How Top Advertisers Are Spending Smarter

10 Facts From Ad Age's 200 Leading National Advertisers Report

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Ad Age's annual report on the nation's top advertisers shows how blue-chip marketers are getting more bang for their billions of bucks. Ten key points from the 60th annual Leading National Advertisers report:

1. Total U.S. ad spending -- measured media plus unmeasured spending -- rose a slim 2.0% in 2014 for the 200 Leading National Advertisers, but the story is not that marketers are pulling back. They are spending smarter, doubling down on digital and taking unnecessary costs out of marketing.

2. The 200 LNA reduced measured-media spending by 1.8% in 2014, with cuts in every major medium except broadcast network TV and cable TV networks, according to Ad Age's analysis of data from WPP's Kantar Media.

3. The top 200 boosted unmeasured spending by a strong 6.5% in 2014. Unmeasured spending includes various digital plays (mobile, online video, search marketing, unmeasured forms of social media), promotion, experiential marketing and direct marketing.

4. Unmeasured spending continues to take a bigger slice of budgets, capturing 47.8% of 200 LNA ad and promotion spending last year. That's up from 45.8% in 2013. Measured media accounts for the rest.

5. While total U.S. ad spending for the top 200 advertisers reached a record $137.8 billion in 2014, the growth rate was lowest since the ad-market recovery took hold in 2010.

6. Among the 200 LNA, 119 marketers boosted U.S. spending in 2014 while 79 reduced their outlays. Spending was flat at two marketers.

7. Thirty-eight marketers spent more than $1 billion on U.S. advertising in 2014.

8. Three brands -- AT&T, Verizon, Geico -- had 2014 U.S. measured-media spending above $1 billion.

9. This year's LNA report ranks and analyzes the top 200 U.S. advertisers, up from previous reports that focused on the 100 LNA. Average (mean) 2014 U.S. ad spending for the 200 LNA: $689 million. Average is $1.1 billion for the top 100 and $279 million for Nos. 101-200.

10. Total 2014 U.S. ad spending for the 200 LNA rose for marketers in 12 of the 15 largest categories. Marketers with the biggest gains: travel (up 14.5%), apparel (9.8%), entertainment/media (5.2%) and pharmaceuticals (5.0%). Spending fell in food (down 4.1%), technology (-3.5%) and personal care (-2.2%).

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