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Top b-to-b advertisers led by telecom firms

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Led by telecom companies, the top 100 b-to-b advertisers spent an estimated $6.83 billion on b-to-b advertising in 2005, roughly flat compared with b-to-b ad spending of $6.85 billion in 2004, according to a BtoB analysis of ad spending data from TNS Media Intelligence.

The data include estimated b-to-b spending on business magazines, consumer magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, online and outdoor. All b-to-b ad spending totaled $14.70 billion in 2005, up 1.9% from 2004. Telecom advertising was driven in large part by consolidation in the industry, with newly merged companies launching major ad campaigns to introduce their new brands.

The top b-to-b advertiser in 2005 was Sprint Nextel Corp., which spent an estimated $395.3 million, up 11.7% over 2004, when it was ranked the No. 3 b-to-b advertiser. Sprint Nextel, the result of a merger between Sprint and Nextel Communications in August 2005, rolled out an integrated advertising campaign in September 2005 to introduce the new brand. The campaign used the tagline “Yes you can” and included TV, print, online and outdoor.

No. 2 on the list of top b-to-b advertisers wasVerizon Communications, which spent an estimated $372.8 million on b-to-b ads in 2005, down 9.9% from 2004, when it also ranked No. 2. Verizon launched aggressive ads throughout 2005 promoting its DSL and other high-speed Internet services supported by TV, radio, print and online. In January, Verizon acquired MCI Communications and created a new brand, Verizon Business, to provide global communications services for businesses.

Rounding out the top three b-to-b advertisers was AT&T Corp., which spent an estimated $360.8 million on b-to-b ads in 2005, down 43.1% from 2004.

In a February report issued by TNS, the research company noted that AT&T’s total ad spending, including consumer ads, totaled $1.58 billion in 2005, down 26.4% from its total ad spending in 2004. TNS attributed the drop to cutbacks in the company’s wireless divisions associated with the SBC Communications merger.

The new AT&T launched an integrated ad campaign in December 2005 to introduce the merged company to consumer, business and government audiences. That campaign, with the tagline “Your world. Delivered,” included TV, print, online and outdoor.

The remaining top 10 b-to-b advertisers of 2005 were IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Citigroup, United Parcel Service of America, General Electric Co. and FedEx Corp.

Within this group, there were some slight shifts in rank compared with 2004. IBM, which increased its ad spending by 16.0% in 2005, moved up from No. 5 to No. 4, and Microsoft, which increased ad spending by 5.3%, moved up from No. 6 to No. 5.

HP, which was ranked No. 4 in 2004, dropped to No. 6 in 2005, decreasing its ad spending by 29.3%. Citigroup moved up from No. 10 in 2004 to No. 7 in 2005, while UPS held on to its No. 8 spot and GE kept its position at No. 9. FedEx jumped from No. 12 in 2004 to No. 10 in 2005.

The report also ranks the top 50 Internet advertisers of 2005, also based on data from TNS.

The No. 1 b-to-b Internet advertiser was Vonage Holdings Corp., which increased its online ad spending from $14.7 million in 2004 to $68.9 million in 2005 (up 370.1%). Vonage, an Internet phone service provider, launched aggressive online ads last year, including some that used video.

No. 2 on the list of top Internet advertisers in 2005 was Monster Worldwide, which increased online ad spending by 21.8% to $56.6 million. No. 3 was HP, which decreased online ad spending by 20.4% from 2004, when it ranked as the No. 1 b-to-b online advertiser.

Rounding out the top 10 for 2005 were CareerBuilder, Microsoft, Expedia, IAC/InterActiveCorp. (owner of Ticketmaster, LendingTree and Ask.com), TimeWarner, Verizon and Dollar Thrifty Interactive Group.

According to JupiterResearch, computer hardware and software, telecommunications, travel, finance, and media and entertainment comprised 64% of total online ad spending in 2005.

The BtoB Top Advertisers report also analyzes spending by media type.

In 2005, b-to-b advertisers spent an estimated $4.20 billion in b-to-b publications, up 3.0% over 2004. They spent an estimated $1.50 billion on network TV, up 4.8%. B-to-b spending on Internet advertising totaled $1.30 billion, up 5.0%.

In terms of total spending, ads in b-to-b publications comprised 28.8% of the pie, followed by local newspapers (13.1%), national consumer magazines (10.8%), network TV (10.1%) and the Internet (8.8%).

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