sectors. The consumer magazine advertising market in 2018 was estimated to be at $16.4 billion, and PwC issued an even bleaker outlook for this market than it had forecast the previous year, when it expected growth to be flat. Its revised projection is for consumer magazine advertising revenues to drop to $14.85 billion by 2022, with a compound annual decline of 2.2 percent. Digital advertising in consumer magazines is forecast to drop annually by nearly 7 percent through 2022. The PwC report emphasizes this prediction by highlighting the following statement: “…PwC no longer expects digital advertising to surpass print advertising for consumer magazines during the forecast period (through 2022).”

The trade magazine adverting sector is following trends similar to those of consumer magazine advertising but it will have some growth the next few years, of about .6 percent compound annual growth (from $4.24 billion to $4.4 billion) into 2022. To sum up the trade magazine sector: “PwC expects digital will overtake print in trade magazine advertising spend [by 2019].” PwC had originally predicted this to happen by 2020 but it is now occurring at a faster rate.

The radio advertising market will grow slightly from $17.7 billion in 2018 to $18.4 billion by 2022, with an annual growth rate of nearly 1 percent. Terrestrial radio broadcast advertising will continue to be the dominant form of radio, but PwC predicts revenue for this sector to be stagnant, growing only from $15.9 billion in 2018 to $16 billion by 2022. Newspaper advertising will continue to decline, and each segment of print advertising (classified, national, and retail) is projected to drop by 9 percent annually through 2022. Out-of-home advertising continues to show steady growth and revenues in this sector are expected to grow from $9.65 billion in 2017 to $11.5 billion in 2022, with growth at a compound annual rate of 3.6 percent. Other areas of advertising that PwC predicts growth for include video game advertising, which is expected to nearly double from $58 million in 2018 to $111 million in 2022; cinema advertising, with nearly 3 percent annual growth predicted and revenue expected to increase between 2018 and 2022 from $920 million to $1.02 billion; and podcast advertising, which is the “fastest growth forecast of any medium covered in this article”: from 2017 through 2022, podcast advertising is projected to grow by more than 23 percent annually. Advertisers are expected to spend about $747 million on podcast advertising, nearly double the amount of advertising dollars spent in 2018.

All of these projections came into some question with a downward shift in global spending due to the coronavirus pandemic that fundamentally altered the course of the advertising industry in 2020. Many advertising firms paused their advertising spend and others adjusted their content to reflect solidarity in the time of the pandemic and reaffirm their clients’ core missions. Coronavirus spurred the advertising industry to seek new ways to forge bonds with consumers whose lives had changed dramatically due to pandemic restrictions and concerns.

The employment outlook in the advertising industry shows some growth in most sectors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 8 percent employment growth for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers through 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary depending upon the occupation and the industry sector. There were about 286,800 advertising, promotions, and marketing managers employed in the United States in 2018, and that number will grow to 308,600 by 2028. This growth is predicted due to media companies’ continued reliance on advertising revenue for profitability. The BLS predicts that digital media will account for much of the growth in advertising, and in particular digital ads that are made for cell phones, tablet-style computers, and online radio stations. Advertising and promotions managers will also be needed to work on digital media campaigns that are geared to customers through Web sites, social media, or live chats.

Employment of advertising sales agents is expected to decline by 2 percent through 2028, according to the BLS. There were 147,900 advertising sales agents employed in the United States in 2018; that number is expected to decline to 144,600 by 2028. The decline in newspaper print advertising and the growth of digital advertisements have reduced the need for advertising sales agents. Digital advertisements can be sold and placed through software applications and search engine programs. Advertising sales agents will have the best odds of finding work at Internet-focused companies. Competition for advertising sales agents jobs will be keen, and those with sales experience, a bachelor’s degree, and knowledge of digital advertising methods, including search engine optimiazation, will have an edge in the job market.

Art directors will experience little or no change in employment growth through 2028. In 2018, there were 101,000 art directors employed in the United States, and only about 800 new jobs will be added to the field by 2028. Approximately 12 percent of art directors are employed in advertising, public relations, and related services. While traditional print publications will have fewer jobs for art directors, Internet-based publications and digital magazines will have greater need for art directors to help design Web and mobile platforms and to oversee graphic designers and others involved in design and layout.

Job growth for graphic artists and designers will have slower-than-average employment growth (2 percent) through 2028. There were 290,610 graphic designers employed in the United Stated in 2018 and that number is expected to rise to 299,000 by 2028. About 8 percent of graphic designers work in advertising and related services. Companies will continue to need graphic designers’ services to help advertise and market their services. The best job opportunities are expected to be in computer systems design and related services, where 24 percent job growth is expected through 2028.

The BLS predicts that employment opportunities for writers and authors working in media and communications, including advertising copywriters, will show little or no change through 2028. Writers who are well versed in online and social media and comfortable working with a variety of digital and electronic tools will have better chances of landing jobs.