Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Brand Advertising (or the Lack Thereof)

Yesterday I wrote a bit about brand advertising on the web and out of curiosity today I looked up the top digital advertisers versus the top overall advertisers. I didn’t spend a ton of time with this, so if someone finds better numbers please let me know. Anyhow, the top 10 advertisers from Q1 2010 are pretty much exactly what one would expect:

  1. Procter & Gamble Co
  2. AT&T Inc
  3. General Motors Corp
  4. Verizon Communications Inc
  5. Pfizer Inc
  6. News Corp
  7. Johnson & Johnson
  8. Time Warner Inc
  9. Walt Disney Co
  10. General Electric Co

Now I’m sure there’s been some movement in that, but the basics are pretty consistent: P&G tops the list with a roughly 40 percent bigger spend than anyone else. Following that are some carriers (AT&T, Verizon), entertainment companies (News Corp, Time Warner, Disney) and then some all around giants (GM, Pfizer, GE).

Compare that list to the top top 10 internet advertisers from 2009:

  1. Scottrade
  2. TD Ameritrade Brokerage
  3. FreeScore.com
  4. Verizon
  5. E Trade Financial
  6. Sprint
  7. Netflix.com
  8. Scottrade Stock Brokerage
  9. LowerMyBills.com
  10. E Trade Financial

Other than Verizon at 4 and AT&T at 12, not a single player from the overall list shows up in the top 50 (from 2009). Now this could be for a few reasons I guess (not measured properly, spent in non-working), but generally when you look at that second list you see a whole bunch of direct response advertisers. No one has been able to convince big brands in any sort of serious way that the web is a viable medium for doing brand advertising. This isn’t a new idea, but I had never thought to compare the two and it’s astounding to see that second list.

February 13, 2011