First quarter ad spending in North America grew by 2.1 percent compared to Q1 spending in 2011, a growth rate far behind that posted in the Middle East and Africa and Latin America and slightly ahead of Asia Pacific, according to Nielsen's quarterly Global AdView Pulse report.
Europe saw a small decline of 1.4 percent for the quarter compared to the same period last year, the report said.
Emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa saw double-digit growth, up 23.3 percent, and in Latin America ad spending posted a gain on 9.6 percent. According to Nielsen, ad growth was particularly strong in Egypt, which saw spending grow 67 percent in Q1, following last year's Arab Spring.
Overall, global ad spending grew 3.1 percent in the first quarter of the year, the report said. January 2012 saw only a small increase from the previous year, but then growth began to gain steadily momentum so that by March ad spending was 4.5 percent higher than the previous year.
Two factors in 2011 — overall market conditions and political unrest — may have held back spending, Nielsen reported.