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WARC’s spend predictions paint dire picture for 2023 advertising, especially social media

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WARC’s spend predictions paint dire picture for 2023 advertising, especially social media

Whether you believe we are in a recession right now — and the National Bureau of Economic Research still hasn’t declared one — global research outfit WARC doesn’t see good times ahead for the advertising business in 2023.

WARC on Wednesday issued its ad spend outlook for 2022/2023, which backs up the positive results the agency holding companies have enjoyed so far this year — an 8.3 percent rise in global ad spend, amounting to $67.3 billion more spent this year over 2021.

Besides the positive first half of the year, 2022’s totals are buoyed by a strong political ad windfall in the U.S. and a revenue boost from soccer’s World Cup, to be held in Qatar starting Nov. 20 and running until a week before Christmas.

Essentially that’s where the good news ends. WARC’s projections for 2023, based on a review of data from 100 markets worldwide, show a much slower growth rate of only 2.6 percent reaching $903.8 billion. WARC cites a further economic slowdown, but more importantly sees a long-tail negative effect of Apple’s cookie-blocking moves as inhibiting the type of growth social media platforms have enjoyed for the last decade.

Specifically, the social media platforms are expected to lose about $40 billion of revenue opportunity between this year and next, as WARC’s report predicts social media will grow a very ordinary 5.2 percent in 2023, following a nearly 48 percent jump in 2021 and a more modest 11 percent this year. It’s the lowest growth forecast WARC has ever issued for social media.

Part of that softening is due to Meta’s Facebook expected 2023 results, which WARC predicts at -8.6 percent — only partially offset by corporate sibling Instagram’s expected 6.7 percent growth. Part of the reason for Facebook’s drop is WARC’s belief that small to medium businesses SMBs) will suffer disproportionately from economic challenges ahead.

Meanwhile, TikTok is forecast to continue its meteoric growth — 41.5 percent in 2023 — albeit slower than it’s enjoyed the last two years (143 percent in 2022 and 347 percent in 2021).

Agency holding companies are expected to reap the benefits of the strong first half of 2022 through their Q3 numbers but it’s unclear what full-year results will look like.  

Mark Penn, CEO of Stagwell, a relatively new agency holding company that’s enjoyed strong results since its formation a year ago, was almost bemused by the dour forecast for next year, given how strong 2022 remains. “If an alien landed in my chair today, I don’t think he or she would see evidence of a recession,” said Penn. “We’re expecting robust growth through the end of the year, and consumer demand is just not slowing down from what we see for now.”

Similarly, Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence for WPP’s GroupM, said he remains on track with his predicted 5.1 percent growth for 2023 for media spend. “Our baseline assumption is that there’s going to be a soft landing in the U.S.,” he said.

Wieser took a bit of issue with WARC’s logic on social media’s minimal growth, noting that just because Facebook might feel a drop in spending from SMBs doesn’t mean the whole category of social will feel the same effect. “In any given sector, there’s a relatively fixed pool of spending, based on a wide range of factors,” he said, adding that one platform’s losses would be offset by spending on other platforms.

As for the major ad categories, WARC predicts strong growth from technology/electronics (at 11.5 percent over 2022), pharmaceutical/healthcare (7.5 percent), nicotine products (also 7.5 percent) and non-profit/public sector/education (7.1 percent). 

Surprisingly, the categories forecast to drop the most are automotive (at -12.4 percent over 2022), financial services (-4.5 percent) and both transport/tourism and alcohol at nearly flat -0.4 percent.

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Nothing announces official launch date for new Ear (stick) AirPods alternatives

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Nothing announces official launch date for new Ear (stick) AirPods alternatives
Nothing Ear (stick) held by a model on white background



(Image credit: Nothing )

True to form, Nothing has just announced the full reveal date for its upcoming audio product, Ear (stick). 

So, an announcement about an announcement. You’ve got to hand it to Carl Pei’s marketing department, they never miss a trick.

What we’re saying is that although we still have ‘nothing’ conclusive about the features, pricing or release date for the Ear (stick) except an image of another model holding them (and we’ve seen plenty of those traipsing down the catwalk recently), we do have a date – the day when we’ll be granted official access to this information. 

