Predicted Recovery for the 2021 Local Advertising Market

BY Kathy Crosett
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BIA Advisory Services analysts predict a healthy recovery for the 2021 local advertising market. This prediction is great news because the local advertising market wasn’t spared during the pandemic. Spending related to the national and local elections certainly kept the local ad market from a steep plunge, but many media companies struggled in 2020.

2021 Local Advertising Market

The latest forecast from BIA shows an anticipated $137.5 billion of local ad buying in 2021. That number represents a 2.5% increase over 2020 spending levels. By media format, here are the expected figures:

  • Direct Mail $31.2 billion (22.7% of local ad spending)
  • Mobile $23.4 billion (17%)
  • Online $23.3 billion (17%)
  • Local TV $15.7 billion (11.4%)
  • Local Radio $12.6 billion (9.2%)

Leisure and Recreation

As we start to recover from the pandemic, consumers will be eager to spend on experiences again. That means advertisers will be ready to court travelers. Suzanne Ackley BIA Senior Research Analyst, expects at least a 16.5% increase in local advertising in the leisure and recreation category. We can’t be sure exactly when authorities will allow facilities to reopen and when consumers will feel comfortable in facilities like amusement park. However, media sellers should already be talking to their accounts about 2021 advertising plans, especially those in the tourism and travel services, motion picture, and airport, cruises and other travel sectors.

Insurance and Financial

The pandemic revealed our general unpreparedness in a very abrupt way. Consumers who had been putting off buying insurance or providing for loved ones jumped into action in 2020. The finance and insurance vertical engaged in plenty of local market advertising last year. In 2020, BIA analysts expect to see a 10% jump in advertising as businesses target consumers who are ready to update their wills or develop the financial plan they need to ensure a comfortable retirement.

Real Estate

With COVID-​19 forcing a new understanding about what remote work means, consumers began looking for new places to live. Urban residents decamped to rural locations and using their new home bases as a place to work and to educate their children. The third fastest growing local media spending vertical in 2021 will likely be real estate. Look for an 8.7% increase in spending as realtors seek to help clients get settled into new residences.

The Outlook for Local TV

Marketers are ready to buy media space both on over-​the-​air (OTA) and online TV.  BIA analysts believe that the top three verticals for local TV media sellers to pursue next year include:

  • Automotive $3.4 billion
  • Retail $1.5 billion
  • General services (includes home improvement and legal) $1.5 billion

The optimism about the automotive vertical is particularly interesting. After initial fears spread about the auto market crashing because of the pandemic, sales improved in Q3 and Q4. The final numbers for 2020 will likely show about a 15% drop from 2019. Consumers continued to show interested in SUVs and pickup trucks last year. In addition, consumers who continue to be employed ponied up for premium brands as they bought new cars. Media sales reps can help dealers generate continued interest in buy new vehicles by targeting the right consumers with the right advertising formats. Get the information you need to put together a winning proposals by checking out the automotive intelligence reports at AdMall by SalesFuel.