Video is the Dominant Ad Format in the US

June 25, 2019

The US advertising marketplace is expected to grow by 8% (not including cyclical events such as the Olympics and the World Cup) in 2019 and, according to new data from the Standard Media Index (SMI), much of that ad growth will come from small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), who are expected to hike their ad spend by 14% this year.

Between January-April 2019, video (across all platforms) accounted for 58% of ad spend by major national marketers (non-SMB/local marketers) in the US, making it the dominant ad format for major marketers. Per a recent report by the IAB, marketers are not just resting on their laurels – while advertisers are planning to spend 25% more on digital video this year than they did last year, they are also planning to experiment with different formats such as 6-second video ads and vertical video ads.

Beyond video, digital (non-video) media accounted for one-third (34%) of major marketers’ ad spend in the first four months of 2019.

However, SMI has raised a bit of a red flag for the US ad marketplace with what it refers to as a “sharp hesitation in digital spending,” with major marketers limiting their incremental investments in search to a +1.6% growth level between January and April 2019.

Looking at the top media owners for 2019-to-date (January through April), Google (10.5%) narrowly beats out the new Walt Disney Corporation (10.4%) as the top media owner among major marketers for 2019-to-date. They are the only media owners with double-digit share of the market so far this year.

Another notable name is Facebook, which in the 6th spot has captured almost 5% (4.8%) of major marketers’ media spend during the first third of the year.

Even so, the TV market remains strong, with NBC and CBS together accounting for more than one-sixth of major marketers’ spend. The TV market continues to be fairly concentrated: the top seven TV media companies – including NBC Universal, Walt Disney Corporation, CBS, FOX Corporation, Discover, WarnerMedia and Viacom – account for 84% of ad spend season-to-date (October 2018-April 2019).

But that concentration pales in comparison to that seen in certain digital sectors: despite feeling the threat posed by Amazon, the online duopoly that is Google and Facebook have a stronghold on ad spend when it comes to search (75% share) and social (85% share), respectively.

About the Data: SMI sources data from the raw invoices of 5 of the 7 major media agency holding groups and leading independents, representing 70% of the National TV market. SMI models out the full 100% of the spots in the TV marketplace within Nielsen’s coverage using occurrence data from Nielsen Ad Intel. Market share percentages are comprised of the approximately 130 national TV networks it measures.

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