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- Last year, US companies spent more money than ever on ads designed to grab consumers’ attention.
- According to the 2019 Ad Age Leading National Advertisers report, the top 200 advertisers collectively spent a record $163 billion on advertising in 2018.
- Some of the biggest ad spending increases came from internet-based giants like Amazon (32%), Google (23%), and Facebook (236%).
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Companies are constantly vying for consumers’ attention, and they’re spending more than ever to get it.
Collectively, the top 200 advertisers in the US spent a record $163 billion on advertising in 2018, up 3.6% year on year, according to Ad Age’s annual Leading National Advertisers report. That growth is coming solely from internet ads – radio, print, and TV ad spending has been steadily decreasing since 2012 – which make up 53% of ad spending.
Some of the biggest spenders are internet-based companies. Facebook increased its ad spending by 236%, well beyond any other company, to $475 million. But despite the major increase, Facebook was only ranked No. 100 in top ad spenders. Other digital companies increased their ad spending as well, like Amazon (32%), Netflix (70%), and Google’s parent company, Alphabet (23%).
The biggest ad spender, however, was media giant Comcast, with $6.12 billion spent in 2018.
Overall, there were 45 marketers that spent more than $1 billion on advertising in the US last year. Here are the top 10 biggest spenders.
Lara O’Reilly contributed to an earlier version of this post.
10. Verizon Communications: $2.68 billion in total spending
Telecom giant Verizon spends $935 million on advertising its own brand, which has helped it earn the highest market share for wireless service providers in the US.
9. American Express Co: $2.8 billion in total spending
- American Express
Credit card company American Express held the highest credit card market share in 2018. Its ads have featured celebrities like composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda.
8. Alphabet (Google): $2.96 billion in total spending
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, raised its ad spending by 23%, one of several big tech companies to step up their game in the marketing world.
7. Charter Communications: $3.04 billion in total spending
Charter Communications, better known as the owner of cable company Spectrum, is losing both its cable and landline phone customers. Due to its growing base of internet customers, however, the company saw nearly 5% revenue growth in 2018, according to Fortune.
6. Walt Disney Co: $3.13 billion in total spending
In the last few years, Disney has snapped up several companies, including Lucasfilm, buying itself the rights to the “Star Wars” franchise. Disney also owns Pixar, Hulu, ESPN, Marvel, ABC, and most recently, 21st Century Fox. With all of its subsidiaries, Disney is valued at $128.8 billion, according to GoBankingRates.
5. General Motors Co: $3.14 billion in total spending
General Motors owns several brands, including carmakers Cadillac, GMC, and Opel. It spends the most on Chevrolet, however, with $825 million going to Chevy ads in 2018. GM has the highest market share for auto makers in US, which may be a result of all that advertising.
4. Procter & Gamble Co: $4.3 billion in total spending
Procter & Gamble own just about every brand of household or beauty product, so it’s no surprise that it’s the biggest household product advertiser, with 53% of US household product ad spending from P&G alone. Brands like Tide, Febreze, Downy, Gain, Bounty, and Charmin are the top six household products in ad spending, and they’re all owned by P&G.
3. Amazon: $4.47 billion in total spending
Of all of Amazon’s ad spending, $1.3 billion goes to advertising its own brand, while much of the rest goes to internet ads. That’s why Amazon is the top spender in desktop internet display ads. In 2018, ad spending grew 32%, a trend among big tech companies.
2. AT&T: $5.36 billion in total spending
AT&T spent $659 million to advertise the telephone services it provides through AT&T Communications, as well as the media and entertainment assets it owns through WarnerMedia, like HBO and Warner Bros.
1. Comcast Corp: $6.12 billion in total spending
Comcast spent more on advertising than any other company in the US in 2018. It also spent the most on broadcast TV spot advertising, with $378 million in spending. The media company has several subsidiaries, including Universal Pictures, NBC, Sky, Fandango, and Telemundo. In total, it’s valued at $192 billion, according to Forbes.