Interpreting Your Competitive Spending Analysis Report

by Tinamarie Vedder | June 2, 2015

CSA logoEvery month, cj sends a Competitive Spending Analysis (CSA) Report for each of your markets. In a nut shell, this report gives us a general idea of how your firm’s TV spending stacks up against your competitors. You’ve probably looked at this and thought “Wow, they spend how much?” or “How am I still the number two spender?” Keep reading — perhaps I can answer some of those questions for you.

First, how does cj get this information?

We use Nielsen Ad*Views, which pulls the average rates and ratings for the demographics and time period when your spots and competitor’s spots have run. This gives us an estimation of their presence per station. Nielsen can’t capture how much cj or any other agency specifically pays for TV spots, because everyone negotiates those rates differently; some may pay more, some may pay less. Since we know exactly how much you’re spending, we can compare your Nielsen-estimated spend to your actual spend and make the assumption that they’ve overestimated or underestimated the same for other advertisers. That’s why on the top left corner of the report, you’ll see an over- or under-estimation percentage and your actual broadcast spend for that month. It’s not a perfect method, but it’s consistent.

Also keep in mind that this report only accounts for the bigger stations (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW) and typically doesn’t include spend on any of their digital stations. Pay close attention to the station notes section of the report for these details and more.

If you’re ever curious about other markets, cj has reports for the top 130 markets and not just the market you’re advertising in.

Our Four-Part Analysis

We compare each report to the previous month’s report and provide you with a four-part analysis.

  1. We’ll make note of whether or not your firm moved up or down or stayed at the same position.
  2. We report if any of your competitors changed positions.
  3. If there is a new competitor in your market that spends over $1,000 a month on TV advertising, we’ll let you know that too.
  4. Lastly, we tell you if any of your top competitors dropped out of the market.

Why We Use It

Arnie would prefer we ignore it, but the CSA report does tend to give us a general idea of the market landscape, which can help explain some of the changes you might be experiencing from one month to the next.

If a new firm starts advertising in your market, we’ll research the firm, pull their TV spots on Adscope and provide you with any information we find.

If a competitor decides to spend a ridiculous amount of money one month, their increased TV exposure could explain a lower call month for you.

We don’t make buying decisions based off of this report. If you see a competitor spending a significant amount of money on a station and you’re not, that’s ok. Because we have unique tracking of your data, we’ve found a more efficient way to spend your advertising dollars.

We know it can be frustrating not seeing your firm listed in the number one spending position. The bottom line, being the number one spender in a market shouldn’t be your main goal. You can be the number two spender and still be the number one firm in your market. And for some of our younger cj firms, remember what Arnie says: “The turtle’s slow and steady pace wins the race.”

As a reminder, you can also access this information 24/7 at, including information on each cj market (not just yours).

For any additional thoughts or questions, reach out to your Client Services team.