The 100 largest business-to-business advertisers spent an estimated $4.8 billion on U.S. b-to-b ads last year, up 0.9% from 2013, according to Ad Age Datacenter's analysis of measured-media spending from Kantar Media.
Estimated 2014 U.S. measured-media spending for the universe of b-to-b advertisers -- including the BtoB 100 and all other b-to-b advertisers -- was $10.2 billion, flat over 2013 spending. The top 100 b-to-b advertisers accounted for nearly half of all b-to-b spending last year.
Figures include estimated b-to-b ad spending across TV, internet (display ads only), magazines (including business publications), newspapers, radio and outdoor.
The largest media category for b-to-b ad spending last year was TV, with the BtoB 100 spending an estimated $2.9 billion on U.S. b-to-b TV ads. That was up 7.7% over 2013 and made up 60.8% of all b-to-b advertising.
The second-largest category was internet advertising, with the BtoB 100 spending about $685 million on b-to-b display ads last year, down 2.7% from 2013, and making up 14.3% of all b-to-b ad spending.
The third-largest category was magazines, where the BtoB 100 spent approximately $585 million, down 14.4% from 2013. Magazines composed 12.2% of b-to-b ad spending.
The top 100 b-to-b advertisers on average decreased spending on newspaper ads (down 15.8% from 2013) and outdoor (down 9.7%), although they increased spending on b-to-b radio ads by 7.5%.
The No. 1 U.S. b-to-b advertiser last year was Microsoft Corp., which spent an estimated $232.4 million on b-to-b ads. Despite being the largest b-to-b advertiser, Microsoft decreased its b-to-b ad spending by 19.9% from 2013.
Microsoft launched an integrated campaign last year pitting its mobile devices -- including the Lumia 635 smartphone from Nokia (which Microsoft owns) and its Surface Pro 3 tablet -- squarely against Apple's iPhone and MacBook Air.
"We are a challenger brand in the mobile category," said Kathleen Hall, general manager-global and brand marketing at Microsoft, in an interview with Ad Age last year about the integrated ad campaign.
The campaign was created by M:United, a new agency formed after Microsoft shifted its media and creative businesses to Interpublic Group and DentsuAegis last year.
The No. 2 b-to-b advertiser last year was AT&T, which spent an estimated $204.6 million on b-to-b ads, up 3.9% over 2013.
Last year, AT&T rolled out a brand platform, "Mobilizing Your World," to show how its mobile network helps businesses and consumers succeed. The campaign launched with a 60-second TV spot, created by BBDO New York, showing how AT&T technologies allow people to work seamlessly together.
The No. 3 b-to-b advertiser last year was Verizon Communications, which spent an estimated $168.6 million on b-to-b ads, down 8.8% from 2013. Verizon launched a TV campaign, created by McGarryBowen, showing how business people and consumers can be heroes by using Verizon's XLTE mobility network.
Hear from Fortune 500 brands that have been forced to pivot as consumer preferences evolve, as well as entrepreneurs building brands from scratch to meet new consumer needs. This event peels apart the layers of brand building with a carefully crafted roster of top marketing, technology, and creative leaders.Learn more