- National holiday ad spending from the top 10 biggest-spending brands is down 2% from about $1 billion last year to $986 million so far this year, according to Kantar Media data cited in MediaPost.
- For TV ads, Walmart is spending 22% less than last year, while Target is spending 15% less and Kohl's 10% less. Among the top 10, Amazon has boosted its seasonal TV ad spending 198% and Kay Jewelers 16%. Walmart, Amazon and Kohl's were the only advertisers who increased their Facebook budgets.
- The Kantar analysis found a decline in ads focusing on specific days, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Just 11 retailers spent $9 million on Cyber Monday ad messages on TV, which is down from $19 million from 12 advertisers last year.
This holiday season, retailers are shifting their ad budgets from traditional formats, like TV to digital channels, as more shoppers plan to shop for gifts via mobile devices. The digital approach can help retailers reach younger shoppers who tend to be tech-savvy. One in six consumers (and one in three millennials) are planning to use their phones to make a purchase, according to NPD Group research cited by MediaPost. Half of the consumers surveyed also said that in-person shopping put them in the holiday spirit but shopping via mobile was easier.
Retailers are also focusing their campaigns on the full holiday season, rather than singling out specific days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Kantar attributes this strategy to Thanksgiving falling earlier than usual. Many brands are also kicking off their holiday campaigns earlier, which can be a strategic move. Holiday ad campaigns that start in October have a 7% increase in ad impressions, a 12% drop in cost-per-click an a 201% decrease in cost per thousand impressions, compared to other months during the holiday season, an AdRoll study revealed.
The Kantar research falls in line with other research showing that marketers are experimenting with new ad formats beyond traditional TV ad buys this holiday seasons. Among brands, 73% think mobile will be more important than desktop sales this year, while 38% are investing in Facebook Stories and 37% in Instagram Stories, according to ClickZ and Kenshoo research. Also, 56% of retail or e-commerce brands are maintaining or increasing their Amazon ad budgets this year.