T-Mobile outspent rivals in TV ads in May

T-Mobile spent an estimated $14.2 million on its “Busted” ad. (T-Mobile)

T-Mobile spent more money on TV advertisements during the month of May than its larger rivals—a noteworthy development considering Verizon and AT&T typically spend the most money on TV ads.

T-Mobile's spending on TV ads was recorded by iSpot. The firm found that the company spent a total of around $40 million on TV advertisements during May—just outspending Verizon's $39.6 million and AT&T's $17.5 million.

During April, Verizon was the biggest spender in the wireless industry, dropping an estimated $49.7 million on TV ads. And in March, AT&T spent an estimated $71.2 million on TV ads, dramatically outspending the competition.

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Overall, 19 brands spent an estimated $212.8 million on 102 commercials that aired over 53,900 times and generated 11.5 billion TV ad impressions.

FierceWireless has partnered with iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from more than 8 million smart TVs, to bring you a monthly snapshot of the wireless industry's advertising spending. The results below are from May 1-31.

Here’s how the top brands allocated their national TV advertising budgets:

1. T-Mobile

  • spent an estimated $40.7 million on 11 spots that ran over 8,400 times
  • generated over 1.8 billion TV ad impressions
  • prioritized spend on these networks: NBC, ABC and Fox
  • prioritized spend on this programming: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, NBA Basketball and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

The T-Mobile ad with the most spend (est. $14.2 million): “Busted


2. Verizon

  • spent an estimated $39.6 million on 14 spots that ran over 9,000 times
  • generated 2 billion TV ad impressions
  • prioritized spend on these networks: TNT, NBC and Fox
  • prioritized spend on this programming: NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey and NBA GameTime

The Verizon ad with the most spend (est. $10 million): “Roadside,” featuring Thomas Middleditch

3. Sprint

  • spent an estimated $32.8 million on 12 spots that ran over 7,300 times
  • generated over 1.6 billion TV ad impressions
  • prioritized spend on these networks: NBC, ABC and ESPN
  • prioritized spend on this programming: NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey and The Voice

The Sprint ad with the most spend (est. $16.6 million): “Sprintern: iPhone X Face ID

4. MetroPCS

  • spent an estimated $19.1 million on seven spots that ran over 3,800 times
  • generated 968.1 million TV ad impressions
  • prioritized spend on these networks: NBC, Fox and ABC
  • prioritized spend on this programming: NBA Basketball, The Voice and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

The MetroPCS ad with the most spend (est. $14.7 million): “Peace of Mind: Two Months Free

5. AT&T Wireless

  • spent an estimated $17.5 million on five spots that ran over 6,300 times
  • generated over 1.1 billion TV ad impressions
  • prioritized spend on these networks: NBC, Univision and Fox
  • prioritized spend on this programming: NBA Basketball, The Voice and NHL Hockey

The AT&T Wireless ad with the most spend (est. $8.1 million): “More for Your Thing: Samsung Galaxy S9


iSpot's data do not include copromotions or local market data. Click here for more information 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 promotions.

The company tracks hundreds of millions of explicit interactions with TV ads across roughly 100 million unique consumers. These 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.

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

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