The top 5 wireless ads: Verizon dominates in September, while Straight Talk goes big with $12.7M spend

TracFone continues to advertise its Straight Talk brand. Image: TracFone

FierceWireless has partnered with TV advertising measurement firm to bring you a monthly snapshot of the wireless industry's advertising spending. The results below are for the top five biggest spenders among wireless industry brands from Sept. 1-30.

Although dipping slightly from August, September was another big month for wireless brands on national TV, where 20 brands spent an estimated $258.6 million running 111 spots 48,430 times. Check out how these figures compare with MayJuneJuly and August.

Here are the top five advertisers in the wireless industry during the month of September, and their top ads:

1. Back on top after slipping into second place in August, Verizon closed out September accounting for nearly 30 percent of the industry’s entire TV spend for the month. The brand spent an estimated $76.6 million running nine commercials over 9,200 times across 69 networks and 1,349 shows. In total, Verizon generated nearly 1.7 billion TV ad impressions – the ad with the biggest push, “iPhone 7 On Us,” generated more than 450 million of those.

2. Although dethroned by Verizon, T-Mobile definitely had a big month, with an estimated TV advertising spend of just under $50 million, or nearly 20 percent of the industry’s total spend. With 25 unique commercials in rotation, the brand put the majority of its muscle behind one ad, “Love Triangle,” that features Nicki Minaj and the Snapchat ghost. This ad alone ran 2,886 times, with nearly 800 of those airings occurring during primetime. The brand prioritized placements in football games, Fear the Walking Dead and America’s Got Talent.

3Sprint ran 12 spots over 10,100 times on national TV in September. Spending an estimated $45.7 million, the brand prioritized airings on NBC, FOX and Comedy Central, during programming including NFL Football, NASCAR and College Football. The brand’s top ad, “Yoga Mom,” accounted for over 35 percent of the brand’s spend and alone generated over 665 million TV ad impressions.

4AT&T Wireless closed out September in fourth place once again, spending an estimated $39.2 million running 15 ads 9,511 times on national TV. Prioritizing placements during football games  and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the brand managed to generate 1.2 billion TV ad impressions, with an average view rate of 89.9 percent (view rate is the percentage of an ad that is viewed on average across all airings of that ad), well above the industry average. “In Control” was once again the brand’s most-placed spot, generating 737 million TV ad impressions on its own.

5. Knocking MetroPCS from its usual spot on the leaderboard is TracFone's Straight Talk Wireless, which accounted for 6.8 percent of the industry’s total spend in September. Though only running three ads 1,180 times, the brand still managed to spend an estimated $12.7 million. Straight Talk Wireless racked up over 401 million TV ad impressions in September – the top ad, “A Better Way,” was responsible for 334.5 million of those. The brand spent the most running its ads during America’s Got Talent, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and American Ninja Warrior.

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 company tracks hundreds of millions of explicit interactions with TV ads across roughly 100 million unique consumersThese interactions include video plays, searches and social activity. The company also analyzes online views across YouTube and, 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.