Special Report—Verizon regains advertising lead in April from AT&T

Verizon pushed its “Surprise: Trade-In” ad during the month of April. (Verizon)

Verizon outspent its rivals in terms of TV advertising during the month of April, according to advertising measurement company iSpot. 

That finding is notable considering AT&T outspent Verizon and the rest of the wireless industry's major players by a wide margin during the month of March. According to March data from iSpot, AT&T spent an estimated $71.2 million during the month of March on TV ads. Much of the carrier's spending during the period was in college basketball programming.

But AT&T appears to have dramatically scaled back that spending last month; the company spent only $18.8 million on six spots that ran over 7,000 times during the month of April, according to iSpot. That figure put Verizon firmly in the lead during last month: Verizon spent an estimated $33.3 million on 20 spots that ran over 5,400 times, according to iSpot.

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Overall, during the month of April, 19 brands in the wireless space spent an estimated $183.8 million collectively on 117 commercials that aired over 41,700 times and generated 10 billion TV ad impressions.

Every month, FierceWireless partners with iSpot.tv, 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 April 1-30.

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

1. Verizon

  • spent an estimated $49.7 million on 11 spots that ran nearly 8,700 times
  • generated nearly 2.3 billion TV ad impressions
  • prioritized spend on these networks: TBS, ABC and NFL Network
  • prioritized spend on this programming: NBA Basketball, the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament and NHL Hockey

The Verizon ad with the most spend (est. $16.7 million): “Surprise: Trade-In,” featuring Thomas Middleditch. 


2. T-Mobile

  • spent an estimated $33.3 million on 20 spots that ran over 5,400 times
  • generated 1.4 billion TV ad impressions
  • prioritized spend on these networks: NBC, ABC and Fox
  • prioritized spend on this programming: NBA Basketball, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

The T-Mobile ad with the most spend (est. $7.9 million): “Busted

3. Sprint

  • spent an estimated $33.1 million on 14 spots that ran over 7,000 times
  • generated over 1.6 billion TV ad impressions
  • prioritized spend on these networks: ABC, AMC and NBC
  • prioritized spend on this programming: NHL Hockey, NBA Basketball and The Walking Dead

The Sprint ad with the most spend (est. $10.5 million): “Share the Love: Get Two Amazing iPhones

4. AT&T Wireless

  • spent an estimated $18.8 million on six spots that ran over 7,000 times
  • generated 1.5 billion TV ad impressions
  • prioritized spend on these networks: TBS, NBC and AMC
  • prioritized spend on this programming: the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament, The Walking Dead and NBA Basketball

The AT&T Wireless ad with the most spend (est. $8.9 million): “More for Your Thing: 50 Percent Off Smartphones

5. Boost Mobile

  • spent an estimated $13.7 million on four spots that ran over 5,200 times
  • generated over 844 million TV ad impressions
  • prioritized spend on these networks: Univision, ABC and Telemundo
  • prioritized spend on this programming: NBA Basketball, The Late Late Show With James Corden and MLB Baseball

The Boost Mobile ad with the most spend (est. $6.2 million): “Three Lines for $100 a Month


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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