The amount of money TV advertisers spend on ads designed for consumers to visit the sponsor's website has jumped since 2014 to a high of $2.87 billion, according to a report from iSpot.TV.
Advertisers spent less than $2 billion on ads driving viewers to their URLs in January 2014, when iSpot.TV started tracing ad spending. Spending grew, peaking in January 2017 and settled in at about $2.5 billion in March.
Bigger advertisers who spend more on their brands and buy commercials in higher-priced, higher-rated programming have been emphasizing their websites in ads, leading to the increase in spending, according to iSpot.TV.
Spending on ads with phone numbers has also risen from about $500 million in January 2014 to $1.25 billion in January 2017. Spending has fallen off since the beginning of the year to about $900 million in March.
Spending on phone ads was much higher than spending on ads featuring hashtags, iSpot.TV said.
Since 2012, the percentage of TV commercials containing the sponsor’s URL has hovered at about 60%. In 2017, 57% of TV ads contained a website call to action, iSpot.tv said.
The percentage of ads with no call to action was above 40% in 2012, dipped, and then climbed back to just under 40% in 2017.
An old-fashioned phone number has been featured in commercials since 2012. More ads urge people to make a phone call than try to get viewers to follow them on Twitter or check out their Facebook pages.