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 29, which includes Cyber Monday.
Overall spend through Index Exchange increased 4% from Week 1 of the programmatic holiday advertising season to Week 2. However, the total-spend of the top ten brand buyers decreased 7%. Here’s how the biggest brand buyers performed in the open exchange during Week 2:
- Financial services companies maintain strong presence within the top ten. American Express increases spend significantly to join the top ten open exchange buyers. MasterCard also appears in the top ten, while JP Morgan Chase & Co. drops out. This illustrates an effect we’ve noticed transpiring over the course of the holiday season – consumer spending has created a season during which consumers are not just trying to buy gifts, they’re in the market to find ways to pay for the gifts, too.
- Kohl’s joins the top ten. Kohl’s joins Walmart and Target as the biggest big box buyers in Week Two. More on this later – but Target bought most of its ads through private marketplaces during Week Two, while Kohl’s and Walmart allocated virtually all of its Week Two spend through the open channel.
- Pfizer drops out. So long, pharma! No one wants to hear about blood pressure medication during the holiday season. Over-the-counter heartburn medication, however, could be a different story.
Target Allocates Bulk of Spend to Private Marketplaces
Overall spend within private marketplaces remained virtually identical from Week 1 to Week 2 of the holiday advertising season. However, the top ten private buyers spent 29% more during Week 2 than in Week 1.
The most interesting difference between Week 1 and Week 2 within the private marketplace channel was a major increase in spend from Target. The company spent 44% more through the private marketplace channel in Week 2 than it did in Week 1.
Lego’s emergence in the top ten is interesting too. Considering the diverse audience of Lego’s products, perhaps the company wanted to use publisher context to identify audience segments and thus, the necessary creative.
See the top ten private buyers indexed by spend below: