Tools & Resources: Comparing the Data
When you get right down to it few ad categories have seasonal swings. Using data from Competitive Media Research, a year-to-year monthly look at total ad spending shows bipolar swings for autos and department stores. Other top product categories are consistent.
Auto accessories and equipment are far and away the biggest product category for the past year. Concurrent with new model year introductions, it spiked in September and October and dove in January. A more interesting dynamic may be happening in the department store category. It spiked to second place in November and December in conjunction with the holiday selling season. It did not make much of a climb last year for back-to-school selling in August. Now that Kmart is in substantial financial trouble, it will be interesting to see if other retailers pick up the back-to-school advertising as a way to grab market share among consumers.
Another product category worth watching is telecom, which looks to be starting a downward trend. With financial strife shaking the foundation of that business, its ad spending compared to last year could take a hit.
Ad Spend by specific media definitely takes a lot of fuel from fourth quarter spending. Magazines, newspapers and network TV all posted big jumps last year despite post-Sept. 11 ramifications in the stock market and in consumer spending. After hitting a low point in January, magazine spending looks like it’s on track for an upturn. Magazines show the biggest troughs and valleys of any other media over the past year.
For all its positive press, Spanish-language TV ads haven’t climbed much in revenue over the past year. Radio, syndication, outdoor and online, as their individual research patterns have shows, are all jockeying for ad dollars that don’t make it to big brand-building media and are on no pace to show healthy upward trends for the year.