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2018 Ad Spend Growth Speculations

Last week, I was inspired by Victor from our Product team (who wrote a great post last week about how to get the most out of a Las Vegas visit) to try to write a post that is more experimental than the content you will usually find here on The Weekly Retention.

Victor recently came across a few articles regarding ad spend growth which he shared with me:

  • NBC reported that the Indian (11.5% growth in 2016) and Russian market (9.6% projected growth) are projected to grow the most.
  • TechCrunch reported that digital ad spend worldwide grew by 23% within the first half of 2017.

I read both articles, and while they are interesting and the figures in them are always impressive (or else they wouldn’t be written about), I couldn’t help but feel like I always do when reading these types of articles – this isn’t really that interesting or actionable.

While I can see huge global advertisers use these stats when they make strategic decisions, it’s always about markets that are already huge, so there’s nothing really exciting about it.

Then I thought about what could actually be exciting in this context – what kind of stat can plausibly predict which markets are going to ‘blow up’ in 2018 and beyond and not just which huge market is going to grow the most in the near future.

While I’m no statistician (thank god), I think I found one stat that can help find emerging markets before they start to emerge.

Market Research

Allow me to take you back in time to 2015: when I was 17 (and with the hair to prove it), I walked into a shopping mall in Tel Aviv and this guy approached me and asked if I want to try out some gum.

At first, I stared at him and asked if he’s sure he isn’t mistaking me for one of his friends, but after further questioning he was able to explain that it’s a new gum that’s not available to the public yet and that they’re doing a survey, and that I’ll also get a gift for participating! That was the easiest sale of the day for that guy, as weird as he might have been.

It took 10 minutes, I got to try out some gum, and I got this cool, cool toy.

I remember asking my brother what was the point of giving me free gum and a toy for answering a bunch of weird taste preference questions, and since my brother had weird interests for his age, he knew all sorts of things about the market research industry and how big it is.

He helped me connect the dots – consumer products don’t usually just ‘happen’ to be manufactured and worldwide brands don’t just ‘spontaneously’ expand to a new country – first, they check if there’s fertile ground for them.

Market Research Spend as a Prediction Metric

If you think about it, even for just a minute, it’s easy to see why fluctuations in the amount of money spent on market research in a specific country (which then translates to the number of surveys conducted) might have some correlation with future ad spend in that country.

If more surveys are being conducted, it means that more products are going to go into circulation, and those products’ advertisers are going to have to spend a significant amount of capital in order to get exposure for their product and penetrate the market.

Luckily, helps most major market research providers find participants for surveys across the world, so we have some of those numbers.

I compared the number of surveys we’ve helped conduct in Q4 2016 to the number in Q4 2017 in all of the countries we help serve surveys to consumers in, and I found four countries that experienced incredible growth:

You didn’t see these coming, did you?

Now, these aren’t markets I’m used to seeing in these types of reports! I don’t know about you, but seeing such a significant increase in the amount of consumer surveys conducted in small countries like Belgium and Sweden or ones that aren’t usually discussed in the global news (in regards to advertising) like Colombia and Vietnam is very surprising, and might be a very early indicator to a possible entry of major global brands into them in 2018.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m no statistician and this is entirely speculation, but I believe we might see an uptick in the already increasing ad spend figures in these specific markets. I promise to follow up at the end of 2018 and see if these predictions are worth anything.

Here’s hoping your business grows by at least 248% in 2018.


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