After a strong finish to 2011, global ad spending continued to rise in the first quarter of 2012: up 3.1 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Nielsen.
The ad-tracker's quarterly Global AdView Pulse reports double-digit increases in the Middle East and Africa — the red bar on the chart above — while North America and Asia Pacific saw modest gains of 2.1 and 1.7% respectively.
The overall global ad spend in Q1 2012 was $128 billion USD, up 4.5 percent over the year-ago quarter. Ad spending in the Middle East and Africa increased by 23.3% as advertisers leveraged stabilizing economies and new markets such as Egypt, which saw a 67% increase in Q1 in the wake of last year's Arab Spring.
Europe was the sole region to see a decrease in ad spend, with only 1.4% growth in markets like Greece and Spain, due to the continent's economic crisis, but France, Germany and Switzerland attracted more ad dollars than last year.
One way those marketers who are investing in campaigns can make their efforts stand out? James Russo, Nielsen's VP of Global Consumer Insights, says that in tough times, funny beats frugal.
Nielsen conducted an in-depth study of advertising effectiveness of more than 4,000 ads before, during and after the “Great Recession.” The conclusion: “Humorous ads have consistently resonated best with viewers, regardless of the economy or year. During the recession, there was a notable lift in effectiveness of sentimental and value-oriented ads. Ads focused on product features and promotion/price do not resonate with viewers ... even during tough economic times. The performance of narrative and sentimental ads has improved since 2006.”
With global consumer spending projected to exceed $450 trillion over the next decade, and continuing tough economic realities, ad effectiveness is tied to consumer confidence more than ever before.
“The global recession shook consumer confidence. Economic cycles can now help predict ad effectiveness and consumer responsiveness to various creative strategies,” notes Russo. “Look for the rise of the global middle class, urbanization, the new female economy and a notable shift in advertising spending to all be engines for change and the future growth of consumer spending.”