The rise in service activities, along with increased digital marketing services and the success of the work-from-home trend, is enabling the Zacks Advertising and Marketing industry to counter the prevailing revenue softness.

Customer-centric approaches to business, digital strategies and technology investments are helping Publicis Groupe S.A. (PUBGY Free Report) , Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC Free Report) and WPP plc (WPP Free Report) to sail through the current testing times.

About the Industry

The Zacks Advertising and Marketing industry comprises companies that offer an extensive range of services, including advertising, branding, content marketing, digital/direct marketing, digital transformation, financial/corporate business-to-business advertising, graphic arts/digital imaging, healthcare marketing and communications and in-store design services. Prominent players from the industry include Interpublic and Omnicom. The pandemic has changed the way industry players have conducted business and delivered services so far. Currently, the industry’s key focus is on channelizing money and efforts toward media formats and devices. To position themselves suitably in the post-pandemic era, service providers are increasing their efforts toward formulating strategic initiatives and identifying sources of demand.

What’s Shaping the Future of the Industry?

Economic Recovery: The sector is a major beneficiary of the broader economy and service activities. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.5% in 2023 compared with 1.9% growth in 2022. Economic activities in the non-manufacturing sector are in good shape. The Services PMI measured by the Institute for Supply Management has stayed above the 50% mark for the past 12 months, indicating continued expansion.

Reviving Demand: The industry is mature, with demand for services remaining stable over time. Revenues, income and cash flows are anticipated to gradually reach pre-pandemic levels, aiding most industry players in paying out stable dividends.

Digital Marketing Gathering Steam: Digital media consumption has shot up, with consumers spending more time on various media platforms and video-streaming services. Thus, agencies offering digital marketing services stand to gain, as these firms are better positioned to address the rapid change in customer preference.

Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright Near-Term Prospects

The Zacks Advertising and Marketing industry, housed within the broader Zacks Business Services sector, currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #53. This rank places it in the top 21% of more than 250 Zacks industries.

The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates solid near-term growth prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than two to one.

Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock market performance and current valuation:

Industry’s Price Performance

Over the past year, the Zacks Advertising and Marketing industry has fallen while the S&P 500 composite and the broader sector witnessed growth. The industry has declined 5.9% against the S&P 500 composite’s growth of 22.9%. The broader sector has gained 15% in the said time frame.

One-Year Price Performance

Industry’s Current Valuation

On the basis of the forward 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, which is commonly used for valuing advertising and marketing stocks, the industry is currently trading at 10.57X compared with the S&P 500’s 20.47X and the sector’s 20.05X.

Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 16.98X and as low as 7.74X, with the median being 11.24X, as the charts below show.

Price to Forward 12 Months P/E Ratio

3 Advertising Stocks to Consider

Here, we have presented three stocks that are well-positioned for near-term growth:

Omnicom: The company is a provider of advertising, marketing and corporate communications services. Consistency and diversity of operations and focus on delivering consumer-centric strategic business solutions ensure the long-term profitability for Omnicom. It has divested underperforming and non-core businesses and reorganized them to meet clients’ ever-transforming needs.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s 2024 EPS has been revised 0.8% over the past 60 days. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Shares of Omnicom have gained 22% in the past three months.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. 

Price and Consensus: OMC

Publicis: The company is a provider of marketing, communications and digital business transformation services. It is witnessing strength across regions, especially in the United States and Europe, driven by strong momentum in account wins.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s 2023 EPS increased 2% over the past 60 days. Shares of Publicis have gained 30.4% in the past three months. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

Price and Consensus: PUBGY

WPP plc: This provider of communications, experience, commerce and technology services has gained 15.3% in the past three months. WPP continues to win creative and media assignments from leading global organizations. Its net new business performance remains in good shape.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s 2024 EPS has increased 2% over the past 60 days. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

Price and Consensus: WPP


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