2012 Local Advertising Revenue Projections Scaled Back to "Cautiously Optimistic"

Local advertising sales managers and media reps are still optimistic, but slightly less so than they were at the start of the year, according to the 2012 Mid-​Year Local Ad Sales Forecast by AdMall.

Going into the year, 88.2% of sales managers and 90.3% of account executives expected 2012 revenue gains over 2011. In this just-​released survey, those projections have been downgraded to 82.6% of managers and 81.8% of sales reps. However, both groups believe holiday marketing, political spending and advertising associated with the Olympics will help boost revenue in the second half of 2012.LASF Chart

Overcoming advertiser churn is becoming a bigger concern as one in three media sales managers say that replacing lost revenue is harder than it was six months ago.

Many media companies may need to reconsider their go-​to-​market strategy to focus more on retention and growth of existing accounts,” says C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of AdMall. “Even the strongest of new account acquisition efforts are no longer sufficient to overcome revenue losses at many media properties.”

The AdMall survey reveals important insights advertising sales managers have for the remainder of 2012:

  • Political, automotive and heath care are regarded as the three hottest categories for revenue growth
  • Real estate and recruitment are still expected to see declines in local advertising
  • 47.6% report that ad spending for the first half of 2012 is flat or down compared to the first half of 2011
  • 56.3% of sales managers say that it is more difficult to find high-​quality account executives today than it was at the beginning of the year
  • More than two-​thirds of traditional sales teams in the U.S. are selling some form of digital advertising, and those sales efforts are on the rise

The number of media sales teams that sell mobile marketing – which includes display ads, apps and texts – is up considerably. In just six months, there has been a 40.6% rise in the number of organizations that sell mobile advertising.

Nearly one in three sales managers say that selling online or digital advertising is easier than it was at the beginning of the year, so these sales efforts will likely continue to surge. In fact, the only form of digital advertising sales that has decreased since the end of 2011 is Daily Deals.

This may signal that the rush to compete with – or protect revenue from – firms like Groupon and LivingSocial has peaked,” Smith says.

One of the biggest challenges for media salespeople is finding the time to actually sell. Nine in ten – 89.4% – say that since the start of the year, it hasn’t gotten any easier to find time to make sales calls. Nearly the same percentage – 91.6% – say that dealing with internal processes is as hard, or harder, than it was when the year started.

Nearly 35% of advertising account executives do not believe their current CRM systems are an efficient use of their selling time. More than one in four are dissatisfied with their CRM’s effectiveness to help them retain existing accounts.


The AdMall Local Advertising Sales Forecast was conducted July 11–24, 2012. The sample size for this survey was 1,717 AdMall subscribers across the United States, including 337 advertising sales managers, 1,081 account executives, and 299 marketing/​research personnel.


AdMall® is the most powerful consultative sales intelligence database available for local and digital advertising. It turns media sales professionals into the kind of consultative sellers that advertisers want.

AdMall offers media sales professionals 10 types of local advertising intelligence, including Local Account Intelligence Reports for more than 450 business types, Automotive Account reports featuring Polk research, co-​op advertising plans, and our exclusive Diagnosis Call™ needs analysis. AdMall also offers media reps specific audience targeting, the ability to prospect by month, and the ability to spot industry trends and spending.

More than 2,000 media properties nationwide arm their sales staffs with AdMall including: Television, cable, newspaper, interactive, direct response, out-​of-​home, radio, cinema, local search, and magazine. Additional information on AdMall and a free trial for qualified media companies can be found at AdMall​.com.


Sales Development Services (SDS), Inc. — a Westerville, Ohio firm founded in 1989 — is the parent company for AdMall. SDS also provides Ad-​ology Research, the Media Sales Basics training program, and the Media Sales Today daily advertising sales blog. AdMall and Ad-​ology are registered trademarks of Sales Development Services, Inc. Sell Smarter and Diagnosis Call are also trademarks of SDS.