I Lied When I Said I Would Change

Just yesterday I said I was going to try and write less. I am going to try, but I’m telling you now that I’m going to be unsuccessful.

This Nielsen report on first half 2007 advertising spend is full of interesting conundrums! For instance, it reports that H1-07 ad spend is down 0.5% from H1-06, but that spend at the top ten advertisers is down 7.3%. That means (using conservative assumptions) that the rest of the advertisers actually increased their aggregate ad spend by 0.4%. Who benefits from advertising dollars going up at small advertisers? Search, perhaps?

Another conundrum: if you take out the auto manufacturers, ad spend increased. This is interesting because, by my calculations, US auto sales fell by 2.2% in H1-07 compared to H1-06. Historically this would have meant an increase in auto advertising. Perhaps the auto manufacturers’ CMOs were a little slow on the uptake, or perhaps not.

The hard part of all this for me is that this report is about advertising spend in major media, not marketing spend by companies. Lead purchases would not show up in this. Direct marketing does not show up. My argument–that marketers will move dollars from non-accountable advertising to more accountable marketing, like lead gen–is neither supported nor contradicted by this data. I would love to see total marketing spend across the US economy (or even a representative subsector, like public companies) from H1-06 and H1-07. Anyone have that data?


  1. I can’t really speak to the offline figures and methodology, but the online numbers are way out of whack, as we showed in our September analysis at CPM Advisors: Adrelevance data overstated

    Worth considering when you’re assessing the value of the market watchers’ data…

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