Winterberry Group

Strategic marketing consultancy the Winterberry Group's just-released annual outlook for overall U.S. ad and marketing spending sees a 10.4% boost in 2024, pushing total spend to $570 billion – a growth rate nearly three times faster than the gross domestic product.

Driving the predicted growth is an estimated $17 billion in political ad spending, and double-digit gains across most digital media, with spending on data, data services and data infrastructure expected to hit $36 billion, up 13.9% from last year.

Winterberry's forecast shows digital channels accounting for 64% of total spend – with search expected to climb 12.4% to $120.9 billion, and social up 12.7% to $77.9 billion – while the hottest categories include CTV (+30.4%, to $33.1 billion), video (+16.6%, to $30.5 billion), and influencer marketing (+14.3%, to $7.2 billion).

According to Winterberry, online spending will see a 14.9% rise to an estimated $368.8 billion, while political and major event advertising should push offline up 4.1% to $203.1 billion, reversing the downtrend of 2023. Direct mail, which was down 9.8% last year, is predicted to rebound with a 1.5% increase this year.

“Retail media networks – with impact on display, search and social – are expanding to become ‘commerce media networks,’ where platforms with significant first-party data are leveraged to support targeted, measurable business objectives,” Winterberry Group Senior Managing Partner Bruce Biegel says. “Underpinning this growth is the need for a fast data infrastructure – the data layer – that enables the application of AI-led intelligence for both the buy side and sell side.”

The report also spotlights business drivers and trends, including macroeconomic influences such as interest rates and unemployment, and advertising-specific concerns such as the loss of third-party cookies as reliable household and individual identifiers for advertising, and their attempted replacement by a variety of technologies and techniques.