Industry Profile: 2018 TV Advertising for Auto and General Insurance

As 2018 winds down, we partnered with TV advertising attention analytics company for a deep dive into the insurance industry to see how it allocated budgets over this year. The data below covers Jan. 1 through Nov. 30.

Insurance — both auto and general — was the second-largest advertising category on TV (topped only by automakers), with an estimated spend of $3.9 billion, making it responsible for 6.1% of the total advertising spend on TV. That budget was spread out across 43 brands, which ran 549 ads 1.4 million times, generating a massive 272.7 billion TV ad impressions, or 4.3% of all impressions this year.

GEICO led the way, accounting for 27.9% of the total ad spend and 22.4% of the category’s total TV ad impressions.

The top networks by estimated spend were CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC and ESPN, while the programming with the most spend was entirely sports related: NFL led the way, followed by college football, the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament, NBA and the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Year-Over-Year Increases

When comparing 2018’s results to the same period in 2017, the insurance industry increased its metrics across the board:

  • 7.6% increase in spots (510 to 549)
  • 14.4% increase in airings (1.3 million to 1.4 million)
  • 11.8% increase in estimated spend ($3.4 billion to nearly $3.9 billion)
  • 40.5% increase in TV ad impressions (194 billion to 272.7 billion)

Audience Demographics

The 35-54 age range made up 36.6% of TV ad impressions, followed by the 55+ crowd (34.1%) and 18-34 year olds (29.3%). Males were slightly more likely to see insurance ads, accounting for 51.6% of impressions, followed by females (48.4% of impressions).

Looking at when insurance spots were seen, 87.2% of impressions were generated live plus same day, followed by 3-day time shifted.

Standout Creative

Allstate’s “Grounded” was the best performing ad for the category in 2018. With an attention index of 134, this ad was interrupted 34% less frequently than the industry average even after generating over 3.1 billion TV ad impressions.