Digital has a special role to play in local advertising, especially as mobile has come into the picture and offered better opportunities for targeting consumers.
As such, according to BIA/Kelsey’s March 2013 forecast of US local media ad spending, the role of digital in the local ad market will continue to expand. BIA/Kelsey expects total local spending to reach $132.7 billion this year, essentially flat relative to 2012, when it was $132.5 billion. The composition of that spending will shift, however, as traditional spending declines from $109.4 billion to $107 billion in 2013 and digital spending increases from $23 billion to $25.7 billion.
BIA/Kelsey predicts local ad spending to resume growing in coming years, reaching $145.2 billion in 2016, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2012 and 2016 of 2.3%. Most of this growth is projected to come through additional ad spending on digital media. Local digital ad spending’s CAGR is predicted to be 12.6% in the same time period, while traditional media is set to decline slightly, with a CAGR of -0.3%.
Accordingly, digital’s share of local ad spending will increase throughout the decade. By 2016, more than one in every four local ad dollars will be spent on digital media. By 2017, local digital ad spending will reach $41.1 billion, accounting for 27.6% of the $148.8 billion US local ad market.
The BIA/Kelsey data indicates that local advertisers are transitioning to digital slightly more slowly than advertisers overall. In December 2012, eMarketer estimated that 24.6% of total US media ad spending will go toward digital by the end of this year—BIA/Kelsey estimated that digital will account for 19.4% of the local ad market at that time. This gap is expected to narrow over the course of the decade: By 2017, eMarketer projected that digital spending will account for 29.1% of US total media spending, while BIA/Kelsey expects the local market will be 27.6% digital by then.