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Pathmatics Blog

The Buying Strategy Behind Telecom’s Top Advertisers

April 29 2016 by Jordan Kramer



The Telecom category has been heating up its media presence across channels, taking the lead on mobile for the First Quarter of 2016. Communications giant Verizon was also the top display advertiser for Q1, demonstrating that wireless service providers have big budgets to spend on digital, across all channels. Diving into mobile+tablet, AT&T ranked 3rd by impression volume for Q1, followed by Verizon in 5th place, Sprint in 9th, and T-Mobile coming in at 14. 
The big four mobile telecom companies have very different buying strategies on mobile+tablet, with some preferring direct buys while others are relying on partners. Read on for mobile buying insights behind AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile’s digital strategy.


AT&T was the top wireless service provider in the Telecom category, and second overall to Sling TV (by Dish). Ad Networks dominated as the top buying channel for AT&T, with 50% share of impressions, and favored partner Advertising.com, which served 28% of AT&T’s mobile and tablet impressions. Direct buys accounted for 40% of AT&T’s total mobile impression share, led predominantly by direct targeting of top site, espn.go.com. Other prominent sites for the wireless company were walmart.com, att.yahoo.com, answers.com, and wikia.com.
Source: Pathmatics US Mobile Data, 1/1/16-3/31/16.


Verizon made a strong push during Q1 on desktop and video, but settled for second to AT&T on mobile. With the highest usage of trading desks in comparison to the three other wireless providers, Vivaki (Publicis) served 27% of Verizon’s mobile and tablet impressions. Overall, the top partner was Advertising.com, serving 35% of Verizon’s mobile ads and bumping ad networks to the top buying channel for the telecom company. Direct buys trailed by impression volume, at 17%, and were reserved for sites such as eBay.com, cnet.com, and nfl.com, which were all targeted directly.
Source: Pathmatics US Mobile Data, 1/1/16-3/31/16.


On the opposite end from Verizon, Sprint favored a direct forward strategy during Q1, accounting for 82% of mobile and tablet impressions served. Amazon.com, nascar.com and mlb.com topped the direct sites for Sprint, with the award for top overall site going to Amazon.com. Ad network Triad Retail Media was the top partner with 9% share of impressions, followed by Vivaki (Publicis) with 7% share.

Source: Pathmatics US Mobile Data, 1/1/16-3/31/16.


Following Sprint’s lead, T-Mobile’s buying strategy included primarily direct buys, taking 75% share of mobile and tablet impressions. DoubleClick Bid Manager was the top DSP partner for the brand, while Google AdX + AdSense and RadiumOne were the top ad networks used. Top sites for T-Mobile included eBay.com, amazon.com, and cnet.com.
Source: Pathmatics US Mobile Data, 1/1/16-3/31/16.
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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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