By Daniel Hunter

2012 closed out on a positive note for the ad industry: globally, ad spend increased 3.2 percent year-over-year to $557 billion, according to Nielsen’s quarterly Global AdView Pulse report.

A strong third quarter, which saw growth of 4.3 percent, helped drive the annual uptick. Ad spend growth then receded to a more modest 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter.

All regions except Europe increased their ad spending in 2012. Deep cuts to ad budgets continued in Europe, fuelling a 5.3 percent decrease for the final quarter, yielding an annual decrease of 4.2 percent. Even economic powerhouse Germany reported a 1 percent dip in the fourth quarter, the second consecutive quarter the country reported a decline in advertising spend.

Despite reporting a 0.8 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, the UK experienced a 1.6 decline for the full year.

Ad spending in North America remained on an upward trajectory at the end of the year, climbing 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter. This helped the region report 4.6 percent growth for the full year.

The Asian-Pacific market underperformed as well, as its annual increase in ad spend fell from 11.5 percent in 2011 to a mere 2.8 percent in 2012, propelled in part by China’s very slight gain of 1.9 percent for the year.

The Middle East/African market showed impressive growth of 14.6 percent for the year as the region’s economy stabilized. Egypt was part of that turnaround, registering a 20.4 percent increase in spending.

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