That day is October 26. Nothing assures us that on this day we’ll be able to find out everything, including pricing and product specifications, during the online Ear (stick) Reveal, at 3PM BST (which is 10AM ET, or 1AM on Wednesday if you’re in Sydney, Australia) on nothing.tech (opens in new tab)

Any further information? A little. Nothing calls the Ear (stick), which is now the product’s official name, “the next generation of Nothing sound technology”, and its “most advanced audio product yet”. 

But that’s not all! Apparently, Ear (stick) are “half in-ear true wireless earbuds that balance supreme comfort with exceptional sound, made not to be felt when in use. They’re feather-light with an ergonomic design that’s moulded to your ears. Delivered in a unique charging case, inspired by classic cosmetic silhouettes, and compactly formed to simply glide into pockets.” 

Opinion: I need more than a lipstick-style case

Nothing Ear (stick) – official leaked renders pic.twitter.com/FrhKmRttmiOctober 1, 2022

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It’s no secret that I want Nothing’s earbuds to succeed in world dominated by AirPods; who doesn’t love a plucky, eccentric underdog? 

But in order to become some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market, there is room for improvement over the Nothing Ear 1, the company’s inaugural earbuds. 

Aside from this official ‘news’ from Nothing, leaked images and videos of the Ear (stick) have been springing up all over the internet (thank you, developer Kuba Wojciechowski) and they depict earbuds that look largely unchanged, which is a shame. 

For me, the focus needs to shift from gimmicks such as a cylindrical case with a red section at the end which twists up like a lipstick. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of theater, but only if the sound coming from the earbuds themselves is top dog. 

As the natural companions for the Nothing Phone 1, it makes sense for the Ear (stick) to take a place similar to that of Apple’s AirPods 3, where the flagship Ear (1) sit alongside the AirPods Pro 2 as a flagship offering. 

See, that lipstick case shape likely will not support wireless charging. That and the rumored lack of ANC means the Ear (stick) is probably arriving as the more affordable option in Nothing’s ouevre. 

For now, we sit tight until October 26. 

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.  

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YouTube could make 4K videos exclusive to Premium subscribers

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YouTube could make 4K videos exclusive to Premium subscribers
Woman watching YouTube on mobile phone screen



(Image credit: Shutterstock / Kicking Studio)

You might soon have to buy YouTube Premium to watch 4K YouTube videos, a new user test suggests.

According to a Reddit thread (opens in new tab) highlighted on Twitter by leaker Alvin (opens in new tab), several non-Premium YouTube users have reported seeing 4K resolution (and higher) video options limited to YouTube Premium subscribers on their iOS devices. For these individuals, videos are currently only available to stream in up to 1440p (QHD) resolution.

The apparent experiment only seems to be affecting a handful of YouTube users for now, but it suggests owner Google is toying with the idea of implementing a site-wide paywall for access to high-quality video in the future.

So, after testing up to 12 ads on YouTube for non-Premium users, now some users reported that they also have to get a Premium account just to watch videos in 4K. pic.twitter.com/jJodoAxeDpOctober 1, 2022

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It’s no secret that Google has been searching for new ways to monetize its YouTube platform in recent months. In September, the company introduced five unskippable ads for some YouTube users as part of a separate test – an unexpected development that, naturally, didn’t go down well with much of the YouTube community. 

A resolution paywall seems a more palatable approach from Google. While annoying, the change isn’t likely to provoke the same level of ire from non-paying YouTube users as excessive ads, given that many smartphones still max out at QHD resolution anyway. 

Of course, if it encourages those who do care about high-resolution viewing to invest in the platform’s Premium subscription package, it may also be more lucrative for Google. After all, YouTube Premium, which offers ad-free viewing, background playback and the ability to download videos for offline use, currently costs $11.99 / £11.99 / AU$14.99 per month.

Suffice to say, the subscription service hasn’t taken off in quite the way Google would’ve hoped since its launch in 2014. Only around 50 million users are currently signed up to YouTube Premium, while something close to 2 billion people actively use YouTube on a monthly basis. 

Might the addition of 4K video into Premium’s perk package bump up that number? Only time will tell. We’ll be keeping an eye on our own YouTube account to see whether this resolution paywall becomes permanent in the coming months.

Axel is a London-based staff writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the newest movies to latest Apple developments as part of the site’s daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned a gold standard NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme. 

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Europe sets deadline for USB-C charging for (almost) all laptops

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Europe sets deadline for USB-C charging for (almost) all laptops

USB-C als Ladestandard in der EU

Mundissima / Shutterstock


Author: Michael Crider
, Staff Writer

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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