Phil Norris

Contributing Writer |

6 min read

Inside Samsung’s $150M+ display ad strategy: Can it overtake Apple?

Founded in 1938, Samsung is a South Korean conglomerate with affiliates selling everything from life insurance to engineering services to oil tankers.

But, from a B2C perspective, the company is best known for appliances and other electronics products. It’s the world’s second-biggest smartphone manufacturer, with a market share of 16.3 percent as of Q4 2023

Source: Statista

…and it’s also a major player in countless other consumer electronics niches, including smart TVs, refrigerators, and laptops.

With global revenues north of $200 billion, Samsung is clearly doing something right, so we decided to deep-dive into the brand’s ad strategy.

A brief history of Samsung’s ad strategy

Let’s start by rounding up a few advertising highlights from Samsung’s 80+ years in business:

  • 1999: “Samsung DigitAll: Everyone’s Invited”: This snappy tagline was created as part of the brand’s efforts to integrate digital home, mobile, and “personal multimedia” products. The campaign had a simple goal — to transform Samsung into the biggest digital product supplier on the planet. You can’t accuse them of being unambitious.
  • 2005: “Imagine”: By the mid-noughties, Samsung was a major global player — but it lacked a coherent brand image. The company aimed to change that with its international Imagine campaign, which showed how consumers could build a better life for themselves by — guess what? — buying Samsung products.
  • 2013: “Design Your Life”: Samsung leaned into its creative side with the Design Your Life campaign, which saw the release of a short film featuring a woman striving to reinvigorate her grandfather’s failing toyshop. All of which was designed to promote Samsung’s GALAXY Note 3 and GALAXY Gear devices (obviously).
  • 2017: “Do What You Can’t”: Launched in 2017, this campaign was all about defying barriers and achieving the impossible. Inspiring stuff. It saw a bunch of high-profile figures share their success stories, including gold medal-winning South Korean figure skater Sang Hwa Lee.
  • 2022: “Together for Tomorrow”: Launched at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), this campaign centered on showcasing customizable experiences and sustainable innovations. That’s a smart move, with NielsenIQ data finding that 48 percent of consumers want brands to take the lead on delivering sustainable change.

Where does Samsung spend its display ad bucks today?

We’ve looked at Samsung’s ad history. Now let’s fast-forward to the present day (well, 2023) and analyze how the tech giant currently spends its US display advertising budget, based on estimated data from Adbeat’s competitive analysis platform.

Ad spend and networks

Adbeat estimates show that Samsung spent a cool $152.2 million on display advertising in the US during 2023, of which the vast majority ($137.1 million) went toward YouTube.

In that sense, Samsung is similar to its fiercest rival in the global smartphone market, Apple, which spent two-thirds of its colossal $775 million US display ad budget for 2023 on YouTube ads.

And they’re hardly the only advertisers to bet big on video.

US digital video ad spend increased 21 percent year-over-year in 2022, and was expected to rise a further 17 percent in 2023. In our roundup of 2023’s top display advertisers, nine of the 10 biggest spenders committed the bulk of their display ad budgets to video.

It’s hardly surprising that Samsung, like so many advertisers, is going crazy for YouTube.

Google’s own research shows that 85 percent of consumers who use YouTube in their shopping journeys have bought from the brand again, or plan to do so in future. In part, that’s because shoppers are happy to believe what they hear on YouTube, with Google’s research also finding that ads on YouTube outperform those on every other platform in terms of credibility and trustworthiness.

Not that we’re calling Samsung a one-trick pony. Outside of YouTube, it spent significant sums on Direct Buy ($4.9 million), Google DV360 ($3.2 million), the Google Display Network ($2.1 million), and Microsoft Advertising ($1 million).

Still, 92 percent of the company’s estimated display spending went toward video ads, with the remainder split between programmatic (five percent), direct (two percent), and native (<1 percent).

Source: Adbeat

As you can see from the above graph, Samsung’s 2023 spending was heavily focused on two specific periods:

  • Mid-January to late March, leading up to and following on from the CES technology show.
  • July and August, around the launch of its flagship Galaxy Z flip phone.

Digging further back into our data, we can see Samsung repeats this spending pattern year after year: drop a ton of money in Q1, turn off the faucet until summer arrives, ramp up, then go dark again as winter approaches.

In some ways, it’s surprising that Samsung spends so little on display ads in the run-up to the holidays — especially given that electronics products are a mainstay of festive gifting wishlists.

