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Don’t Talk Yourself Into A Downturn In 2024

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Brian Wieser, principal, Madison and Wall

Ad revenue in the US is set to grow in 2024. So pour one out for 2023 – and try not to make the same mistake as last year.

Despite a more-than-decent ad market in 2023, media executives nearly manifested a recession out of fear that one was coming, according to professional advertising prognosticator Brian Wieser, speaking on this week’s episode of AdExchanger Talks, the first of the new year.

Negative perception became reality.

CEOs and chief revenue officers at media and tech companies spent earnings call after earnings call in 2023 moaning about how weak the economy was. They reiterated the point during interviews with journalists and declared it onstage at events.

“But the third quarter, on my estimates, in the US grew by 8% – eight percent!” says Wieser, who left GroupM as its global president of business intelligence early last year to launch strategic advisory firm Madison and Wall.

So why were ad executives and economists so gloomy?

“Most people aren’t lying. … I think they genuinely believe it,” Wieser says. “A general thing I’ve noticed is that people and companies are quick to credit themselves when things go well and they’re quick to blame others or external factors when things go bad.”

But unfortunate human tendencies aside, will the US ad market be healthy this year?

Wieser gives 2024 an early 👍.

Although the relative highs of 2023 will be hard to repeat, he predicts the US ad industry will grow by roughly 5% (minus political spending) and 9% with political spend.

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Nothing like a US presidential election to trigger a bonanza of ad spending!

Also in this episode: What it feels like to be the “most-quoted man in advertising,” ad dollars pouring in from China, defending the agency holding company model, why the open web’s future is not bright, how David Bowie influenced Wieser’s career choices and a trip down memory lane into Wieser’s formative years in the ’90s at CiTR 101.9 FM, the student radio station of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

For more articles featuring Brian Wieser, click here.

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