Analysts’ Consensus: 2009 Online Ad Spend Will Grow 3.94 Percent

The forecasts are in – so, with a quarter of the year gone, how is the UK’s digital economy faring? And what do experts expect to happen in the rest of 2009? We ran off the mean average from four key ’09 UK online ad forecasts. The result – a modest 3.94 percent rise

Three years ago, UK online ad spend was growing by 30 or even 40 percent a year. There have even been some steep downward revisions of initial 2009 forecasts that were themselves relatively downbeat – suggesting that the ad industry was either taken by surprise by the falling economy or was guilty of a little over-optimism. Here’s our recap of what influential industry voices and key companies have been predicting…

Association of Online Publishers: The annual survey of AOP members found on average digital publishers expect a 16 percent rise in online ad spend this year — compared with their prediction of a 31 percent rise in 2008. Long gone are the days of 60 percent growth, which AOP members reported for 2006.

eMarketer: In its own combination of ad spend forecasts, eMarketer said in December it expects a 7.2 percent rise in UK online advertising — taking the total spend for 2009 to £3.58 billion.

Enders Analysis: Claire Enders and co. expect a 2.1 percent rise in online ad spend this year.

Forrester: This isn’t specific to the UK, it’s Europe-wide and is heavily boosted by Russia’s relative digital boom; but Nate Elliot of Forrester predicts a 10 percent rise in online ad revenue in 2009.

Group M: The WPP-owned agency forecasts a 11 percent drop in all-media ad spend this year, including online. That’s a downward revision on its prediction of a four percent drop in December and a massive reduction in its earlier forecast of a 20 percent lift in ad spend for 2009.

ZenithOptimedia: Publicis Groupe’s shop predicts only a 2.3 percent online ad revenue increase this year — after in December reckoning on an 18 percent. Zenith expects a 5.9 percent increase in 2010 and a 12.9 percent lift in 2011.

Those aren’t attractive numbers for a previously gung-ho digital economy but the prevailing consensus is that while 2008 was bad and 2009 will be worse, 2010 should start to see some recovery and a return to something like pre-credit crunch advertising levels.

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