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Amazon beat competitors in a new way this holiday season: Money spent on TV ads

Amazon spent around $135 million on TV spots during October and November.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Amazon hasn’t historically been a big spender on TV commercials for a company of its size. But that has started to change recently, as the company has been more aggressive in pushing its Prime membership program and new gadgets like the Echo voice-controlled speaker.

Here’s some data to prove it. In October and November of this year, Amazon outspent every brick-and-mortar retailer on TV ad spending, according to estimates from MediaRadar, a startup that tracks ad spending to help publishers court the right advertisers. Amazon spent around $135 million on TV spots during those two months, coming in $16 million ahead of Walmart and about $32 million ahead of Target.

The Amazon total marks an increase of 76 percent in holiday TV ad spending for the e-commerce giant over the same period in 2015, MediaRadar says. Target’s spending was also up big at 54 percent, while Walmart’s TV numbers fell by 10 percent.

Want a few more numbers? Okay! Just five years ago, Amazon spent only $156 million on ads in an entire year. And that total included digital video, banner ads and billboards in addition to TV commercials.

So, yeah, Amazon used to let its products and services do most of the talking. Now, as it looks for new avenues of growth for the already super-popular Prime program, it’s going to tell you about them too.

One caveat here is that MediaRadar’s numbers are indeed estimates; the company has several hundred people manually monitoring TV ads across more than 140 channels and then uses available data on advertising rates to project total spending.

But if you’ve watched any TV this holiday season, I think you’ll agree that these stats certainly pass the eye test. There’s been a whole lot of Amazon during commercial breaks.

Here’s one of the most recent Amazon spots. And it’s one that’s pretty hard not to enjoy.

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