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Pathmatics Blog

Digital Marketing Strategies for Top Brands: Disney, Amazon and Geico

March 23 2021 by Sarah Fleishman

How the biggest brands advertise online provides a lot of insight. Whether you’re a small, mid-size, or big business, gaining business intelligence about others can help drive your own digital marketing success. Typically though, to access this kind of data you’d either need to be an employee with high-level marketing clearance, or a member of their C-Suite. 

But there is another way, and it’s a lot simpler. You just have to be a friend of Pathmatics Explorer. 

(Luckily it’s really easy to befriend Pathmatics Explorer.)

For this brand study we’ll use Pathmatics Explorer to take a peak at the online advertising of some of the biggest businesses in the world — Disney, Amazon and Geico. Hopefully seeing some of the marketing strategies utilized by these brands will help you streamline your own efforts and growth.

Because that’s what friends are for.

How Much Do Disney, Amazon and Geico Spend on Advertising?

To start, let’s get an overall advertising snapshot of each of these three companies. 

As shown below, Pathmatics Explorer found that over the past 12 months, Disney has spent $466 million on digital advertising in the US. This ad spend has resulted in 52.5 billion impressions.

This strategy involved the use of 13,946 unique creative ads. The top performing ones are shown, promoting the animated Hulu series Solar Opposites, Disney’s streaming services, and Wandavision. Looks like Baby Yoda even made it in there. 

That little guy’s everywhere. 

Next let’s take a look at Amazon. 

Over the same period, they spent $537 million in digital advertising. This spend garnered 81 billion impressions through ads promoting their shopping services, audiobook services (by way of Audible), virtual assistant services (by way of Echo), and streaming services (by way of Amazon Prime and the greatest movie of the 21st Century — Valerian). 

Finally, let’s examine Geico. 

The popular insurance company and its commander-in-chief Gecko spent $311 million on online ads for 39 billion impressions. That ad creative focused primarily on promoting their auto and bundled services.

The next time you’re playing Trivial Pursuit: Digital Advertising Edition and you get asked, “Between Disney, Amazon and Geico, who spent the most on advertising?,” that pie piece will be yours. 

How Disney, Amazon and Geico Utilize Digital Across Their Brands

These three are so big that they segment their business operations into smaller sub-brands. And sometimes even sub-sub-brands. While looking at the business intelligence for the “mothership” is useful (as we did above), it is usually even more insightful when you look at these sub-brands individually and their properties.

Using Disney as an example, let’s get granular and take a look at how much of that total ad spend went towards promoting their inaugural Marvel branded Disney Plus series, Wandavision.

Here’s how we do it. 

Next to the company name we select the brand filter. 

Here we see the different Disney brands we can analyze. 

We filter down through Disney Plus shows to view advertising insight specifically for Wandavision.

And voila!

Disney spent $16.6 million advertising Wandavision. This amounted to 3.5% of their total ad spend.

Here’s another example, where Pathmatics Explorer found that Amazon spent around 9% ($47 million) of its total ad spend promoting Audible. 

And lastly, we see that Geico spent around 5% ($15 million) on advertising its motorcycle insurance services.

Compare that to the nearly 30% (90 million) they put towards promoting their bread-and-butter service — auto insurance.

Where Disney, Amazon and Geico Advertise

Now that we’ve got a grasp of how much these companies spend on advertising, let’s see what channels they use most.

Here are the top five places Disney advertises on.

Notably, a vast majority of their ad spend (56% with $13 million) goes towards YouTube

Similarly, Amazon places an emphasis on advertising through social media, just in a different order than Disney. Here’s the online retailer’s top five advertising channels.

Geico is a little more varied in their choice of channels. 

Though, looking at these three it’s clear, YouTube is the clear winning channel of choice for advertising between them. (No surprise given that we found it ranks as the most popular website to advertise on right now.)

What Locations Disney, Amazon and Geico Target for Advertising

Spend? Check. Channels? Check. What’s next? How about geography. Let’s see what locations each of these three companies prioritize for advertising in the US.

While all three spend the most advertising to markets in California, Texas and Florida, it’s when we analyze their per city spending that a clearer picture of their different strategies emerges.

Disney focuses on New York, LA and San Francisco first and foremost, with 16% of their advertising effort going towards those markets.

Amazon places equal emphasis between reaching Los Angeles and New York, then ticking off the countries other most populous cities.

While Disney and Amazon regulate a higher spend to the two coasts, Geico is more diversified in their advertising, as shown below.

Interestingly, Geico spends more than the others on New York and then goes after a very different geographic marketing strategy beyond.

What Does This Advertising Insight Mean For Your Business?

While knowing how Disney, Amazon and Geico advertise successfully might not provide all the insight you need to get a leg up on your competition, it is always useful to see how other successful businesses operate. 

For one, it can save your team a lot of time and money in research and development. (There is a reason why all three advertise hard on YouTube and it’s not because they picked it’s name out of a hat.)

Through this brand study we’ve also shown some of the ways to gain similar advertising data about your competitors. The process for gaining business intelligence remains the same, and what we did here can be applied just as easily to your industry. 

All you need to do is to call upon your friendly neighborhood Pathmatics Explorer.

About Author
Sarah Fleishman

With over a decade of experience across digital marketing, content, creative, and PR, Sarah is a creative and dynamic thinker who loves to delight clients with unique and relatable content. Sarah graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Sociology.

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