Some 70.2% of the region's internet users will use social media this year, according to eMarketer projections. But that group will represent just 11% of the MEA's entire population. eMarketer estimates that media ad spending in the Middle East & Africa will reach $17.8bn in 2012and approach $23bn in 2016. Ad spending per person in the region remains low in comparison with global standards, leaving ample room for media budget growth.
Some other key findings include:
• China is set to become the world's second-largest advertising market in 2013, and the second-largest digital advertising market the following year, behind the US. As a result, Asia-Pacific is expected to surpass North America in total ad spending in 2014, thanks to extraordinary growth rates in internet and mobile internet usage, as well as rapid growth in digital advertising spending.
• Globally, spending on advertising will rise from $538.75bn in 2012 to $676.17bn in 2016, as the advertising industry has proved quietly resilient despite ongoing economic hurdles worldwide.
• Much of the growth is coming from Asia-Pacific, where, eMarketer estimates, more than 1 billion people will use the web at least once per month in 2012—nearly 47% of the global total. By 2016, this audience will number almost 1.4 billion. Asia-Pacific will be home to some 2.15 billion mobile phone users this year. In China alone, the mobile consumer base will top 1 billion in 2014.
• Asia-Pacific is currently the global leader in mobile advertising, with projected mobile ad spending of $2.56bn this year. But North America is fast becoming the world's leading hotspot, expanding twice as fast as Asia-Pacific. During the next four years, global spending on mobile ads will leap from $6.6bn to $25.3bn.
• The UK has long been a cutting-edge market for online advertising and marketing. ZenithOptimedia indicated that spending on internet ads surpassed TV ad spending in 2011, to become the leading category; this gap will widen despite a modest revival in TV spending between 2012 and 2016. eMarketer estimates that digital ad spending will represent 35.7% of the entire UK ad market in 2012 and continue to gain share throughout the forecast period. By 2016, digital platforms are expected to account for a hefty 44% of all ad spending.
• Economically, Latin America has shone brightly. But media spending in the region is small compared to more mature regions, though growing fast. Ad spending in Latin America topped $30bn in 2011, eMarketer estimates, and will reach nearly $35bn in 2012, a rise of 12%.
• Eastern Europe has suffered from the financial turmoil afflicting many of its neighbors to the west. The resulting slowdown has come at a bad time for the advertising sector—and for digital advertising in particular, which arguably hasn't yet achieved critical mass in several countries.
According to eMarketer president Lisa Church, the latest edition of the report "is the most comprehensive Global Media Intelligence report eMarketer has ever produced."
The "2012 Global Media Intelligence" (GMI) report has more than 270 pages, with nearly 700 charts covering media trends in six major regions worldwide—Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, North America, and Western Europe—and provides snapshots of 40 countries identified as core markets. The latest edition contains dedicated coverage for seven more markets than the 2011 edition, as well as forecasts on media usage and advertising spending for 17 additional markets.
"It is wonderful to continue our collaboration with eMarketer to provide deeper insights on more markets to our clients, and help them allocate their media dollars more effectively globally, across all channels," said Kate Sirkin, executive vice president of research at Starcom MediaVest Group.
SMG helped identify and gather data for local and core global markets included in the report.
The Global Media Intelligence report is typically eMarketer's most popular report annually. After seeing record interest among marketers for both the 2010 and 2011 Global Media Intelligence reports, eMarketer expects the new report will be its most popular report ever, as many eMarketer and SMG clients are currently in the process of finalizing media strategies for 2013.
"Demand for information about media trends in emerging global markets is at an all-time high," said Church. "It's gratifying that eMarketer and SMG have been able to work together again to meet the growing needs of our clients."
eMarketer has expanded its global coverage significantly in the past year—doubling both the number of forecasts it produces annually and the size of its research team. The company opened a subsidiary in the UK earlier this year.