US Ad Spend Trends, by Medium, in Q3 2014

December 29, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Display & Rich Media | Hispanic | Magazines | Newspapers | Out-of-Home | Radio | Spending & Spenders | TV Advertising

Kantar-Ad-Spend-Trends-in-Q3-Dec2014US ad spending grew by just 0.3% year-over-year in the third quarter to reach $33.7 billion, with year-to-date growth slowing to 2.2%, per the latest quarterly figures from Kantar Media. The analysis notes that the slowing rate of growth in Q3 (relative to the first half of the year) owed primarily to tighter budgets among the top 100 marketers, as opposed to mid-size advertisers, who increased spend by 6-7%. Below, some brief highlights by medium.


TV emerged as the only medium with year-over-year growth in Q3 (of 6.5%), although it should be noted that the internet figures count display only, with the IAB recently reporting that online ad spending in the US grew by 17% in Q3. Spanish-language TV was the big riser, with a gain of 23.7% buoyed by the final weeks of the World Cup. Cable also saw healthy growth of 7.9%, helping offset the smaller rates of increase from network TV (0.2%) and national syndication (1.6%).

Magazine Media

Sunday magazines continued their sizable declines, with spending down 11.7% in Q3. Local magazines were the only segment to not see a decrease in spending, mostly flat at 0.2% growth. Overall, magazine media ad spend dropped by 4.9% and is now down by 4.3% for the year-to-date.

Newspaper Media

While magazines didn’t fare well, newspapers fared far worse. The 13% overall decline was mostly the result of a 14.5% drop in ad spend experienced by local newspapers. Contrary to trends seen in the past couple of years, Hispanic newspapers (along with Hispanic magazines) saw a decline in spend. National newspapers, meanwhile, saw a smaller drop of 2%.

Radio Media

According to Kantar’s figures, radio ad spend decreased by 5.3% in Q3, although the Radio Advertising Bureau pegged the results as being down by 2%. Kantar’s data shows network radio’s revenues as having been mostly flat (-0.3%), with all other segments declining by 5-7%.

Display, Outdoor, FSIs

While these three media typically see healthy gains, they each experienced decline in ad spend in Q3: Display ad spend dipped by 1.7% leading to 5.7% year-to-date growth; outdoor ad spend was down by 2.7% (although the OAAA figures claim a slight increase of 1.5%); and spending on FSIs dropped by 7.3%.

Other Findings:

  • Procter & Gamble, the nation’s largest advertiser, has spend $2 billion for the year-to-date (Q1 through Q3), but that’s down 16.1% from last year.
  • The top 10 advertisers through Q3 have tightened spending by 1.7% year-over-year, although Pfizer (+19.5%), Berkshire Hathaway (+16.4%) and Verizon Communications (+12.6%) bucked that trend).
  • Retail ($10.7 billion) overtook automotive ($10.4 billion) in total ad spend through the first three quarters of the year, but did so only by virtue of its spend decline being smaller than for automotive (-0.8% and -4%, respectively).
  • Total year-to-date ad spend by the top 10 advertising categories is up by 1.5%, with the strongest gain registered by the insurance sector (+14.4%).

About the Data: Kantar’s full explanation of its methodology can be found at the link above.

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