Online ad spending of the top 25 US advertising companies

10 Sep

While there are companies that use nothing but online advertising, some companies still almost neglect the web. Most of these companies are the top overall advertisers. AdAge released the 2007 edition of the Top 100 US Advertising Companies (pdf, or via this html link) a while ago, but I stumbled upon it this weekend. Research documents like that always are fun to read.

It’s almost funny to see how some companies still avoid the Internet as an advertising opportunity. I took the top 25 companies (totaling a stunning $53 Billion) and listed both their advertising spending and their internet advertising spending.

# Company Total Advertising
(in billions $)
Internet Advertising
(in billions $)
In % of total
1 Procter & Gamble Co, 4.898 0.054 1,1%
2 AT&T 3.344 0.169 5,0%
3 General Motors Corp, 3.296 0.118 3,6%
4 Time Warner 3.088 0.091 2,9%
5 Verizon Communications 2.821 0.124 4,4%
6 Ford Motor Co, 2.576 0.099 3,8%
7 GlaxoSmithKline 2.444 0.015 0,6%
8 Walt Disney Co, 2.320 0.133 5,7%
9 Johnson & Johnson 2.290 0.034 1,5%
10 Unilever 2.098 0.028 1,3%
11 Toyota Motor Corp 1.995 0.056 2,8%
12 Sony Corp, 1.994 0.074 3,7%
13 DaimlerChrysler 1.952 0.045 2,3%
14 General Electric 1.860 0.061 3,3%
15 Sprint Nextel Corp 1.775 0.038 2,1%
16 McDonald’s Corp, 1.748 0.014 0,8%
17 Sears Holdings Corp, 1.652 0.024 1,5%
18 L’Oreal 1.456 0.008 0,5%
19 Kraft Foods 1.423 0.023 1,6%
20 Macy’s 1.361 0.005 0,3%
21 Honda Motor Co, 1.350 0.034 2,5%
22 Bank of America Corp, 1.334 0.043 3,2%
23 Nissan Motor Co, 1.328 0.029 2,2%
24 PepsiCo 1.322 0.014 1,1%
25 Nestle 1.315 0.021 1,6%
53.049 1,350.8 2,5%

Please note that it’s advertising spending in the US only, in billions of $. Hiring a web design company isn’t part of the online ad spending, for example. Banner advertising costs and Google AdWords click budgets, however, are included.

It’s almost stunning to see that four of the top 25 companies, GSK, McDonald’s, L’Oreal and Macy’s, spend less than 1% of their advertising budget online. Come on already, it’s 2007! Ok, the numbers above are last year’s, but still…
Only AT&T, Verizon and Disney spend 4% or more of their advertising budgets online.

It would have been great to dive into the online success of these companies measured by (for instance) #of Digg front page listings, StumbleUpon reviews or Del.icio.us favorites. Unfortunately, companies like P&G and Unilever each have hundreds of different brands, which would make these results inaccurate. Maybe if I had some spare hours left…

6 Responses to “Online ad spending of the top 25 US advertising companies”

  1. Glen Allsopp September 10, 2007 at 1:54 pm #

    haha I’m moving to south africa this month so all those spare hours will go, nice round up

  2. Wiep September 10, 2007 at 2:20 pm #

    Aaah, nothing beats exploring the habits of the top Netscape or Reddit users while relaxing on a South African beach, right ;)

  3. Eduard Blacquière September 10, 2007 at 2:59 pm #

    Interesting study and it indeed is almost stunning to see that so less budget goes online. It isn’t much better in the Netherlands as a recent study of Checkit shows (english version):

    http://www.checkit.nl/study_top_100_online_findability_2007.html

  4. Wiep September 10, 2007 at 3:20 pm #

    Eduard, I’ve read Checkit’s Online Findability report as well, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s a great report. What’s a Findability report without a proper SERP research?

  5. Website Design September 12, 2007 at 7:27 pm #

    While I would have guessed more is spent in online advertisements… It does make a bit of sense. Even in website design, it is rare that clients are able to fully appreciate the potential of getting popular on the web. This is because most of them don’t spend enough time online themselves. The list of companies above… you’ll see most of them have a target audience who probably aren’t online 24/7 like some of us. Just a though. Interesting post though.

  6. Aditya August 11, 2009 at 7:54 am #

    Interesting study and it indeed is almost stunning to see that so less budget goes online

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