NEW YORK: Pharmaceutical companies posted the greatest increase in brand-activation marketing operator revenues last year, according to a report from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the trade body, and PQ Media, the research firm.

This finding came from a recent study that covered expenditure on brand activation – a discipline that spans content, experiential, influencer, promotional, retailer, and relationship marketing. The study looked at 21 industry verticals in all.

And the analysis indicated that marketing operator revenue from pharma brands rose by 7.4% on an annual basis in 2016, although the sector’s market share in this space remains comparatively modest, at 1.7%.

Second place on the growth charts went to automotive (up 7.2%), the study revealed, just ahead of the technology and healthcare segments (both up 7.1%).

Consumer packaged goods came next (with a 6.9% improvement year on year), followed by brands in the travel, tourism and transportation industry (up 6.8%).

Retailers made the greatest use of brand activation in 2016, delivering a 10.6% share of marketing operator revenue, according to the ANA and PQ Media.

More specifically, companies in this category logged an increase of 5.1% year on year on this measure, a total lagging the cross-industry average by 1.2 percentage points.

Among the research’s further findings were that content marketing was particularly attractive to automakers, which delivered $2.6bn in marketing operator revenue from this output, beating out any other category in dollar terms.

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) recorded the highest operator revenue on experiential marketing, on $5.3bn. Insurance, with a 10.4% uptick, saw the most significant expansion in experiential activity on the same measure.

Looking ahead, the study predicted that retail will retain its place as the leader in terms of brand activation this year, yielding marketing operator revenues of $37.6bn at the end of 2017.

By this time, the food vertical should also have surpassed the $20bn-threshold for the first time. Tech and pharma brands, the ANA and PQ Media added, are likely to post the fastest growth.

Data sourced from WARC