The top 10 advertisers in wireless in 2015: From AT&T to Straight Talk

The nation's wireless carriers have long been big advertisers. From Verizon's "Can you hear me now?" spokesman to the Sprint Trench Coat guy, the wireless industry's major players have spent billions over the years to ensure that their messages get across.

But exactly how do these operators stack up in terms of advertising spending?

To answer that question, FierceWireless partnered with TV advertising measurement firm to bring you this snapshot of the wireless industry's advertising spending and digital engagement during 2015. The results are eye-opening.

As reported, in 2015 35 wireless brands placed 466 spots 440,000 times for a total ad value of $1.89 billion. The firm said that is an increase of $100 million, or 11.2 percent, from 2014, when 53 brands ran 421 ads, spending an estimated $1.7 billion airing ads 388,000 times.

But which companies were the biggest spenders last year? Here's how wireless companies stacked up during 2015 in their spending on advertising:

And here's how those numbers break down:

Interestingly, said 40 percent industry's entire TV ad spend occurred in the last 4 months of 2015. The firm said that, since Sept. 1, wireless brands have spent $780 million in TV advertising.

But what was the biggest wireless ad during 2015? iSpot said the most prolific (meaning, most widely seen) campaign was Sprint's "The Biggest Deal in U.S. Wireless History" campaign. This campaign, which introduced the carrier's promotion to cut in half the monthly service bills of its competitors, accounted for nearly 2 percent of the entire industry's spend in 2015, with Sprint spending more than $37 million on four variations of the advertisement.

Finally, iSpot also tracked digital engagement, or the success that various TV ads had in generating discussions on social media. While spending among the major advertisers in the wireless industry was fairly even during 2015, T-Mobile and AT&T emerged as the two winners in terms of "digital share of voice" -- the earned digital activity generated by each TV ad across social, online video and search -- with 38.2 percent and 31.8 percent digital engagement, respectively. Both brands gained a bump in response when compared to 2014, with T-Mobile rising from 25.7 percent to 38.2 percent, and AT&T rising from 15.1 percent to 31.8 percent.

ISpot's data does not include co-promotions or local market data. Click here for more on's methodology.

The company's software leverages proprietary audio and video fingerprinting algorithms to automatically identify and extract TV commercials, movie trailers and show promos.  

The firm said that its technology catalogs and tracks TV ads in real-time across the top 113 broadcast and cable networks, and monitors 900.8 million explicit interactions with TV ads across 128.7 million unique consumers per month.

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The top 10 advertisers in wireless in 2015: From AT&T to Straight Talk