Meet the Top 10 Digital Ad Spenders in 2017 So Far

September 14 2017
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We are now over halfway through 2017, and marching towards the end of Q3. Big brands have executed a good portion of their advertising budgets already, while some may be waiting for the upcoming holiday season to kick spending into full gear.
 
Which brands have had the biggest advertising budgets so far in 2017? Using Pathmatics’ digital advertising intelligence platform, we compiled the top ad spenders across desktop display, mobile display, desktop video, and mobile video for the first half of 2017. 
 

10 - Verizon

Spending just north of $61M across desktop display, desktop video, mobile display, and mobile video, Verizon came in as the 10th top digital spender for the first half of 2017. The telecom brand released nearly 2,000 creatives, focusing the majority of their budget on desktop display placements. Desktop video followed accounting for 37% of Verizon’s digital budget, but only generated 22% of the brand’s digital impressions. Nearly 90% of spend went direct to publisher, with their top ad network, Google AdX + AdSense, taking in a mere 3% of spend.

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9 - TurboTax

Coming in the 9th spot for H1 2017 was tax software giant TurboTax, dishing out over $63M across device-types. The bulk of the brand’s digital spend was on desktop display placements, accounting for 70% of their budget, and generating 7.9B impressions. Because business is seasonal, January and February are the top months by spend for TurboTax before one final push in April just before Tax Day. Preferring direct deals, almost 90% of spend went direct while the remainder of their budget went through Advertising.com primarily, in addition to trace amounts through other ad networks.

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8 - Microsoft

Barely edging out TurboTax, Microsoft spent $63.3M on digital advertising for the first half of 2017 putting them in the 8th top spot. Nearly 4,000 digital creatives were released across desktop display, desktop video, mobile display, and mobile video devices and formats. Their strategy was split primarily between desktop display and desktop video with almost equal share. As for impressions, desktop display garnered the most for the brand accounting for 65% share. Microsoft also went direct to publisher, shelling out 85% of spend on direct deals and dispersing the remaining 15% across several ad networks and DSPs.

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7 - Hulu

Spending over $65M on digital advertising, Hulu was the 7th top brand during the first half of 2017. The online streaming service dolled out 65% of their digital ad budget on desktop display placements, which brought in roughly the same share of digital impressions for the brand. The rest of their budget went mostly to desktop video, with a small percentage going to mobile display. Releasing just under 800 creatives over the six month period, over 90% of their budget was spent directly.

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6 - Toyota

Automaker Toyota came in the 6th top spot by advertiser spend during H1 2017, dishing out over $67M across devices. Desktop display proved to be the preferred channel for placements, accounting for 57% of the brand’s spend while bringing in nearly 70% of impressions. Desktop video followed with 36% of Toyota’s budget and the remaining 7% went mostly to mobile display placements. March was the top month for the automaker that released over 4,400 digital creatives in total during the six month period. Following suit with the rest of the top ten, approximately 90% of the brand’s spend went direct to publisher with ESPN ranking as the top site.

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5 - Amazon.com

Shelling out nearly $70M on digital advertising, Amazon ranked as the 5th top spender across device-types for the first half of 2017. Over 6,500 creatives were released by the behemoth brand, garnering over 8.7B impressions in total. The majority of the brand’s budget, to the tune of 61%, was spent on desktop display placements. Desktop video followed as the second top device-type by spend, with a small amount of their budget going to mobile display and mobile video advertising. Three quarters of Amazon’s budget was spent on direct deals, and it’s not surprising that nearly 20% was funneled through their own ad network. YouTube was the top site by far, reaping in a quarter of the brand’s spend.

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4 - Samsung

Tech company Samsung spent just over $72 on digital advertising during H1 2017, returning approximately 5B impressions. The brand released nearly 2,000 digital creatives, focusing on desktop display placements which received 71% of Samsung’s budget. Peaking in May, desktop display also accounted for roughly the same percentage of impressions. The remaining portion of the brand’s budget was spent mostly on desktop video placements, with less than 10% going to mobile display advertising. Nearly all of Samsung’s budget went through direct means, and YouTube was the biggest priority for the brand taking in almost half of Samsung’s spend share.

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3 - Geico

Insurance company Geico, pushed the tables even further spending over $137M on digital advertising during the first half of 2017 gaining them early 10B impressions. Using a video-centric strategy, Geico invested 60% of their budget on desktop display placements and only 26% on desktop display. Focusing their strategy on YouTube, the brand spent the majority of their dollars on direct deals during top months of February and June. Desktop video returned just under 40% of the brand’s digital impressions, making desktop display the top channel for spend to impression ratio over the six month period.

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2 - Procter & Gamble

CPG giant Procter & Gamble blew away the rest of the competition, spending an incredible $153M+ on digital advertising, gaining the brand over 12.3B impressions. Over 3,500 unique digital creatives were placed across devices using a split strategy between desktop display and desktop video. Spend peaked in June, led by desktop display which brought in 6.5B of the brand’s impressions. The bulk of P&G’s budget was spent on direct deals, while the brand’s top partner, ONE by AOL accounted for 9% of spend. Walmart was the top destination for desktop and mobile display creatives, while YouTube was the top site for video placements.

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1 - Apple Inc.

Executing the biggest advertising budget so far for the year? That goes to Apple. Spending over $100M more on digital advertising than rival Samsung, Apple Inc. dropped over $177M in total during the first half of 2017. The computer & consumer electronics company focused 66% of their spend on desktop video placements, investing only 20% on desktop display creatives and 13% on mobile video ads. March represented the peak spending month for the brand that purchased 100% of their placements via direct buys. YouTube benefitted the most, banking 85% of Apple’s spend while returning roughly 8.8B impressions for the brand.

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How does your digital ad budget stack up to the top spenders in the US market? Whether your allowance is small or large, brand of all sizes benefit from in-depth digital competitive intelligence that details not only when brands or competitors are spending their budgets, but also on which sites and through which partners.
 
See how your competitor is spending their digital ad budget with a free report that rolls up their display strategy, uncovering spend and impression data, in addition to top creatives, partners, and sites:

Free Competitive Intelligence Report


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About Author

Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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