Talk of recovery is in the air these days, and the latest ad forecast from Magna’s Brian Wieser arrives as further confirmation that things are looking up. Still, the 1.6 gain in total U.S. ad spending is nothing to get too excited about, the but slight revision upward suggests that barring some new economic calamity, 2010 means a stronger year for most major media than the previous one. As Wieser notes in his report, online ads will once again prove to be the fastest growing medium this year. Magna is calling for a 12.8 percent growth in
online ad dollars, most of which is driven by 16.8 percent growth in paid search.

In general, Magna finds more and more marketers finding themselves more at ease with digital ads. But that ease is only going to go so far this year. While mobile products like Apple’s iPad have attracted a great deal of excitement, mobile advertising is likely to remain limited compared to the rest of the wider ad marketplace.

But over time, things do look pretty bright for digital, thanks to rising internet penetration. With roughly 80 percent of the population expected to be identified as a “web user” by 2015, the rising base of consumers should support sustained growth of 10.7 percent
for online each year through that time. At that point, online advertising in the U.S. should generate $42.7 billion in total revenues, or 21.9 percent of total industry activity, Magna forecasts.

By David Kaplan

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