Top 100 Advertisers; Top 50 Internet Advertisers

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Reflecting the sluggish U.S. economy, the demise of many dot-com companies and the aftermath of Sept. 11, spending by the Top 100 b-to-b advertisers declined to $5.4 billion in 2001 from $5.8 billion in 2000, according to figures provided to BtoB by Taylor Nelson Sofres’ CMR.

B-to-B Media Spending by Media (pdf) Top 100 B-to-B Advertisers, 1-50 Top 100 B-to-B Advertisers, 50-100 (pdf) Top 50 Internet Advertisers

However, this 7.3% drop among the Top 100 was far exceeded by an 18.8% spending decline among the 75,000 b-to-b companies CMR tracks. The Top 100 also increased spending in categories that the larger list abandoned: Internet (2% for the Top 100 vs. -21.7% for the larger list); newspapers (18.6% vs. -4.4%) and cable TV (5.2% vs. -7.7%). Interestingly, both the Top 100 and the larger list significantly increased outdoor spending (30.6% and 19.3%, respectively).

While the dot-com and telecommunications sectors spent heavily in 2000—helping to increase overall spending a whopping 16.7% over 1999—the situation was quite different in 2001. Last year saw many telecommunications providers, and the equipment vendors that supply them, fall from their 2000 rankings. Some companies fell out of the Top 100 entirely.

On the other hand, some of the largest telecom players—notably SBC Communications Inc., Sprint Corp. and AT&T Wireless Services—improved their rankings in the top 10 from 2000. And Voicestream Wireless Corp. made it into the top 10 in 2001, thanks to a 48% increase in spending.

Indeed, there was relative stability among the top 10 companies on the list. Verizon Communications Inc. held on to its top position for two years running and increased its spending by 23.6% to $336 million. Microsoft Corp. rose from No. 3 to No. 2, and AT&T Corp. moved up from No. 15 to No. 9, despite a 4.5% drop in spending from the previous year. The biggest change in spending among the top 10 involved IBM Corp., which dropped from $226 million in 2000 to $149.6 million in 2001, a 34% decline.

Technology companies felt the brunt of the 2001 economic recession, and their drastically reduced advertising expenditures mirror this reality. Companies reducing their advertising by more than 40% in 2001 included: Dell Computer Corp., Earthlink, 3M Co., Texas Instruments Inc., EDS, Micron Technology Inc., Motorola Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp. Advertisers that fell from the ranks of the Top 100 advertisers in 2001 included: 3Com Corp., 3M, Avaya Inc., Earthlink Inc., Micron Technology, Motorola and Texas Instruments.

Two telecommunications players, Lucent Technologies Inc. and BellSouth Corp., had the greatest percentage drop in advertising spending, at 74% and 75%, respectively. Lucent, ranked at 30 in 2000, fell to 115 in 2001; BellSouth plummeted from 50 in 2000 to 169 in 2001.

Financial services companies dominated the list of top online b-to-b advertisers in 2001. Not counting financial software maker Intuit Inc., which increased its spending 469%, financial services companies held four of the top 10 spots in the Top 50 list. Providian Financial, Citigroup Inc. and Bank One Corp. held the top three slots, with Citigroup’s 270% increase far outpacing those of its two competitors. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. was No. 8.

Online travel site Orbitz, which did not have a rank in 2000, made it into the top 10 at No. 4., besting competitor Sabre Holding Corp. at No. 11. Posting the sharpest decline in spending online in 2001 was AT&T Corp., down 65%. Following AT&T was travel site, which dropped 62%. Microsoft posted the third-largest decline among the online advertisers, dropping 56%.

AT&T Wireless Services, at No. 10, was the sole company to make it into both the top 10 online list and the top 10 overall list. —Ellis Booker


In building the top 100 B-to-B Advertisers 2001 rankings, BtoB analyzed data from New York-based Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR, a research company that tracks ad spending across a wide range of media.

CMR tracks advertising expenditure numbers from the following: 11 consumer media, including TV, magazines, newspapers, radio and outdoor; b-to-b publications through its CMR Business-to-Business unit (Business Information Network numbers); and Internet spending through CMRi's AdNet TrackUS arm.

Kevin Brown, group data manager at sister publication Advertising Age, compiled the data for BtoB, ranking companies by 2001 ad spending and providing the percentage change in each company's ad spending from 2000. Parent companies and their subsidiaries are combined to get the total expenditures for the entire organization.

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