Retail advertisers increased Facebook spend heading into Thanksgiving, study finds
- The top 10 retail advertisers spent an additional $44 million on Facebook from Oct. 29 to Nov. 26. Walmart continued to increase its Facebook spend leading up to Cyber Monday, while rivals Target, Macy's and Kohl's reached peak spend the day before Thanksgiving, according to a Kantar Media analysis provided to Marketing Dive.
- Retail advertisers spent $629 million on national TV ads from Oct. 29 to Nov. 25, a 4% drop from last year. Walmart was the top spender at $63 million, but the company cut its spend this year by 32%. Amazon is ramping up its TV ad spend, and this year spent $35 million, a 290% increase over last year.
- In search campaigns, Walmart led all advertisers in product listing ad clicks, generating a 10.8% click share on desktop and 5.7% on mobile over the Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend, per Kantar Media. Amazon was the top text ad advertiser over the weekend, gaining 6.9% of all desktop text ad clicks on 2,500 retail keywords and 12.6% on mobile.
The Kantar Media analysis is the latest indication that many marketers are shrugging off the string of controversies that have hit Facebook this year even as the latest scandal around the company's internal reactions to its troubles was blowing up. Facebook is an important platform for driving holiday shopping, as consumers often use their mobile devices throughout the day, including while shopping in stores.
The data also underscores how many marketers shifted their spend from TV to digital platforms as they were gearing up for one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. The report suggests that the lower spend on TV ads in early November could be the result of inventory being dominated by political advertisers ahead of the midterm elections.
Another key finding from the Kantar report is that advertisers placed less of an emphasis on using terms like "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" in their campaigns this year. Retailers spent $116 million on TV ads mentioning the sale event by name in 2018, a 7% decrease compared to last year. Eleven retailers spent $9 million on Cyber Monday ad messages on TV, compared to 12 advertisers spending $19 million on the sale last year. The shift is attributed to retailers offering discounts before and after Black Friday, and consumers no longer needing to wait until Cyber Monday to find online deals.
JC Penney was the most clicked advertiser for Black Friday paid search keywords, while Best Buy was the most clicked on Cyber Monday keywords, according to Kantar Media. Last year, Walmart ranked No. 1 on Black Friday keywords.
Timing of holiday campaigns is also important, and brands often see benefits from kicking them off early. In 2018, spend peaked the day before Black Friday and gradually decreased during the weekend, compared to last year, when spend increased leading to Thanksgiving weekend and then decreasing on Cyber Monday, Kantar found.