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Ad Spending Tops $141 Billion In 2014

U.S. advertising spending increased by 0.7% in 2014, reaching $141.2 billion, according to new data published by Kantar Media. The moderate gains were driven mostly by TV spots in a year highlighted by several major events.

“Advertising growth in 2014 was primarily stimulated by the triple play of Winter Olympics, World Cup and midterm elections,” said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America. “Although total spending volume slowed in Q4, a majority of the top 1,000 advertisers actually increased their year-over-year spending during the period, a promising sign for the start of 2015.”

Overall, ad spending on television media rose by 5.5% last year, paced by a 14.7% jump on Spanish-language TV. Meanwhile, spending on online display advertising increased just 0.9%, although Kantar cautions that figure doesn’t yet include mobile or video advertising. As recently as 2013, though, ad spending on display media was up by 15.7%. Ad spending on magazines, newspapers and radio all decreased in 2014, continuing recent trends.

Last month, Counselor reported that spending on ad specialties in 2014 increased by 5.1% to reach a record $21.5 billion for the year. Click here to view ASI’s exclusive report on how distributors fared in the fourth-quarter and full-year 2014.

Within the 10 largest ad categories, spending declined by 1.6%. Automotive dropped 6.8%, food and candy slipped 3.2%, and retail fell 2.1%. Growth occurred in the categories of restaurants (0.1%), local services (4.7%), and insurance (7.8%). “Heated competition for market share among auto underwriters continues to drive their media budgets higher,” Kantar said. “The Affordable Care Act was a stimulus for increased ad spending by health insurers.”

Procter & Gamble remained the largest advertiser in the U.S., spending $2.6 billion in 2014, although that number represents a 14.4% decrease compared to 2013. General Motors, Toyota, and AT&T also cut ad spending last year, while Pfizer, Verizon and Berkshire Hathaway all increased their spending. Ad spending by mid-sized advertisers, which represent one-third of the market, grew at a faster rate than other segments, at 4.6%. Kantar terms mid-sized advertisers as those ranked between 101 and 1,000 in overall annual ad spending.