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The Strategies Used by Q3’s Top Advertisers, Decoded by Ad Intelligence

December 11 2017 by Jordan Kramer

Did you know that, for the first time ever, desktop and mobile ad revenue exceeded TV spend in 2016?

So, you might be wondering, how are the highest spenders making the most of a hefty ad budget? Thanks to native ad intelligence, our team was able to identify trends and behavior of top advertisers over the course of Q3.

Starting with budget, Samsung and Procter & Gamble spent far more than other brands (roughly $80 million and $59 million, respectively). These two ad giants were followed by Hulu ($39 million), Geico ($36 million), and PepsiCo, Inc. ($35 million).


To uncover trends and commonalities across these leading spenders, we did an analysis of each advertiser profile using Pathmatics. (If you’re not familiar, an advertiser profile includes top creatives, daily spend and impressions, top sites, site spend share, and more.)  

Read on for the top lessons you can apply to your 2018 ad plan.

Desktop Display Still Dominates

While mobile has proved to be a strong contender for consumer attention, advertisers are still showing preference for desktop display. In fact, Samsung allocated 74% of all spend toward desktop. What’s more important, they’re also seeing the return—73% of all impressions originated via desktop. 

Another ad leader, Hulu, spent a whopping 85% of its budget on desktop. Procter & Gamble also spent a large majority of its budget on desktop (45%), but mobile display was a close second (37%). 

While both desktop and mobile are critical to a comprehensive ad strategy, desktop allows for more complex messaging and the room to feature larger visuals. It seems desktop will play a leading role for advertisers well into 2018.

Video Heats Up the Ad Space

It’s obvious that consumers love video, and advertisers are delivering.

Samsung spent $12.6 million on desktop video and $925,000 on mobile video in the third quarter. Plus, taking advantage of the video hype, Samsung chose YouTube as its top outlet for site spend (33%). 

Similarly, Hulu also allocated more than half of its ad budget toward YouTube (65%). The video on demand service also spent 10% of its total budget on its own desktop video ads.

And, if you need more proof, Geico spent more than half its budget (58%) on desktop video ads. And its top site to buy impressions from? You guessed it: YouTube. 

If you’re not doing video advertising, it’s time to start.


ESPN, Walmart Captured Millions in Ad Budget

Popular ad destinations vary by industry, but there were a few sites in Q3 that captured budget across trades—including ESPN and Walmart. 

Samsung spent 14% (upwards of $11 million) on ads with ESPN, and generated roughly 444 million impressions from the sports publication. Geico also spent a large portion on ESPN advertising—more than $4.5 million (13% of its budget).

Procter & Gamble, however, opted to invest in Walmart’s audience. The manufacturer spent 58% of its budget; that’s more than $34 million. Similarly, PepsiCo allocated $4 million toward Walmart customers.

While your site choice is based on many factors, you can use native ad intelligence to see where other big brands are having success.

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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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