Auto Ad Spending Down, Except Digital

Double-digit Web ad growth

Automotive advertising spending in the US dropped to $1.99 billion in Q1 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence. That was down more than 14% compared with Q1 2007.Ad spending is “sinking as fast as new car sales,” said Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at TNS, in a July 2008 Detroit Free Press interview. Mr. Swallen noted that consumers’ focus on fuel economy has cut into truck sales, which has affected ad spending. “A year ago, for every dollar spent on truck advertising, they spent 80 cents on passenger auto,” he said. “This year, the ratio of truck advertising to car advertising is almost 1-to-1.”Automakers have traditionally been the biggest advertisers in the country. General Motors is the fourth-largest advertiser in the US, and the company spent $535 million in Q1 2008, according to TNS data cited in a July 2008 Media Life article. GM spent $2.1 billion on ads last year, which was the third year in a row of lower ad spending for the company.

Last year total auto ad spending was down 10.8%, to $12.3 billion, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus data cited in the Detroit Free Press article.

If there is a bright spot in auto ad spending, it is online. Internet spending was up 57.9% last year, to $441.6 million. TNS put GM’s Internet spending alone at more than $212 million (excluding search and online video), 79% over the previous year’s spending.

eMarketer predicts double-digit growth for auto online ad spending through 2012, when it will reach more than $5.61 billion.

Learn how auto marketers are using the Web. Get your copy of eMarketer’s Automotive Marketing Online: Negotiating the Curves report.


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