T-Mobile was radio’s biggest national advertiser in 2020 according to an analysis of Kantar Media data by Ad Age. It says the telecom company spent $142 million on radio, or 19% of $756 million it spent on advertising last year. Comcast ranked second, spending $142 million. That was about three percent of its massive $5.2 billion in ad spending last year. It was followed by Procter & Gamble, which has championed its shift of more dollars to radio as part of its effort to spend more efficiently. P&G spent an estimated $131 million on radio last year. That may represent only three percent of its total ad spending, but with P&G spending more than $4.7 billion on advertising last year, even small shifts can add up to millions of dollars for radio. Ad Age says P&G also had the biggest budget growth in terms of actual dollars. Its 2020 spending was $435 million more than what it spent in 2019.
The top ten national advertisers spent a combined $961 million on radio. Three of the top ten – Geico, Progressive, USAA – came from the insurance category.
Overall, the Ad Age analysis shows that the top 200 national advertisers spent an estimated $2.2 billion on radio last year. That was more than double the combined take of newspapers and outdoor, although radio’s take was smaller than television’s $40.2 billion or magazine’s $3.8 billion.
The top national spender on advertising and marketing last year was Amazon, which spent an estimated $6.8 billion in 2020. Comcast ranked second with $5.2 billion in spending, followed by AT&T ($4.8 billion), Procter & Gamble ($4.7 billion) and the Walt Disney Company ($3.2 billion). The top five was the same in 2020 as in 2019.
The biggest year-to-year gain was made by DraftKings. The sports betting and gaming company increased its spending 155% to an estimated $381 million in 2020.
The 200 biggest U.S. advertisers cut their spending 6.2% last year to $165 billion, which Ad Age says was the second-biggest drop since it began releasing its annual analysis of national brands in 1956. The Great Recession downturn of 10.2% in 2009 still holds the record. And among the top 100, the average decline was bigger at 7.5%.
But the topline numbers do not tell the entire story since 93% of the top 200 increased their spending last year. And 42 of the top 100 did.