Matrix Solutions Publishes its 2018 Midyear Ad Spend Report, Unveiling New Ad Spend Figures by Platform and Industry

Posted on by Team Matrix

Advertising Trends, ad spend report

With or Without Politics, Advertising Spend in Broadcast Declines while Growth in Radio Remains Flat in Midyear Update, Digital Broadcast Surges

PITTSBURGH—July 31, 2018—At the close of the second fiscal quarter in the U.S. and in the ramp up to the 2018 Midterm Elections, a new report shows that the U.S. witnessed a .35 percent year-over-year contraction across broadcast, digital broadcast and radio platforms—demonstrating flat growth.

Midyear-ad-spend-reportThis figure comes despite the emergence of political advertising spend in primary Democrat and Republican elections, which has seen a 264 percent growth rate. When excluding political ad spend from the findings, broadcast, digital broadcast and radio witnessed an overall 4.90 percent contraction compared to last year at the same time.

The findings come from Matrix Solutions2018 Midyear Ad Spend Report, a comprehensive update on the state of the advertising spend ecosystem providing insights derived from the activity of more than 10,000 active users within media ad sales teams from January 2018 to June 2018.

“According to our data, overall ad spend throughout the year, to date, has remained relatively flat when including the buoyancy that always comes from political campaigns, and without there’s a clear contraction. It’s a trend that’s continued from the findings of our 2017 Ad Spend Report, which means for these traditional platforms, they need to better arm themselves to grab a larger slice of the overall advertising spend pie to remain competitive,” said Mark Gorman, CEO at Matrix Solutions. “The advertising industry is in constant flux, and understanding these trends can help media ad sales teams better anticipate how brands are investing in traditional media platforms to inform their own strategies and priorities.”

Advertising Spend by Platform


  • When excluding political ad spend, overall media ad sales in broadcast experienced a contraction rate of 5.86 percent and remains mostly flat with a slight contraction rate of .83 percent when including political ad spend
  • Key industries of growth in broadcast include Services (4.98 percent), Travel & Leisure (2.56 percent) and Financial Services (2.26 percent)
  • Notable areas of decline in broadcast include Grocery & Food Items (21.54 percent contraction rate), Restaurants (19.68 percent contraction rate), Automotive & Auto-related (12.51 percent contraction rate) and Health & Beauty (11.77 percent contraction rate)

Digital Broadcast

  • Digital Broadcast is booming—media ad sales grew across nearly every category at an average rate of 13.21 percent when including political ad spend, and at 13.03 percent when excluding political
  • Key industries of growth include Financial Services (23.09 percent), Services (20.71 percent), Home Improvement (16.03 percent), Entertainment (24.01 percent) and Medical (10.46 percent)
  • Notable areas in decline include Trade Organizations (19.10 percent contraction rate) and Automotive & Auto-related (2.12 percent contraction rate)


  • Radio’s growth is flat in comparison to last year, with a slight contraction of .38 percent when excluding political ad spend. When factoring political, that figure slightly jumps but growth remains flat at .06 percent.
  • Key industries of growth include Services (21.05 percent), Retail (19.31 percent) and Financial Services (17.49 percent)
  • Most significant declines are in Travel & Leisure (37.27 percent contraction rate), Health & Beauty (31.64 percent contraction rate), Automotive & Auto-related (22.5 percent contraction rate) and Entertainment (16.82 percent contraction rate)

Advertising Spend by Industry

When looking at ad spend figures from specific industries, the following categories were key areas of growth across broadcast, digital broadcast and radio:

  • Services (6.62 percent growth)
  • Financial Services (5.16 percent growth)
  • Home Improvement (.54 percent growth)

In the same vein, the following categories were in decline across the three platforms in the U.S.:

  • Automotive & Auto-related (27.15 percent contraction)
  • Grocery & Food (19.49 percent contraction)
  • Restaurants (18.53 percent contraction)

Both the Restaurants and Automotive & Auto-related sector have continued to see a decline in advertising spend among traditional media platforms, continuing a trend unearthed in Matrix’s 2017 Ad Spend Report which found that Restaurants had a contraction rate of 5.87 percent and Automotive & Auto-related with a contraction rate of 9.98.

National vs. Local Spending

Even when factoring in political ad spend, local advertising is down with a 2.89 percent contraction rate, but national ad spend is surging with a growth rate of 4.69 percent. When excluding political ad spend, local continues to be down at a 3.25 percent contraction rate, with national at a contraction rate of .77 percent, demonstrating flat growth at a national level without a political factor.


Matrix Solutions looked at $11 billion worth of media ad sales deals to see which categories and platforms were most popular across the media ad sales industry in the United States – normalizing each category across more than 10,000 unique active users in broadcast, digital broadcast and radio. Data was captured from January 2018 to June 2018.

Click here to view the full report.

About Matrix Solutions

Matrix Solutions makes media happen by helping media companies to better monetize their content. Its flagship product, Monarch, is the only global ad sales platform built for media – transforming chaotic data into actionable sales information that delivers the insights necessary for prospecting, managing, evaluating and closing business.

The company manages more than $13 billion in media ad revenue, offering its best-in-class analytics, sales intelligence, media-specific CRM and sales tools to more than 10,000 media sellers to more efficiently manage their workflow.

For more information, please visit

Tags: Advertising Trends, ad spend report

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts