Charting the U.S. Top 50 Advertising Spenders

The holidays are right around the corner, which means consumers are being subjected to endless commercials and ad campaigns pushing for that last-minute gift purchase. Advertising is big money not only in the U.S., but also around the world. Just how much money is spent on advertising? That’s the subject of our new visualization, which breaks down the world’s top companies by ad spend.

  • Among the top 50 advertisers alone, 38 are headquartered in the U.S.
  • Forty-one companies spent more than $1 billion on advertising in 2017.
  • Ad spending for the top 200 companies increased by 1.1% from 2016 to 2017, the slowest growth since the Recession.
  • According to AdAge research, Geico, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, is the most advertised brand, with $1.4 billion in measured media ad spending.

The data comes from AdAge’s 200 Leading National Advertisers 2018 Fact Pack. According to the methodology, “Total U.S. Ad Spending” is defined as “advertising, marketing services (including promotion and direct marketing) and digital marketing (including social media).” For the visualization, we took the top 50 companies on the list and charted them in bubbles with the company logo and annual amount of U.S. ad spending. To give an idea of scale, the bigger bubbles correspond to higher ad spend and the smaller bubbles correspond to lower ad spend. The bubbles are also color-coded based on ad spend, with dark purple representing less spending and dark pink representing more spending. We also divided the companies into their associated industry, such as telecommunications, financials, pharmaceuticals, and motor vehicles.

Top 10 Advertisers by 2017 Ad Spend

1. Comcast Corp: $5.7 billion - Telecommunication
2. Procter & Gamble Co.: $4.4 billion - Household products
3. AT&T: $3.5 billion - Telecommunications
4. Amazon: $3.4 billion - Internet Services and Retailing
5. General Motors Co.: $3.2 billion - Motor Vehicles
6. Verizon Communications: $2.6 billion - Telecommunications
7. Ford Motor Co.: $2.5 billion - Motor Vehicles
8. Charter Communications: $2.4 billion - Telecommunications
9. Alphabet (Google): $2.4 billion - Internet Services and Retailing
10. Samsung Electronics Co.: $2.4 billion - Electronics

The rise of social media and widespread use of smartphones have changed how advertisers interact with their customer base and attract new business. The AdAge research further reveals that internet advertising and out of home advertising have increased over the past 20 years, while traditional media like TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers have suffered sharp declines. In fact, the internet became the biggest U.S. ad medium by spending as of 2017, surpassing TV. The 200 Leading National Advertisers 2018 Fact Pack estimates that internet ad spending will increase 13.1% year-over-year, reaching $78 billion. As technology and consumer preferences continue to evolve, so will marketers’ and advertisers’ strategies for getting more exposure for their company’s products and services.

Have you ever seen a particularly memorable ad or TV commercial that resonated with you? Please let us know in the comments!

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