Top Ad Spend By Advertising Category: How Do You Compare?

December 10, 2015


If there's one thing that's good to have in your advertising budget, it's diversity.


As we've discussed here on our blog before, putting all of your ad dollars in one place is a bad approach. If your agency isn't recommending new or different ways to spend your ad budget, chances are you're missing out on viable channels that could have significant impact.


Of course, what works well for one company or product will not always make sense for another. EDDM may be a good choice for a Mercedes dealership—but it likely wouldn't make much sense for a brand of chewing gum. Ultimately, the tactics and channels that work best for you will depend on what you’re selling and who you’re targeting. A good agency will go out of its way to match your needs to the best tactics for achieving your goals.


Which brings us to data on the top spend by advertising category from Advertising Age in 2014. Here’s how much was spent in 2014 in each category (sales in $ billions):


  • 72.5 sales promotion

  • 67.0 television

  • 52.9 telemarketing

  • 48.8 direct mail

  • 43.0 all Internet (includes display, radio, search, video, social, classified, etc.)

  • 30.2 event sponsorship

  • 21.1 newspaper

  • 17.7 magazine

  • 17.4 radio

  • 8.3 outdoor

  • 8.2 directories

  • 4.4 public relations

  • 0.8 cinema


Unsurprisingly, there is still a lot of money being spent on television, telemarketing, and direct mail. Less is being spent on newspaper, magazines, and radio. Internet continues its upward climb as social and mobile become more and more important. Between direct mail, newspaper, magazine, and outdoor, however advertisers are still spending almost $100B/year on print! Despite what many outsiders believe, print is still incredibly important today.


Examining your own advertising spend, how do you compare? Are you spending ad dollars on something not listed here? Spending significantly more (or less) on a given category as a percentage of your budget? Although there’s only so much to be learned from comparing yourself to industry averages, looking for significant discrepancies can be telling.


The most important question, perhaps, is this: do your ad tactics line up with your goals? Secondly, are you using all the channels you could be to find success in advertising? If you answered no to either of those questions, it may be time to reevaluate your spend.

Please reload

© 2018 Web Graphics, Inc.

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon