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September's Top Digital Advertisers 2016

October 19 2016
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Fall television shows are back in action - and no, I am not referring to the current Presidential debates and the fuel provided to the new season of SNL. But, in our recently released September Top Advertisers Report, politics and entertainment collided in the digital advertising world. Marking the first time we've seen a Presidential candidate rank as a top ten spender across desktop, mobile, or video channels, Donald Trump shelled out serious digital dollars recently on display ads skyrocketing him past brands like Monster Worldwide. On the entertainment side, networks eager to promote new series raced to YouTube to launch homepage takeovers reminding possible viewers to watch the premieres. Services such as Hulu and SlingTV also made their way back up the rankings to coincide with the new return of Fall TV.
 
Only three advertisers ranked as a top ten spender across desktop, mobile, and video - one of which was State Farm. The insurance and financial services company used a multi-channel strategy to target several different audiences with different campaigns ranging from a Dave Matthews concert to a series of home catastrophes. Read on for more highlights from September’s top digital advertisers and download the full report here.
 

Trump Ranks as the Ninth Top Desktop Spender

Spending over $7.8M on display advertising during the month of September, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. came in as the ninth top overall spender. Compared to Hillary Clinton’s $1.9M+ spend on desktop - Trump spent nearly four times as much. Releasing 344 unique desktop creatives for the month, Trump garnered over 910M impressions across an average of 279 sites per day.
 
The biggest spend and impression spike for Trump was due to a YouTube homepage takeover on September 27th, the day following the first Presidential debate. The campaign titled, “Get to Know Donald Trump” featured an in-banner video creative with Ivana Trump and friends of the Republican nominee talking about the Donald Trump they know. Following YouTube as Trump’s top desktop site for the month, AOL was also a heavy target reaping in 31% of the candidate’s spend. Additionally,  Advertising.com (AOL's ad network) was the top digital partner on desktop, with 13% of the total spend share from Trump’s direct-heavy plan (78% of budget dedicated to direct buys).
 
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 Placement on youtube.com’s homepage on September 27th. 
Source: Pathmatics US Desktop Data, 9/1/16-9/30/16.
 
 

CBS Battles ABC For Display Spend and Impressions

With all of the new Fall television shows starting in September, the networks had plenty of eyes to fight for on digital. CBS ranked as the third top desktop spender overall for the month, spending nearly $13.8M, and was followed closely behind by ABC Entertainment Group in fourth place spending $12.5M. The two networks flip-flopped with each other on YouTube, going back and forth with homepage takeovers from September 19th - September 25th. CBS ran YouTube takeovers on September 19th and 23rd promoting new shows, while ABC ran takeovers on September 21st and 25th for the same reason.
 
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YouTube was the top desktop site for both networks by far accounting for over 60% of spend for both CBS and ABC. When looking at the site-level data for youtube.com, CBS barely edged out ABC garnering 423.1M impressions to ABC’s 378.1M.
 
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CBS placement on youtube.com’s homepage on September 19th.
 
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ABC placement on youtube.com’s homepage on September 21st.
 
 

State Farm Spends Big Across Desktop, Mobile & Video

Jumping from the thirteenth top desktop spender to the runner-up position [behind Verizon], State Farm spent almost three times as much on display advertising in September compared to August. Following a trend, YouTube was the top desktop site for the brand with over half of State Farm’s spend. This was a result of two YouTube homepage takeovers during the month - one on September 11th and one on September 28th. The first takeover was to promote a sponsored Dave Matthews concert in a campaign titled “Neighborhood Sessions.” After a September 9th concert that aired on TNT, State Farm was pushing consumers to this page with a preview clip and link to a full recording. The second takeover was for State Farm’s “Say Hello” campaign encouraging people to ‘say hello’ to their neighbors on Good Neighbor Day.
 
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State Farm placement on youtube.com’s homepage on September 11th.
 
On mobile+tablet, State Farm rounded out the top ten spenders at number ten and ranked as the eighth top spender on video. Targeting a different audience of potential home buyers, Realtor.com was a huge focus for State Farm’s video strategy promoting home and auto insurance bundles. The brand spent 88% of their video budget on the site with comedic video creatives, gaining over 144M impressions. This one features a couple enjoying their new home and property, only to have the picturesque horses running in the distance...turn and run towards their house.
 

Creative first seen 8/4/16, last seen 9/27/16 on youtube.com. Source: Pathmatics US Video Data, 9/1/16-9/30/16.

Head over here to download the September report in its entirety.
 

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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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