Lest you think the recession is still pounding on the advertising business, let me report some good news. Zenith Optimedia, owned by the Publicis advertising agency holding company, predicts that U.S. ad spending will increase 3.6% this year, to $159.6 billion.
That's a lot of commercials, and a lot of jobs. Unfortunately, it's less magazine ads. Magazine ad pages fell 8.2% in the first quarter of this year. Automotive and food advertisers have cut back, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. The big losers include Martha Stewart Living, Men's Fitness, and O, the Oprah magazine. A lot of the ad money for magazines has shifted to digital media.
Cable and network television are doing just fine. Business was up in the first quarter. CBS chief Les Moonves said that his company was seeing strong demand from pharmaceutical and auto companies.
The upshot? Advertising is growing at a healthy clip. Money is shifting to television and online --- and people are watching more television programs online. In other words, convergence continues.
Advertisers are still in love with digital because of the low cost, and the possibility of personalizing their messages. Companies that are doing it right are seeing results. At the same time, Advertising Age reports that some 31% of all social media ads go unseen by anybody.
I'm not sure it's different than when any new medium becomes available. In the early days of television, some shows were so popular that the New York Water Department invented a TV rating system of their own, the "flush rate". Whenever commercials came on, people ran to the bathroom.
My advice to anyone in advertising? Go with the flow. Learn everything. Find new ways to be creative online as well as on television. And with less ads in magazines, your chance of standing out in print is even better.