Auto brands have been shifting more of their budgets to internet advertising, but a new analysis of how carmakers around the globe spend marketing dollars shows TV still ranks first. Zenith Media says 54.9 percent of auto ad dollars went toward TV in 2018. “Television remains the best channel for conveying emotional brand images and sustaining them over time,” the ad agency says in its debut Automotive Advertising Expenditure Forecasts report. But it says declines in traditional TV ratings means the price of reaching the remaining TV audience is higher. “That’s now pushing brands to divert more of their spend to online video and other internet formats,” Zenith says.

It’s predicting that will mean that TV’s share of auto global ad dollars will slip a half point this year and decline to 53.1 percent in 2020. By comparison, Zenith says most other traditional media also are holding onto auto dollars “pretty well,” with the exception of print media. Overall, the U.S. is by far the biggest auto ad market in the world, with $18 billion spent on marketing cars last year. Yet it says carmaker ad spend in the U.S. has been in “long-term decline” with a 12 percent decline in ad spend between 2012 and 2018.