For a second consecutive year, the travel category posted the largest year-over-year growth in ad spend among the top 200 advertisers of 2022, according to Ad Age. The trade pub’s Leading National Advertisers report assigned a category for each of the top 200 ad spenders based on its primary advertised product or service. Travel had “the strongest ad growth far and away, with spending for nine travel marketers jumping 38% in 2022 as travel continued to accelerate from the pandemic lockdown,” according to Bradley Johnson, Ad Age's Director of Data Analytics.
Travel was also the top gainer in 2021 and the trend continued in 2023 with several travel firms delivering double-digit growth in first quarter 2023. The report singles out Carnival Corp. TripAdvisor, and Norwegian Cruise Line as the travel firms with the highest advertising growth among the top 200 advertisers, with spending exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
While travel exhibited the most growth, three categories led the industry in 2022 with the largest marketing investments: retail, entertainment and media, and financial services delivered the most tonnage with 91 marketers in these three categories making up half of the top 200’s 2022 U.S. ad spending. That includes 37 retailers that collectively boosted U.S. spending by 13%. Among retailers, 26 showed increases, Ad Age says.
The top 200 advertisers of 2022 included 25 entertainment and media firms that together increased spending by 12% in 2022, with gains at 19 companies. As the live events business roared back to life, estimated ad spending for promoter Live Nation Entertainment soared 84%, exceeding its pre-pandemic level and making it the biggest gainer in the category for 2022.
A total of 29 financial services companies together increased ad spending by 5%, including 16 that upped their ad budgets. But individual allocations varied widely. Online banking firm Ally Financial increased advertising 52% while large insurance carriers including Allstate, GEICO, Liberty Mutual, Progressive and State Farm cut their budgets.
“Financial services marketing remains a mixed picture in 2023, with higher interest rates and a slower housing market dampening demand for mortgages and refinancing,” writes Johnson. First quarter ad spending was up at American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Progressive but fell at Allstate, LendingTree, and Rocket.
The Ad Age Leading National Advertisers report ranks the 200 biggest U.S. advertisers, 200 most-advertised brands, top advertisers by medium and market leaders by category.