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Mobile Advertising Expected to Surpass Direct Mail for the First Time, in BIA’s 2022 U.S. Local Advertising Forecast; As Economy Grows and Overall Spending Reaches $161.5B

Oct 13, 2021

Chantilly, VA (October 13, 2021) – BIA Advisory Services forecasts that for the first-time mobile advertising spending will surpass direct mail as the top media advertising platform in 2022. As revealed in BIA’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2022, the overall local U.S. advertising market is expected to reach $161.5 billion – a 10.1 percent YoY growth – buoyed by overall strong economic tailwinds coming out of 2021. The forecast says that traditional media revenue will account for $84.6 billion and digital media will be close behind at $76.8. BIA also anticipates $7.5 billion of the sum will come from political advertising during a strong election season.

2022-US-Ad-Forecast“For a long time, we’ve been talking about direct mail as the king of the share of wallet in local ad spending,” said Rick Ducey, managing director of BIA Advisory Services. “This coming year, for the first time, we pass the crown over to mobile, as its momentum drives it to be the biggest overall piece of the spending wallet – and we expect that to continue in the foreseeable future.”

BIA puts mobile spending at 21 percent of the 2022 forecast and direct mail at 20.7 percent, but the gap between the two will continue to widen.

2022-TopMediaOverall, digital ad spending will reach $76.8 billion, with Google and Facebook controlling over half of the spending. Google takes the lion’s share at $26.8 billion, compared with Facebook’s $14.3 billion.

Ducey points to four reasons mobile has become the number one advertising medium: (1) COVID’s impact on consumer’s increased time spent with mobile and other digital media making digital the place to find and target consumers; (2) digital’s overall momentum in winning more revenue share of media time from traditional media; (3) the rise of virtual consumer channels like delivery, curbside pickup and ecommerce in top categories like retail, restaurants, CPG where physical channels like retail store visits decline; and (4) greater consumer acceptance and use of virtual and ecommerce channels.

Traditional Media

Mark Fratrik, senior vice president and chief economist at BIA, says, that the firm’s U.S. Local Advertising forecast also sees a rise in local radio advertising revenue in 2022 and is expected to generate $12.7 billion split between over-the-air ($11.0 billion) and digital ($1.7 billion). By 2026 radio digital revenues are expected to reach $2.4 billion, while OTA goes up and down with the even political years and ends at $11.7 in 2026.

“Radio isn’t faring as well as local broadcast TV, and it doesn’t get the same bump as TV in political years,” said Fratrik. “But it is getting close to its pre-pandemic levels as people continue to return to work commutes and traveling by car.”

“I like to refer to our data on local television as our ‘piano key graphs,’ because during even political years it is very apparent that the advertising revenue will rise and then dip the following year.”

As reported in late September, BIA forecasts local television in 2022 will rise to $19.3 billion in OTA advertising, and $1.7 billion in digital; a sign of a strong $21 billion industry that delivers its audience for political campaigners.

U.S. Local Ad Forecast Report

BIA’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast Report provides a nationwide overview of U.S. spending. BIA updates it throughout the year to reflect current economic situations and to adjust ad spend across top media and business verticals. The forecast covers all media, offering a comprehensive and authoritative view of all “local” advertising spent by national and regional companies, as well as small and medium-sized businesses. The forecast can be purchased here.  Clients can log into BIA ADVantage to view the full forecast report and view their local advertising market forecast by media and verticals.

About BIA Advisory Services

BIA Advisory Services is the leading authority for data-centered insights, analysis, strategic consulting, and valuation services for the local media industry. Since 1983, BIA has been a valuable resource for traditional and digital media companies, brands and agencies, the financial and legal community serving media and telecom, as well as the FCC and other government agencies. Today, we offer comprehensive local market advertising intelligence in our BIA ADVantageTM service to help clients discover the path to their best opportunities. Learn more about our offerings at

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