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Ad Spending Rises 3% in 2012: Kantar Media Report

Retail, Auto Categories Lead Outlays, as Financial Services, Insurance Make Cuts

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The presidential election and marketers' Olympic budgets drove another year-over-year growth in ad spending.

According to Kantar Media, total advertising expenditures rose 3% to nearly $140 billion in 2012. Spending during the fourth quarter was up 2% compared to the same period a year ago.

"The advertising market has grown for three consecutive years and in 2012 it added more than $4 billion in spend, with the Summer Olympics and political advertising contributing about one-half of the gain," said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America, in a statement.

Company Spending (Millions) % Change
Procter & Gamble $2,805 Down 5%
Comcast $1,713 Up 10%
General Motors $1,642 Down 7%
AT&T $1,572 Down 14%
L'Oreal $1,461 Up 9%
Verizon $1,409 Down 13%
News Corp. $1,274 Up 6%
Toyota Motor $1,239 Up 13%
Berkshire Hathaway $1,165 Up 12%
Chrysler Group $1,065 Down 14%

"Large advertisers played a significant role. After reducing their media budgets in 2011 as a precaution against slowing economic growth, the Top 100 marketers reversed course in 2012 and invested more."

Spending by advertisers

Still, across the ten largest advertisers, measured spending was actually down 2%, with Procter & Gamble, General Motors, AT&T, Verizon and Chrysler all trimming budgets. Meanwhile, Comcast, Toyota and Berkshire Hathaway all posted double-digit increases.

Media Sector % Change
Network TV Up 9%
Cable TV Up 3%
Spanish Language TV Up 15%
Consumer Magazines Down 3%
Local Newspapers Down 2%
National Newspapers Down 12%
Internet (Display Only) Down 3%
Local Radio Flat
Outdoor Up 5%

Spending by Media

Television continued to lead the industry, with network spending up 9% and cable up 3%. Spanish-language TV saw a big boost, up 15% for the year. Print media, meanwhile, continued to be the industry laggard, with consumer magazines down 3%, thanks to weaker spending from the pharmaceutical, financial service and travel sectors. National newspapers were also hurt by the cutback in financial spending.

Radio benefited from the political season, with spending up during the fourth quarter, though spending for local radio was still flat for the year. With politicians grabbing more radio inventory, some marketers redirected local dollars to outdoor, according to Kantar. The outdoor segment saw a 5% increase for the year.

Category Spending (Millions) % Change
Retail $16,345 Up 3%
Automotive $14,840 Up 7%
Local Services $8,978 Up 3%
Telecom $8,660 Up 4%
Financial Services $7,889 Down 2%
Personal Care Products $6,836 Up 5%
Food & Candy $6,567 Up 2%
Direct Response $6,342 Up 2%
Restaurants $6,185 Up 4%
Insurance $4,860 Down 2%

Spending by Category

Retail came out on top as the biggest ad spender, despite turmoil among some of the biggest players, including J.C. Penney and Best Buy. Auto, meanwhile, recorded the largest gain for the year, at 7% growth. And expensive campaigns from Apple and Samsung boosted telecom expenditures by 4%. Financial services and insurance both spent less, compared to the prior year.

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