Programmatic Holidays: Week One

To understand how brands allocated programmatic spend over the 2015 holiday season, we took a look at the biggest brand buyers from November 22, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, to the end of December. This post focuses on the week of November 22, which includes Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and the build up to Cyber Monday. 

Consumer electronics and apparel retailers spent the most during the first week of the holiday advertising season. Best Buy led the pack – 20% of the combined total of the top ten brands’ open exchange spend came from Best Buy. See below for the top ten open and private spenders from November 22  to November 28.


Week 1 of the programmatic holiday advertising season saw significant open exchange spend from Best Buy and Verizon. Retailers Walmart, Macy’s and Williams-Sonoma made an appearance in the top ten, no doubt promoting Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. The significant allocation of spend through the open exchange channel suggests these brands used the first week for advertising reach – i.e. getting broad advertising messages onto digital platforms.

In terms of private marketplace spend, Week 1 was a bit different. With the exception of Best Buy and JP Morgan Chase & Co., the top ten private spenders were an entirely new cast of characters. See below for the top ten private buyers during Week 1 ranked by spend.


Target far eclipsed the other top ten private spenders during the first week of the programmatic holiday advertising season. Unilever, American Express, and Kimberly-Clark are regular private marketplace spenders (we often see these two brands ranked in the top ten private week over week) – we believe these brands use the private marketplace channel specifically to reach niche audiences and leverage publisher context to better resonate with target audiences.



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