Last year turned out to be a good one for global ad spending, with both traditional and digital outlay registering solid growth, Nielsen and GroupM have announced in separate reports.

Nielsen, the New York-headquartered market research group, estimates that global advertising expenditure reached USD498bn in 2011, rising by 7.3%. The increase in the fourth quarter amounted to 6.2%, with TV, newspaper, magazine and radio ad sales generating USD131bn.

With the exception of Europe, where ad spending slipped 0.4%, all other regions ended the year with improved results. North America managed a modest 1.8% rise but elsewhere growth was in the double digits. Latin America finished first with an 11.6% jump, followed by the Asia-Pacific with 11.5% and the Middle East and Africa with 11.3%.

A look at the results by media channel shows television leading the pack with ad revenue growth of 10.1%. Radio and magazines achieved respective increases of 9.7% and 2%, while newspapers delivered a 1.1% rise.

In terms of industry sectors, the biggest expansion was recorded in clothing and accessories, where ad spending surged by 17.5%. Healthcare operators boosted their outlay by 11.2% and the industrial and services segment lifted spending by 8.1%. Advertising budgets rose by 6% in the financial services and FMCG sectors, while automotive brands spent 7.5% more. In durable goods and entertainment, the increase came in at 5%.

Separately, WPP-owned GroupM reported its estimates on 2011 digital ad spending. According to the company this market grew by 16% to USD84.8bn, accounting for 17% of overall advertising expenditure. GroupM forecasts 2012 digital ad revenues of USD98.2bn, representing about 18% of the total ad market.