- Retailers spent a total of $667.1 million on national TV ads between Oct. 30 and Nov. 26 compared to $604.5 million during the same period in 2016, according to Kantar Media data provided to Marketing Dive. Retailers pulled back on Black Friday ads over the same period, spending $90.4 million compared to $113.3 million in 2016.
- Walmart was retail's big spender on TV, shelling out $84.2 million, a 16% year-over-year increase, followed by Target at $67.2 million (up 7%), Kohls at $33.2 million (up 10%), J.C. Penny at $32.6 million (up 19%) and Kay Jewelers at $32.5 million (up 1%). J.C. Penney led the way in Black Friday spending, although it decreased the amount by 19% year-over-year to $13.4 million.
- Advertising spending by retailers also ramped up through the time frame with the week of Oct. 30 at $120.3 million, the week of Nov. 6 at $146.3 million, the week of Nov. 13 at $169.3 million and the week of Nov. 20 at $231.3 million.
TV spending during the holidays appears to be making a bit of a comeback this year after declining 9% last year. This could be a reflection of ongoing concerns about the lack of control, transparency and efficiency in digital advertising. The findings also suggest that retailers still see value in TV's potential to reach a wide audience during the holidays even as TV viewing overall continues to shrink. Families often spend more time together during the holidays with watching movies and holiday shows on their list of activities. The strong appeal of TV ads during the holidays is evident in findings like that all five of the top spenders so far this holiday season increased spending over last year, with three of the five delivering double digit increases.
The evidence suggests the increase in TV spending was a winning gambit, with in-store traffic during the holiday weekend this year beating expectations.
While Kantar reports that Black Friday spending was down over last year, J.C. Penny was the only one of the top five spenders that reduced spending from last year. The remainder of the top five all increased spending this year including: Lowes (41% increase), Home Depot (up 28%), Kohls (up 43%) and Target (up 118%). Clearly, top brick-and-mortar retailers still view Black Friday as a key shopping day although the overall decrease suggests other retailers may be starting to adjust their budgets to reflect the growing importance of shopping throughout the holiday weekend and online shopping, which experiences a big bump in volume on Cyber Monday.
Early results from other marketing channels also illustrate why marketers love the holiday season. Sprout Social data on social media engagements over the Black Friday weekend found almost 785 million Twitter engagements and a total message volume of almost 2 million. And Rakuten Marketing released data that found email clickthrough rates increased 154% before Thanksgiving and ad engagement rates rose 111%.