Here you can find information relating to the methodologies used for the three core types of data in WARC's Data section. Answers to more general queries are provided in the Data FAQs.
WARC has conducted an annual survey of global advertising expenditure since 1980, issuing questionnaires to monitoring organisations and/or industry bodies in each of the 96 markets included in WARC’s Adspend Database. A full list of WARC’s partners in this area can be found here.
The survey covers TV, internet, mobile, newspapers, magazines, radio, cinema and out of home adspend, though coverage varies by market. A full list of the media covered in each market is available here.
Advertising expenditure data are compiled by WARC’s partners using differing methodologies. For example, the French statistics are derived from a survey of advertisers; the UK data are collected via media survey, and the German data from advertising agencies. Many other countries use data compiled by monitoring organisations which use volume estimates multiplied by rate card values to derive expenditure estimates.
How advertising expenditure data are harmonised
Where possible, WARC publishes harmonised data (net of discounts, including press classified adspend and agency commission but excluding production costs) to give a more accurate, comparable picture of each country's ad market. The table below shows the markets for which advertising spend figures have been harmonised.
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Pan Arab
- Slovak Republic
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
The money spent by advertisers, across display, classified and search formats, can be split into five component parts:
- Tax: Not levied in every country covered by WARC’s global survey of advertising investment. Where it is applied, it is not always on the same part of the advertising industry.
- Production costs: The costs of producing the advertisement.
- Income to media: The money media owners charge for their advertising space or time.
- Agency commission: The advertisers’ payment to their advertising or media agency. This may be a fixed commission (i.e. a percentage of the total budget), a flat fee or some other form of remuneration.
- Rate card discounts: The amount of money that advertisers or agencies negotiate off the official price. The level of discounting varies from country to country and medium to medium.
Adspend data collection methods vary widely among WARC’s partners. However, all data can be split into the component parts listed above. These components can be used to produce data that are comparable across countries. Many countries supply data that fit WARC’s definition of advertising expenditure (that the data are net of discounts, including press classified adspend and agency commission but excluding production costs), but when data do not fit, they are harmonised.
Fig. 2 shows the harmonisation process. In this example, the raw adspend data include agency commission, income to media and production costs. Press classified is included but no separate figures are given and the data are based on card rates (i.e. they exclude any discounts). In order to make the data comparable, estimates from the source organisations are applied to produce a figure that includes and gives values to agency commission, media costs, press classified and production costs, and excludes discounts. From this total figure, the relevant components are taken to produce final, harmonised, comparable figures that conform to the WARC’s definition of advertising expenditure.
Internet advertising expenditure
The vast majority of internet advertising spend data are provided by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). These data already conform to WARC’s definitions and require no harmonisation prior to publication.
IAB data are split into three primary formats: search, display and online classified, and are defined in the following ways:
Search: advertising appearing on specific word requests on search engines, excluding SEO (fees paid to a 3rd party to improve website ranking in search engines).
Online classified: a fee paid by an advertiser to place an ad or listing around a specific vertical such as automotive, recruiting and real estate, regardless of the outcome of the ad (i.e., the fee is paid even if there is no ‘sale’)
Display: banners, buttons, skyscrapers, overlays, interstitials, and pop ups displayed on a website.
WARC also classifies online video as a display format, per IAB definitions. Online video advertising can be defined in numerous ways, though principally, these are:
- in-stream video advertising (pre-rolls, mid-rolls, post-rolls)
- in-stream banner overlays
- out-of-stream video advertising (e.g. self-play video on social network, not embedded in non-advertising video content)
- contextual video advertising (e.g. branded video players,
- contextual banner advertising sold against video content
The complete list of formats included in online display totals is as follows: online display advertising (as defined above), online video advertising (defined above), affiliate marketing, integrated content, newsletter advertising, interactive television, mobile display advertising, programmatic buying, real-time bidding, in-game advertising, tenancies, sponsorships, and social media.
WARC has partnered with GWI (formerly GlobalWebIndex) to provide media consumption data across a number of traditional and digital channels in 47 major markets, along with global and regional overviews, based on their consumer surveys of internet users aged 16-64. The channels monitored include linear and online TV, broadcast radio and online audio (including podcasts), print and online press, gaming consoles and social media. All data is available here.
GWI conducts a quarterly survey of internet users aged 16-64, taking a uniform approach which enables accurate cross-market comparison. The panel is vetted and squared against national demographic data to ensure it is representative of the online population of each market. Sample sizes for each market are below.
|Middle East and Africa||12,000||12,000||12,000||13,000||40,000||48,000||52,000||56,000|
|United Arab Emirates||3,000||3,000||3,000||3,000||5,000||7,000||7,000||7,000|
For each country, GWI runs quarterly surveys of internet users aged 16-64. This means the data only cover the online population that is aged 16-64. In some countries, like those in Europe and North America, this online population will closely match the general population. In other countries, where internet penetration rates are lower, the online population will not match the general population. The online population in these countries is more likely to be young, urban, affluent and educated.
GWI ensures its sample is representative of each country’s online population aged 16-64 by setting quotas on age, gender and education. Weights are also assigned for every respondent to calculate how many people (of the same gender, age and education) are represented by their responses and to forecast the overall online population size. Respondents complete the survey in their local language.
Before completing a GWI survey, all panellists undergo quality checks conducted by their panel. GWI also runs stringent tests both during and after the fieldwork to ensure a high quality and robust sample. Examples of quality checks include checking the completion time, detecting patterned answers and a respondent having multiple ‘none of the above’ answers.
Media cost data are provided by the global media agency group, OMD. Data are collated from an annual survey of local offices in 62 markets, and cover the following media and target audiences:
Media covered: TV, newspapers, magazines, radio, out of home, cinema and internet.
Target audiences: adults, men, women, main shoppers, kids, young adults, upmarket adults and professionals.
The costs shown are after the deduction of negotiated discounts, but before the deduction of agency commission. The cost per hundred GRP (Gross Rating Point) figures have been calculated by multiplying the cost per thousand figures by the relevant universe (population). Full details of the methodology used in each market can be found here. The conversions from local currency to US$ have been carried out using annual average exchange rates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the year.
While the purpose of the survey is to standardise and summarise costs in a format that allows for cross market comparison, the formats and calculation methodologies can vary between market. A list of format definitions for media costs can be found here. Media coverage and start years also vary by market, as shown here.