Retail, Automotive Biggest Spenders in 2013

P&G, GM, AT&T among Kantar's top 10 spenders for the year

The absence of the Summer Olympics and political spending in fall 2013 (compared to their presence in 3Q 2012) may have put a damper on advertising expenditures, but total ad revenue for the year was still up 0.9 percent to $140.2 billion, according to a new report from Kantar Media. Ad spending during the final quarter of the year rose 1.6 percent compared to the same time period in 2012.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the market has registered a gain. “It’s a positive sign,” said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America. “Spending for the Olympics and the election added about $3 billion extra in 2012. Take that out of 2013 and that’s like starting the year off in a hole. But despite that the market was able to have a year-over-year gain.”

Large and midsize advertisers represent 78 percent of all ad expenditures and both increased 3.3 percent. Small advertisers, which represent the remaining piece of the pie, spent 6.6 percent less than in 2012—Kantar pointed to the lack of resources and the slow-growing economy in explaining that drop.

Packaged goods behemoth Procter & Gamble maintained its title as the top-spending advertiser, at $3.17 billion—up 11.8 percent from 2012. P&G’s spending increases came mainly from its laundry, household cleaning and paper product brands, according to Kantar.

General Motors dethroned AT&T from its Q3 spot as the second largest advertiser, spending $1.794 billion—a 10 percent rise from ’12. GM shelled out most for Cadillac and the marketing relaunch of GMC’s truck division.

AT&T ranked as the third largest spender for 2013, ponying up $1.793 billion—a 15.2 percent increase from '12 while its competitor Verizon continued to reduce its outlay by 13.3 percent to $1.21 billion.

Pfizer posted the largest growth rate, hiking its expenditures by 26.8 percent to $1.13 billion.

Comcast, L’Oréal, Toyota, Berkshire Hathaway and Time Warner rounded out the top 10 list. All told, the top 10 advertisers spent $15.9 billion during the year, up 6.6 percent from 2012.

Retail was the leading category for ad expenditures during 2013, up 0.2 percent at $16 billion, according to Kantar data. Continuing its fourth consecutive year of recovery, ad spending in the automotive category ranked second, a 3.8 percent rise over 2012 to $15.2 billion. 

But it was telecom that had the biggest surge among the top 10 categories, increasing 8.2 percent for the year to $9.35 billion. The category’s growth was propelled by well-funded smartphone model introductions from Nokia, Blackberry and Motorola.

Local services, financial services, personal care products, food and candy, restaurants, direct response and insurance complete the top 10 ad categories for 2013. When combined, the categories spent $88.3 billion and spending grew 1.8 percent since 2012.

According to the Kantar report, overall 2013 TV spending was down 0.1 percent. To put it in perspective, Swallen explained that television for the year was flat but cable TV offers a better barometer for how the medium is doing. Cable TV was healthy last year, up 7.3 percent, "which shows that, even in a fragmented media economy, it’s still the cornerstone of a lot of media spend plans,” he added.

Online spending, which doesn’t include video or mobile ad formats, rose 15.7 percent for the year, while magazine media spending increased 1.8 percent. Newspaper media spending, however, was down 3.7 percent and radio media spending was also down 5.6 percent.