Verizon ad spend leads wireless sector in 2016, but T-Mobile dominates online response post-Super Bowl

FierceWireless has partnered with TV advertising measurement firm iSpot.tv to bring you a snapshot of the wireless industry's advertising spending and digital engagement. The results below are for the top five biggest spenders in the wireless industry from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14.

Since the start of 2016, wireless brands have bolted out of the gate, spending more than $420 million on ads that ran more than 62,000 times across national TV. Verizon takes home the spending title again based on the past six weeks, followed closely by AT&T. Bolstered by Super Bowl ads, T-Mobile closes in third place, ahead of Sprint and MetroPCS.

Check out how these figures copmare with August, September, and November.

Here are the top 5 spenders in wireless in terms of advertising during the first six weeks of 2016:

1. Verizon accounted for nearly a fourth of the industry's spend during this period, with eight spots shown more than 9,300 times on national TV; those airings had an estimated media value of $103 million. The spend was mainly on "A Better Network as Explained by Colorful Balls," an ad that strives to illustrate the Verizon network's superiority with, you guessed it, colorful balls. It generated nearly 4 billion impressions on TV since the start of 2016.

2. AT&T placed 22 spots that ran 12,600 times -- the most spots and airings of any brand in the sector -- for an estimated media value of $87 million. Although coming to market with a wide assortment of commercials, it placed the bulk of its spend behind "Your Network" and "Video Chat," which racked up more than 1.3 billion TV impressions. In all, the brand had just over 2.7 billion impressions on TV since Jan 1.

3. Although accounting for less than 20 percent of the industry spend, T-Mobile leveraged its Super Bowl 50 ads into a mammoth digital response, accounting for nearly 80 percent of the sector's online engagement during the period. T-Mobile ran 17 spots a total of more than 9,000 times on national TV, generating more than 1.2 billion impressions with an estimated media value of $83 million. Although T-Mobile spent most on its "Burning Data" ad, another commercial, "Drop the Balls," earned the most social response.

4. Since the start of 2016, Sprint has run 10 spots more than 10,550 times across national TV; estimated media value: $58.5 million. Of those airings, more than 3,000 ran during primetime, generating 2.4 billion TV impressions. Sprint continues to put the bulk of its budget behind "The Biggest Deal in U.S. Wireless History," which since Jan. 1 has generated more than 1 billion TV impressions.

5. MetroPCS again takes fifth place, having run 12 ads nearly 6,700 times on national TV; estimated media value: $27.5 million. T-Mobile's sister provider spent most on its "Breakdance" ad.

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

In the last 30 days, the company tracked 710.2 million explicit interactions with TV ads across 101.5 million unique consumersThese interactions include video plays, searches and social activity. The company also analyzes online views across YouTube and iSpot.tv, searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo! and social activity on Facebook (including Facebook private views) and Twitter.

The company tags over 40 different dimensions of metadata, including brand, agency, actors, products, songs, moods, URLs and other pertinent data, to create its results.

Verizon ad spend leads wireless sector in 2016, but T-Mobile dominates online response post-Super Bowl
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