Peloton ad spending plunged as new users wane, analysis finds

    • Peloton spent $294 million on advertising across all platforms in 2021, a 300% year-on-year increase, according to a new MediaRadar report. The fitness company’s ad strategy has shifted considerably so far in 2022, with ad investments down 22% to $47 million in the first quarter.
    • Video remained the largest investment segment for the brand in Q1, split between 64% directed to TV and 30% toward digital. YouTube Music and Facebook were the top channels. Print received 6%, with nearly all the quarter’s investment occurring in February. After barely notching any investments in the first quarter two years ago, digital display saw a more than 1000% lift in spending in Q1 compared to the same quarter last year.
    • MediaRadar’s report arrives just days after Peloton posted a bleak financial report for the quarter, showing that it lost $757 million in Q1 and that sales dipped 15% from a year ago.

    Exponential growth during the pandemic pushed Peloton to capitalize on the at-home fitness boom and ramp up ad investment 300% in 2021. Now, the company appears to be adjusting course as gyms reopen.

    The company peeled back its overall ad spending in Q1, likely tied to the slowdown in new users. While total membership rose 29% from a year ago, Peloton saw the number of new users was about half of what it added this time last year, according to its most recent earnings statement.

    Video across TV and digital continues to receive the biggest chunk of Peloton’s ad investment, with TV networks TNT, Fox, ION and WE getting the most. The company reallocated its ad spending a bit in Q1 to make space for its foray into print, with 99% of print ads running in February. Top print placements include The New Times, The Wall Street Journal and Harper’s Bazaar, per MediaRadar.

    As consumers return to gyms, Peloton has struggled to maintain its skyrocketing growth from the pandemic’s early days. Bike sales and subscription signups have stagnated. The company’s workouts per month metric fell 28%, potentially suggesting that existing users may have waning interest in at-home workouts.

    Earlier this year, Peloton halted production of some of its equipment as warehouses filled with excess inventory. Co-founder and CEO John Foley stepped down in February, replaced by Spotify and Netflix vet Barry McCarthy.

    However, the ad spending report by MediaRadar arrives as the company is also shifting gears in terms of messaging and could again be ramping up media investments. In a new campaign out this week, the brand leans on the appeal of its instructors to maintain long-term motivation among its user base.

    MediaRadar reviewed Peloton’s advertising from Jan. 1, 2020 through March 31, 2022 and included national TV, 3,000 magazines and newspapers, and digital channels like podcasts, Snapchat and YouTube.


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