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Top 100 Advertisers Boost Ad Spending but Not In Traditional Media

27 Jun 2012

The 100 biggest advertisers boosted 2011 total U.S. ad spending by 4.8 per cent. But you wouldn't know spending was on the rise if you looked only at last year's measured media.

Measured spending for the top 100 actually slipped 0.2 per cent. A double-digit measured-media gain for internet display spending and a small increase in TV did not make up for losses in newspapers, magazines and radio.

So where's the money going? Into unmeasured disciplines-a vast pool that includes various digital plays (search marketing, online video and some forms of social media), promotion and direct marketing. The appeal is clear: Marketers are putting money into disciplines that directly connect them with targeted consumers.

Advertisers are reshaping the media pie. Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia expects the internet to surpass newspapers this year as the nation's second-largest advertising medium, behind TV. By ZenithOptimedia's tally, the internet was the fifth-largest ad medium until 2009, when it powered past magazines and radio into the No. 3 spot.

Nearly three-fourths of ZenithOptimedia's internet breakout comes from what Ad Age currently counts as unmeasured spending (including paid search, online video and mobile ads); the rest comes from measured disciplines (display advertising, including display ads on social-media sites).

Fortunes of unmeasured and measured disciplines have diverged since the Great Recession ended and not-so-great recovery began in June 2009.

The top 100 U.S. advertisers in 2010 increased unmeasured spending by 12.6 per cent and measured spending by 6.3 per cent, resulting in an 8.8 per cent rebound in total ad spending.

The 100 Leading National Advertisers' unmeasured spending jumped 11.8 per cent in 2011 while measured media eased 0.2 per cent, resulting in an overall increase of 4.8 per cent. That slower growth shows how major marketers have kept a check on ad spending in this plodding economic recovery.

Measured media's share of LNA spending dropped to 55.8 per cent in 2011 from 58.6 per cent in 2010.

The tug of war between measured and unmeasured disciplines is hardly new. Since launching the 100 LNA report in 1956, Ad Age has used the term "unmeasured" to quantify ad and promotion spending distinct from media types -- such as TV, print and (in recent decades) internet display -- that are measured by tracking services.

The shift in 2011 was widespread: 100 Leading National Advertisers in all but two major industry categories reduced the portion of 2011 spending that went to measured media, according to Ad Age DataCenter's analysis. (The two exceptions were financial services and restaurants, where measured media scored a bigger slice of the pie.)

Case in point: Kohl's Corp., the department-store retailer, disclosed gross advertising costs rose 10.4 per cent to $1.123 billion in 2011. Kohl's 2011 measured-media ad spending declined 2.5 per cent to $331.3 million, according to WPP's Kantar Media. Ad Age defines the difference as unmeasured spending: $791.7 million, up 16.9 per cent.

To be sure, marketers still rely on measured media to build brands and promote products. Apple's U.S. measured spending surged 82 per cent.

The 100 LNA accounted for 44 per cent of Kantar Media's 2011 U.S. measured-media spending.

Among the 100 largest advertisers, total 2011 U.S. spending (measured media plus unmeasured spending) increased in all but three major industries, according to Ad Age DataCenter's spending analysis.

Telecom had the sharpest spending drop, falling 7.9 per cent. AT&T, Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel Corp.and Verizon Communications all cut measured-media spending.

Marketers of cleaning products reduced total ad spending by 3.3 per cent. The LNA's 10 food companies trimmed spending by 1.5 per cent.

Two major industries saw double-digit increases in total U.S. ad spending: automotive, up 16.1 per cent, and financial services, up 11.2 per cent.

During the 2007-2009 recession, automotive and financial-services imploded as industries and ad categories. But the two industries have rebounded sharply, scoring double-digit ad spending increases in both 2010 and 2011.

Fiat's Chrysler Group boosted U.S. measured-media spending by 48 per cent; Chrysler's stated worldwide ad spending jumped 49 per cent.

Estimated total U.S. ad spending for JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest financial advertiser, rose 22 per cent. JPMorgan Chase's stated worldwide marketing costs in 2011 were 77 per cent above the company's recession-period low (2009).

Among the 100 LNA, about two-thirds of marketers increased U.S. spending in 2011, with 32 cutting spending, according to Ad Age DataCenter's analysis.

What about 2012? Kantar Media last week reported some sign of a modest rebound in measured-media spending. Overall U.S. measured spending increased 2.6 per cent in the first quarter, the best quarterly growth since second-quarter 2011.

Kantar Media's top 100 marketers increased first-quarter 2012 spending by 3.4 per cent, vs. a 0.2 per cent spending decline in full-year 2011.

ZenithOptimedia forecasts total U.S. spending for major media and marketing services will grow 3.2 per cent in 2012 and another 3.2 per cent in 2013, up from 2011's tepid 1.8 per cent growth. That hardly signals a boom. But it's better than a bust.

Source: Advertising Age

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