- Total U.S. ad spend in 2018 reached $151 billion, a 4.1% increase over the previous year, according to Kantar Media data shared with Marketing Dive.
- Procter & Gamble remained the top advertiser for 2018, increasing spend by 4.7% to reach $2.9 billion. AT&T spent $2.2 billion, a 6.1% decrease over 2017, followed by Berkshire Hathaway with $2 billion, a 4.8% increase. Comcast spent $1.9 billion, a 21% increase. Amazon, which ranked No. 5, increased its ad spend by 72.5%, reaching $1.8 billion.
- The retail sector was the top spender at $17.8 billion, a 5.4% increase over 2017. Automotive ranked No. 2 with $14.3 billion, a 3.3% drop, followed by Telecom with $8.6 billion, a 1% increase. Political and Organizations increased spend by 93% to $6.7 billion.
P&G, one of the largest consumer packaged goods brands worldwide, remains the top-spending advertiser despite working to trim waste and create efficiencies in its marketing strategy. The company posted an organic sales growth of 4% for Q1 2019, its strongest performance in the past five years, even as it spent 6% less on marketing. P&G was displaced by Samsung as the top spender among marketers in Ad Age research from late 2018 that takes a wider look at spend across advertising, marketing services and digital marketing.
While P&G is spending less on marketing, the marketer continues to focus advertising that makes an impact. However, recent efforts to take a more issues-based approach to messaging has met with mixed results. The company has seen backlash over the past couple of weeks, following a video for its Gillette brand, "We Believe," which tries to tackle toxic masculinity. The video helped the brand rack up millions of social media mentions, but 63% of consumer sentiment on social media was negative, a BrandTotal analysis found. P&G said the campaign hasn't impacted sales during a conference call to discuss quarterly results, Ad Age reported. P&G's grooming business, which includes Gillette, was the company's only segment to experience a decline in organic sales last quarter, but that was before the release of the controversial campaign.
Amazon increasing its advertising spend by 72.5% underscores how the site is striving to attract shoppers in its ongoing effort to dominate the e-commerce space and compete with rival Walmart and grow its Prime subscriber base. Amazon surpassed Google for product searches from 2015 to 2018, a Jumpshot report revealed. Amazon has an 80% share in many categories, while Walmart, which has a much smaller share, is growing 3.5x faster than Amazon, which still has room to grow in categories, like women's clothing, furniture and beauty.
Along with the growth in U.S. ad spend, global ad revenue was projected to jump 7.2% in 2018 to $522 billion, the strongest growth since 2010, according to the winter 2018 update of Magna Advertising Forecasts, which also increased its 2019 forecast for ad growth to 4.7%. On the digital front, 64% of marketers are planning to increase their digital marketing budgets "marginally" in 2019, and 24% plan to increase budgets significantly, per Ascend2 research.