In the never-ending battle to gain market share and stand out as the “it” gadget of our time, technology advertisers are employing more aggressive tactics to convince consumers that they offer the fastest, smartest and most intuitive devices on the market. In 2013, they paid a premium for the attention: tech ad spend in the U.S. jumped to $723 million in Q1, up a whopping 30 percent from Q1 2012. This increase is especially noteworthy when compared with total spend across all industries, which actually declined 1 percent over the same period.
The technology industry hasn’t seen a first-quarter jump of this magnitude in several years—especially not when advertisers are exercising restraint in most other industries. But it speaks to a larger, recent trend of consumers’ willingness to adopt new technology, and advertisers are making sure they don’t miss an opportunity to connect with potential customers.
“Technology has become so widely available that it pervades every aspect of life to some degree,” said Randall Beard, global head, Advertiser Solutions for Nielsen. “But with increased accessibility comes increased competition, and companies are investing hefty sums into creating buzz around their biggest products in order to secure a share of this sizable market.”
As has been the case historically, the tax season led Q1 to be a big ad spend quarter for Intuit, the company behind personal finance programs TurboTax and Quicken. The quarter’s leading advertiser, however, was Microsoft. With an aggressive marketing strategy supporting newer products like its Windows Phone the Surface tablet and the Windows 8 operating system that contributed to a 200+ percent increase in ad spend over Q1 2012, the company knocked Intuit out of the No. 1 spot for the first time in five years. Other honorable mentions in tech ad spend for the quarter included Apple, Google and Amazon, none of which were strangers to the top tech advertisers list in previous years.
The technology product category comprises hardware and software products including but not limited to cameras and photographic supplies, computers, handheld music players, stereo systems, and others. The technology category is mutually exclusive of the telecom product category.