NEW YORK: Total ad spending by the top 200 advertisers in the US grew at the slowest rate in five years in 2014, as a new analysis shows measured-media spending falling while other forms of marketing grew.

The Leading National Advertisers report produced by Advertising Age said that measured-media spending – based on Kantar Media data covering traditional media and internet display advertising – fell by 1.8% over the year while that on other forms of marketing – estimates by the Ad Age Datacenter of spending on other digital advertising formats along with promotions, experiential and direct marketing – increased 6.5%.

Total spending amounted to $137.8bn, a 2.2% increase on 2013 and the slowest rate of increase since spending rebounded in 2010 following the global financial crisis.

The report found that spending had been reduced across all media bar broadcast TV and cable TV networks.

And the measured medium showing the greatest decline was internet display advertising which had fallen 13.3% on the previous year.

But "the story is not that marketers are pulling back – they are spending smarter," said Advertising Age.

And it quoted the comments of Jon Moeller, chief financial officer at Procter & Gamble, who said at an investor conference last month: "In general, digital media delivers a higher return on investment than TV or print."

The study further noted that the share of spending taken by unmeasured media was growing, up from 45.8% on 2013 to 47.8% in 2014, one implication being that other forms of digital advertising than display are gaining ground.

Overall, the top 200 advertisers accounted for just over half (50.9%) of US measured-media ad spending in 2014.

These were significantly over-represented in TV spending, under-represented in other measured media.

So, for example, the top 200 made up almost 80% of all broadcast network TV advertising and very nearly two thirds of cable TV network advertising. But they accounted for just 25.3% of spending in newspapers, 41.9% of spending in magazines and 40.6% of internet display expenditure.

Warc's International Ad Forecast, which sources Magna Global for US data, found total US advertising expenditure rose 1.4% in 2014. The all-media growth was spurred by a 15.6% increase in digital adspend.

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff