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Google, Facebook and Amazon dominate Black Friday ad spend

Black Friday reigns supreme when it comes to retailers’ holiday advertising spend.

That’s according to a survey by advertising software company Nanigans, which indicated that retailers plan to invest more of their spend on Black Friday than any other day this holiday season. Marketers revealed that a quarter of their annual ad budgets are used to target shoppers during Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.

With total U.S. digital ad as spend by retailers expected to exceed $23 billion in 2018, retailers plan to allocate almost $6 billion dollars in media toward the Black Friday four-day period. Retailers indicated that Google search and display (35%) and Facebook (18%) dominate their planned channels, with Amazon a close third (15%).

“Nearly half of U.S. consumers now start their product search on Amazon, meaning the retail giant offers an attractive model for brands hoping to capture the attention of active buyers during the 2018 holiday shopping season,” said Ric Calvillo, CEO and co-founder of Nanigans. “However, retailers’ decision to pump ad spend into Amazon may be shortsighted. The company has built an ecosystem that makes it both an attractive ecommerce ad platform and a retailer’s top competitor.”

Notably, marketers overwhelmingly value Black Friday itself over the Saturday, Sunday, or Cyber Monday that follow it, with 63% planning to prioritize ad budgets on that day alone. Conversely, just 20% of brands plan to spend more serving digital ads to Cyber Monday shoppers.

Additional key findings from the study include:
• More than half (51%) of retailers plan to keep 2018 holiday season ad budgets about the same as last year, while 48% plan to increase the amount they spend on holiday ads.

• Retailers don’t focus much of their holiday ad spend on last-minute shoppers, which could be a missed opportunity as it’s a pivotal time to generate brand exposure. Almost half (47%) prioritize early-season campaigns, 48% focus on prime-season buyers, and just 5 percent target late-season shoppers.

• Retail marketers plan to dedicate 14% of their campaign budgets to video ads during the 2018 holiday shopping season.

• For a majority of retailers, the holidays positively impact acquiring more customers with significant value, but the trade-off is the fact that 25% of marketers report dramatically higher cost of customer acquisition during this time.

• The holiday advertising season starts early for the majority retailers, with 64% of those surveyed implementing campaigns before Halloween.
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