As advertisers adjusted their media plans in response to the pandemic and protests across the U.S., insurance providers increased their already stratospheric spending levels to new heights in second quarter 2020. The category aired a staggering 9.3 million spots across radio, television and local cable – an increase of more than 1.5 million instances compared to the same period in 2019, according to Media Monitors’ rankings of the top 10 advertisers from April 1-June 30, 2020.
On radio, where insurance companies often occupied three of the top 10 positions in the weekly spot count tally, the category took the No. 1 spot for the quarter. Insurers aired 803,954 more spots on radio in Q2 2020 than they did during the same period last year, per Media Monitors, which tracks advertising in 85 markets. Progressive topped the list with 867,967 spots, up from No. 4 during the same period last year. GEICO ranked No. 5 with 527,307, down from No. 2 one year earlier. Allstate was No. 7 with 461,944 spots after not appearing in the top 10 during second quarter 2019.
In further evidence of how the pandemic reshuffled the top 10 leaderboards, six of the top 10 radio advertisers are new to the list in 2020, including the U.S. Census Bureau, which ranked fourth. Its $500 million campaign featured more than 1,000 ads and had a goal of reaching 99% of U.S. households. The massive public education campaign was designed to communicate the importance of responding to the census and was set to run across all media from January 14 through June 28. The Census Bureau campaign helped push the Governments-Unions category to the third largest radio ad category during the quarter with 2.7 million spot detections, behind Public Service and Organizational Advertising which was No. 2 with 3.1 million.
Other newcomers on radio’s top 10 include Berlin, Germany-based subscription-based language learning app Babbel, Allstate Insurance, Quicken Loans, Vicks, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Capital One, according to Media Monitors data. Home Depot, which previously held the top spot, fell to sixth.
“First with the pandemic and then in response to protests, advertisers quickly pivoted their advertising, adjusting media plans and releasing new creative to address changes in consumer needs and expectations,” said Philippe Generali, President and CEO of Media Monitors. “Even in the uncertain environment, our analysis shows remarkable consistency from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020. Insurance providers, fast-casual-quick service restaurants and local car dealers remain the top advertising categories.”