Source: NRF

Of course, advertising during the holiday season is a double-edged sword. Every other advertiser is spending a ton of money, too, so it’s hard to cut through — even if you’re a huge brand. Perhaps Samsung prefers to spend its money during quieter periods when consumers are more likely to sit up and take notice.


Over the last year, Adbeat estimates show that Samsung spent an estimated $137.1 million on YouTube, $5.7 million on Reddit, $1.3 million on Yahoo, $1 million on MSN, and $731,000 on Billboard. Things don’t change much if we look back over six months rather than 12, although the Washington Post takes Billboard’s place in the top five.

Source: Adbeat

On YouTube, a lot of Samsung’s ads show up on family-friendly channels. For instance, the brand dropped $6.1 million to place ads in the content of Cocomelon Nursery Rhymes and $2 million on the channel CVS 3D Rhymes & Kids Songs — including over $834,000 on this video alone, which bought them 65 million impressions.

Obviously, Samsung isn’t trying to sell smartphones or fridges to one-year-olds: it knows parents are watching those videos with their little ones, and are probably relieved when the ads come along. It must be a welcome break from all those renditions of Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

It’s a different story on Reddit, which (hopefully) doesn’t have as many newborn members as YouTube. Other than the Reddit homepage, Samsung mostly targets gaming and sports-based subreddits like r/deadbydaylight ($70,500 of ad spend and 9.9 million impressions) and r/NYYankees ($50,600 of spending, 6.6 million impressions).

And then there’s Yahoo, where the bulk of Samsung’s ad spend goes toward content on the sports subdomain, with the rest split between channels like news and finance.

All in all, Samsung’s strategy shows a clear understanding of how to leverage different publishers to reach different audiences. 

It’s also clearly happy to experiment with a wide range of platforms. But when it finds something that works — like YouTube — it’s prepared to double (or triple) down.


As you probably guessed, the overwhelming majority of Samsung’s creatives are video ads, with other display formats — image, text/image, HTML5, and text ads — making up a combined seven percent.

Source: Adbeat

Its top ad by spend, which ran from January 13 – 31 and generated 1.7 billion impressions from an estimated total budget of $21.1 million, focused on a feature unveiled at CES 2023: high-quality night-time photography for smartphones.

Despite having a run time of just 15 seconds, this ad is packed full of punchy, memorable ad copy — phrases like “made for moonlight” and “capture the night”. This helps to reinforce the ad’s key messaging.

It also features a clear call to action, prompting viewers to head to the Samsung website to “reserve now”.

One of the best things about this ad is that it builds an air of mystery and exclusivity. While the idea of taking better photos at night is definitely attractive, it’s not totally clear what Samsung is actually selling

Is it a phone? A digital camera? A piece of software? If you want to find out, you’ve got no choice but to visit the campaign landing page.

Clever stuff!

Landing pages

High-quality creatives and a fat ad budget count for nothing if your landing pages don’t persuade clickers to stick around, learn more, and convert.

Samsung excels here.

Come with me as we analyze one of the brand’s top landing pages of 2023, which saw an estimated spend of $6.5 million and generated 557.5 million impressions.

Source: Samsung/Adbeat

There’s a lot to like about this landing page for the Galaxy smartphone series, so we’re going to drill down into a few different elements here.

First up, a nod to the visuals: the attractive banner image showcases the various Galaxy devices in all their glory. So if you’ve clicked through from an advert, it’s immediately obvious that you’re in the right place — which means there’s less chance of you bouncing.

Next, it’s time for a bunch of features and benefits:

Source: Samsung/Adbeat

If you’ve never owned a Galaxy device — or any Samsung smartphone — before, these USPs give you plenty of reasons to reconsider. As you might have noticed, there are even links at the top of the page targeting people switching from iPhone or other Android devices:

Source: Samsung/Adbeat

So whatever phone you’re currently using, Samsung has a whole bunch of arguments that might persuade you to give its Galaxy range a try.

Wherever you are on the landing page, you’re never far from a CTA button compelling you to “pre-order now”, which makes it as simple as possible for visitors to convert.

Source: Samsung/Adbeat

And there’s even space at the bottom of the page for Samsung to promote its core values of inclusivity and sustainability:

Source: Samsung/Adbeat

This is yet another key selling point in a world where 82 percent of shoppers prefer a consumer brand’s values to align with their own.

Want to access data and insights like these for yourself? You can with Adbeat! Request your live Adbeat demo here.

Phil Norris

Contributing Writer |