Answered By: Colleen Mullally
Last Updated: Apr 20, 2018     Views: 21

How can I find a company's advertising expenditures?

Detailed instructions on accessing the databases and how to pull out the expenditure information from each database is provided below.

Locate a company's expenditures on advertising using the library databases:
  • LexisNexis Uni
  • Mergent Online
  • eMarketer



To access the library databases:

1.) Go to and click on the magnifying glass icon for databases/e-journals

2.) Locate the database (LexisNexis Uni, Mergent Online, eMarketer) from the alphabetical listing or by selecting Databases by Subject>Business/Economics.

Searching in LexisNexis Uni

LexisNexis Uni contains access to the Advertising "Redbooks", both the Standard Directory of Ad Agencies and International Ad Agencies as well as the Standard Directory of Advertisers and International Advertisers.

Listed within the company profile of the Standard Directory of Advertisers and International Advertisers is information about ad expenditures and the company's revenue. With access to these figures, it is easy to calculate the advertising %TR (divide the advertising budget over the company's revenue). 



Searching in Mergent Online

Mergent Online is an excellent resource for company financials. Included within the search results for a company will be the company's 10-K. The company's expenditures for marketing should be included in the 10-K. Mergent Online also allows users to build a report that compares the financials between companies. Use it to compare ratios of advertising expenditures between companies. There are two different sets of instructions below - one is for accessing the 10-K and the other is for building the ratios report for advertising expenditures for multiple companies.

Accessing the 10-K in Mergent Online

Building Customized Reports Comparing Different Advertising % with Mergent Online:

Example: I want to compare ratios for two companies in the same industry: Tesla Motors and General Motors and Ford.

  • Type tesla motors into the search box and click search
  • Click + to Company Analysis List at the top of the screen
  • Search for Ford
  • Click + to Company Analysis at the top of the screen
  • Go to "My Mergent Tools" on the right hand side and select Company Analysis List
  • Click the link for Company Comparison Report
  • Select your companies by clicking >>
  • Click the plus signs + for Financials
  • Click the types of ratios (and/or financials) that you need
  • Click > to add the ratios (and/or financials)
  • Click the box for Include Average
  • Select the years you want
  • Use the pull-down menu to select Microsoft Excel format
  • Click Create Report

Sometimes, the Advertising % is not available for every company in Mergent Online's comparison tool. In that case, obtain the missing advertising ratios by looking at the company revenue and ad expenditures in the Redbooks (see above section).

Using eMarketer
The eMarketer main page makes it easy to locate the Ad Spending resources under Research Topics.
Explore the Ad Spending Research Topics Page and locate information for different categories of ad expenditures by scrolling to the bottom of the Ad Spending page.

Using the Library's Print Materials

And finally, there is a print resource at the Drescher Library on the Malibu campus called Advertising Ratios and Budgets from Schonfeld & Associates, Inc. It is in the Reference area of the library REF HF 5801.A383 2017 and provides historical and forecasted advertising budgets and ratios covering the period 2011-2018. It shows spending levels of competitors within an industry, their advertising reinvestment rates, and their advertising growth rates.