Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Ruh-Roh: Q3 Ad Growth Barely Existed

Sorry to start a pre-Christmas week with some gloom, but here you go, anyway: More evidence of the ad slowdown nobody in the ad world is very eager to talk about. This report comes from Kantar Media, which says that Q3 ad-spending growth barely existed.

U.S. advertisers boosted their expenditures by a whopping 0.4 percent, Kantar says. And most of the really big spenders, like P&G and AT&T, cut their spends.

Not a huge shock, because that’s what we’ve been hearing for some time.

What is surprising is that Kantar believes that digital spending — which is supposed to keep growing even if old media falters — actually decreased over the quarter. And it attributes that decrease to a shocking 14.4 percent decrease in paid search. That doesn’t sync up with anything we’ve heard from Google, which continues to report the same huge numbers it always reports. Or from search marketers, who say the same.

I’ve asked Kantar for more detail on this, so I’ll follow up. Meantime, here’s the chart, along with the footnote Kantar attaches to its paid-search estimate: “5. Internet search figures reflect paid activity on Google and are compiled from monthly data on Top 20,000 subdomains.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik