By Itay Ovits
The BestBuy case
Of the $114 Million BestBuy spent on measurable media during 2010 4th quarter, a significant portion went to a national-TV campaign, starred by “Kenneth the Blue-Elf“, which started Nov 1st. Even though this campaign was considered as a success, this year, According to Advertising Age, BestBuy opted for a different approach, focusing on digital media for the first weeks of November, and starting TV ads only a day before Thanksgiving. “… online was a place (where) we could stand out” as BestBuy’s CMO, Barry Judge, put it.
Holidays in general, and the end-of-year holidays in particular, have traditionally been an important times for consumers and advertisers alike. While consumers enjoy the choice and the feeling of being chased, advertisers strive to make themselves stand out across the ocean of advertisements and promotions. However, as Best-buy’s story illustrates, the spend for such efforts has to be justified – and the channels need to be picked carefully.
A few months ago, Peer39 started offering advertisers a set of “seasonal” categories as part of its ad-industry-oriented taxonomy, aimed at allowing specific targeting to an event related inventory (e.g. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valetine’s day, the Superbowl, etc.) A deeper look at the behavior of the two current seasonal categories – Thanksgiving and Christmas – during the last few weeks reveals some interesting insights for advertisers, and highlights the importance of such targeting aids in the RTB space.
Let’s start with Thanksgiving:
As can be seen in the graph above, unsurprisingly, the volume of both Thanksgiving impressions and unique URLs peaked during the Thanksgiving weekend, following a steady rise in the preceding days. However the pattern is not symmetrical; the interest in Thanksgiving-related pages started rising significantly only around 10 days before Thanksgiving, but continued to have significant amounts of traffic until around 3 weeks afterwards. As demonstrated by the dropping number of unique URLs between December 10-17, publishers seem to be unaware to this phenomenon, as the amount of related content is dropping, despite the continued surfers interest. Importantly, this represents a significant amount of traffic: the “post-Thanksgiving decline” portion of the graph holds hundreds of millions of impressions.
We think there might be an oversight by advertisers here as the audience continues to be engaged with the event way after it’s over. We predict the same phenomena would manifest for Christmas-related pages, too.
Another interesting pattern is an unexpected rise in Thanksgiving traffic towards Christmas. We would have thought this a fluke in our data, but Google Trends shows the same pattern:
A deeper look reveals this rise has mainly to do with Thanksgiving related recipes – e.g. Christmas Turkey and other related food; clearly readers return to the recipes that worked a month ago.
Careful ad targeting is always important, and doubly so during the holidays season, when everyone jumps in. Being able to perform this careful targeting at the page level through RTB channels at such times is crucial for the success of any advertiser playing in this arena, any time of the year.
Itay Ovits is Team Leader at Peer39 Labs.