Brian Wieser of Madison and Wall Raises His Forecast for Ad Growth and Offers an Interesting Perspective
5 mins read

Brian Wieser of Madison and Wall Raises His Forecast for Ad Growth and Offers an Interesting Perspective

Few can boast of a professional life that includes investment banker, equity research analyst, long-time agency executive, and developer of two of the global advertising industry’s most widely relied upon data sets.  Brian Wieser has devoted much of his career to understanding trends in media spending, its overall effect on advertising budgets, and what this means not only to marketers but to investors.

His strategic advisory firm, Madison and Wall, is just over one year old, and Brian is raising his expectations for the U.S. advertising industry in 2024 by forecasting 5.6% ad growth

While he acknowledges that many marketers and corporate CFOs express concerns about geopolitical issues and their contribution to economic uncertainty, this is not preventing them from spending on advertising.

Brian Wieser states, “The objective reality is that economic conditions are good. It is also true that people do feel terrible about it.” He adds, “What people feel is not what they are doing.” He expands on this dichotomy by quoting David Ogilvy: “People don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think, and they don’t do what they say.”

He anticipates an upside in ad spending as far out as 2028.

Many believe economic conditions correlate with increases or decreases in advertising expenditure. However, Brian noticed a “decoupling” of ad spending and the economy beginning around 2010. While he admits that a positive economy can help advertising, it is not the only factor determining ad growth.

Cross-Border Advertising is a case in point.

There is a significant volume of incremental spending flowing into the United States and other countries from consumer goods manufacturers based in China and Vietnam, for example. Given the weakness in demand at home, these companies are spending across borders on digital advertising to reach consumers in other markets.

Brian estimates this cross-border spending could account for between 5-10% of all advertising in the United States now. He acknowledges a “double-edged sword” of opportunity and risk associated with this, especially in regard to relations with the world’s two largest economic powers. Chinese export market could either help or hurt the ad market in 2024 and beyond.

An Underappreciated Factor…

Brian Wieser admits that he initially underappreciated the value of eCommerce advertisers, who spend roughly four times more than average non-eCommerce retail advertisers. As the percentage of eCommerce activity increases from 15% to 20% to 30% of retail activity, overall advertising spending will receive a meaningful boost.

To learn more about Brian Wieser’s forecast for Ad Growth and the thinking behind his projections, watch the video interview on Internationalist Marketing TV (IMTV) on YouTube by CLICKING HERE.

In our conversation, we discucss the following:

  • Why he’s revising his forecast upwards despite some lingering uncertainty by marketers about the state of the economy, especially in terms of high-interest rates and increased costs of consumer goods?
  • Are forecasts for ex-US marketers as robust?
  • In a year of elections in nearly 60 countries worldwide, how is political ad spending affecting projections?
  • What is the risk-opportunity factor or “double-edged sword” that could influence these projections?
  • Discuss why personal consumption expenditures correlate more strongly with advertising than GDP.
  • How are media-specific forecasts changing? Are some media sectors expanding or declining faster than you originally anticipated?
  • Could advertising continue to grow at an annual rate of 4-5% through 2028?

Listen to Brian Wieser discuss his forecast for Ad Growth and the thinking behind his projections,, and to The Internationalist’s entire Trendsetters podcast series here on iHeartRadio’s Spreaker or wherever you download your podcasts.

Finally, looking at political advertising, Brian is reducing expectations somewhat given data he has seen so far (2023) was only up by 3% vs. 2021, and paired with only modest gains in candidate fund-raising vs. prior cycles, he is assuming that we will only see a relatively modest gain in spending on advertising this year.    For now, Brian is anticipating $15.5 billion in political advertising across all media in 2024, which compares with $14.1 billion in 2020.

A high-profile analyst of the marketing and media industries, Brian Wieser started Madison and Wall in early 2023.  His most recent role was at WPP media-agency conglomerate GroupM as Global President of Business Intelligence, which began in February 2019. Prior to GroupM, Brian served as a senior analyst at Pivotal Research Group.  Earlier roles included Executive Vice President and Global Director of Forecasting for Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Magna Global and an investment banker at Lehman Brothers.

Brian Wieser, CFA, says… “I am, at heart, an analyst.  But not an ‘industry analyst’ nor purely a ‘financial analyst.’   I’m more strategically oriented than most people who have worked on Wall Street and more conscious of capital markets issues and investor thinking than most who focus on strategy.