Earlier this month, we published the first results of the annual ‘Media Budgets Survey’ Ebiquity runs in partnership with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). Despite the geopolitical and economic doom and gloom that has dominated media headlines for much of the past year, the world’s top advertisers expressed a more bullish and optimistic outlook for their 2024 media investment plans. 

A total of 92 advertisers participated in our survey, including 4 of the top 10 global advertisers and 16 of the top 50. With a combined advertising spend exceeding $50 billion, the average spend per participating brand stands at $700 million. 

Increased Spending and Focus on Branding 

Overall, the Survey identified that 60% of advertisers plan to increase their total media budgets in 2024, more than double the number who planned to do so this time last year. The markets set to reap the biggest increase are APAC (56% up), and while there is more caution about increased spend in EMEA (51%), in all markets this is considerably higher than 2023. 

When asked about the balance between long-term brand building versus short-term performance media, 35% of our respondents said they would increase the proportion of their budgets in branding compared with just 21% in performance. What’s more, 23% indicated they will increase their share of flexible or biddable buys in 2024, compared with just 16% that will increase share of upfront commitments. 

Changing channel mixes 

Investment in legacy media channels is set to continue to fall, with 64% of our sample saying they’ll implement a slight or significant decrease in print spend and 54% saying the same about linear TV. Advertising investment strategy is clearly tracking consumer behaviour, with the biggest growth predicted in Advanced / Connected TV (85% saying they will have a slight or significant increase), digital video (83% increasing spend), and digital out of home (65%). Paid social, digital audio, and retail media are likely to be the other big winners. 

Despite the optimistic buying signals in our survey, 74% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their 2024 media budget decisions are influenced by the global economic climate. This figure remains stubbornly unmoved from last year. 

ESG increasingly driving investment decisions 

90% of our sample regularly review brand safety settings and inclusion/exclusion lists. Seven in ten support diverse voices and media owners, with a further quarter of respondents planning to start doing this in 2024. Other environmental, social, and governance issues shaping spend are quickly catching up, with increasing interest and focus on avoiding Made For Advertising sites and measuring and reducing CO2 emissions from media activity. The age of ESG has moved beyond lipservice and is now actively shaping media investment decisions. 


With a majority of leading brands planning increased ad investment in 2024, strategically focusing on long-term brand building, our survey suggests a confidence level seemingly at odds with the prevailing economic outlook. As ad spend typically precedes economic trends, a potential recovery in mid-2024 may be on the horizon. 


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