- Digital, including search and social media, is the only marketing channel a majority of holiday advertisers reported increasing their spending on (59% compared to only 8% reporting spending less) in an Advertiser Perceptions study made available to Marketing Dive. Holiday advertisers also reported increasing spending in other marketing channels, including: TV (42%), sponsorships and promotions (40%), product placements (38%), radio/audio (35%), direct mail (34%), print (31%) and outdoor (26%).
- Survey respondents gave a number of reasons for increasing digital ad spending such as finding more customers online in scale (51%); creative integration with digital holiday native content (44%); taking advantage of word-of-mouth and viral effects (40%); flexibility around changing ad copy and placement close to real-time (39%); easy connections to redemption and purchase (35%), and the ability to support and augment non-digital advertising (27%).
- One interesting result from the survey is agencies and brand marketers disagreed on the brand lift impact of holiday marketing, with 60% of agencies reporting a large effect and only 5% saying this is no impact. In comparison, 59% of brand marketers reported little effect and 15% expect no brand lift from holiday advertising.
The big takeaway from the survey beyond the overwhelming popularity of digital advertising is that most advertisers are spending more on holiday advertising overall. If the increase is widespread, it could be good news for digital advertising, with some budgets taking a hit in the face of concerns of fake news, a lack of transparency in digital media and programmatic's long tail. This year, big marketers like P&G and Unilever have decreased their digital spending while major agencies have downgraded their growth forecasts.
Advertiser Perceptions said a net optimism index of 51 for digital channels was based on marketers expecting to find more customers online along with the ability to adjust holiday ad messaging and placement on the fly in order to support holiday native content, trigger word of mouth and quickly connect ad viewers with conversion destinations for purchases or promotion redemption.
The discrepancy between agencies' and brand marketers’ expectations for holiday advertising is notable. A little more than half of respondents who expect holiday spending to increase sales based their estimates on quantifiable evidence from last year’s holiday season. Out of that group, 65% of the optimistic brand marketers cited data compared to 48% of optimistic agencies.
The report was based on 311 online interviews conducted by Advertiser Perceptions in October. The makeup of recipients was 60% agency executives and 40% marketer execs, with 33 of the top 200 advertisers represented. Of the execs, 59% were VP level and above, 23% director/supervisor and 18% manager/planner/buyer.