August 20, 2019

There’s definitely a car theme running through the latest advertiser rankings in radio, TV and cable. Just past the halfway mark of 2019, the top advertising categories are all related to driving: automotive dealers, insurance providers and fast casual-quick service restaurants.

For instance, local auto dealers revved up the number of Radio spots they aired in the first several months of the year, finishing far ahead of any other category during the same period, according to Media Monitors’ latest rankings of the top advertisers of 2019. The analysis covers the period from January 1, 2019, through July 31, 2019.

For these advertisers, it appears that strategy is paying off. June’s overall retail sales rise of 0.4% was driven by a 0.7% increase in auto sales, according to the Commerce Department. Car sales had a similar gain in May.

Meanwhile, as more consumers hit the road with their new vehicles, they’re in the market for auto insurance. With insurance premiums rising every year – they’re now 23% higher than they were in 2011, according to The Zebra’s 2019 State of Auto Insurance report – new auto buyers are likely to shop around. To get their brand in front of interested consumers, insurance providers are right behind auto dealers in the number of spots they’ve aired this year.

Local Auto Dealerships Focus on Radio and TV

Local car and truck dealers led the way in the number of instances, focusing their advertising on both radio, where they broadcast the highest number of spots (7,659,729), and on TV, where they ranked 10th for instances (2,537,737).

On television, legal services topped the list. The category aired more than twice as many spots as local dealers, even though it included far fewer advertisers – 1,619 compared to 4,254.

At the same time, the insurance provider category ranked in the top three for each medium. Collectively, the advertisers aired most of their spots on cable (8,369,687), where the category ranked second. As a whole, they were number two in radio (5,280,802) and number three in TV (4,428,241).

The fast casual-quick service restaurant category ranked first among cable advertisers. The total number of spots for the segment was nearly 10 million. That achievement was accomplished by 156 advertisers. By comparison, the number two category was insurance, which aired 8,369,687 spots from nearly twice as many advertisers – 299.

Top 10 Advertisers

Home improvement advertisers, who advertised heavily in the spring, have held onto their top 10 spot in the rankings. In radio, the home centers & hardware store category has the fewest number of advertisers within the Top Ten on Radio (277) and ranks eighth for the number of instances. Yet, Home Depot, which tops the list of top radio advertisers, accounts for more than half of the spots aired in the category. The retailer was responsible for 1,777,560 instances. Meanwhile, its competitor, Lowe’s, ranked third.

Although insurance providers as a category ranked third – behind legal services and fast casual-quick service restaurants – three firms dominate the list of the top five TV accounts – with GEICO at number one, Progressive at number two and Liberty Mutual at number five.

Although insurance companies were four of the top 10 advertisers on cable – with GEICO ranking #1 – the top-ranked fast casual-quick service restaurant category also had a significant presence on the list. Three advertisers in this category ranked in the top 10, including Burger King, Taco Bell and Domino’s.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s aired more spots on radio (where it ranked fifth) and on TV (where it ranked third). It’s worth noting that three of these quick serve restaurants also offer a drive-up window – another tie to the car culture taking over the airwaves.

On radio, Ford Motor Company, which advertised heavily across all media, ranked number one, but FCA US LLC dominated the list with three of its models – Jeep, RAM and Dodge –ranked in the top 10.