Are Holiday Ad Buys Really Worth It?
19 December 2019 • tvsquared
Marlessa Stivala,
Content Marketing Manager

By now, we all know the drill. Every year, holiday products arrive in stores earlier than the last; it’s also become a bit of a game on Twitter to see who notices the year’s first holiday commercial. Whether or not you hum along to holiday music all year long or think Scrooge had the right idea, there’s no escaping the fact that the holidays inspire advertisers and consumers alike to spend heavily. In fact, 2019 holiday sales are expected to reach a staggering $1.1 trillion in the U.S. alone.

This begs a few questions: is all the investment really worth it? Furthermore, if many brands begin their holiday TV ad campaigns so early, when and where can they garner the most response from viewers during the holiday season? And, of course, how well are these media investments performing?

To address this, TVSquared analyzed millions in ad spend from several DTC and retail clients that aired on TV platforms between Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 2018.

Here are a few of the most interesting takeaways:

Don’t Bet on Black Friday or Cyber Monday to Deliver Performance …

Despite being notorious for in-person and online shopping, Black Friday and Cyber Monday themselves aren’t great investments for TV advertisers. Inventory is typically sparse (dominated by big-box retailers) and expensive, while ad performance isn’t great. In fact, within the analyzed time period, the week of Cyber Monday was the worst performing compared to the overall average, at -16%.

… But Early November and December are Underutilized

Conversely, these weeks perform well, but brands across the board underutilize them. While strong performance is key, these time periods also offer lower inventory prices (early November) and reach “pre-panicked” holiday shoppers (early December).

Holiday-Specific Programming is the Gift That Keeps on Giving

As soon as November begins (and sooner, in some cases), new and classic holiday movies, specials and episodes dominate TV networks and streaming services. This seasonal programming attracts significant ad dollars and is often considered “appointment viewing.”

It turns out, holiday-specific programming also has a response rate that’s 10x higher than non-holiday programming. If that wasn’t enough, holiday programming buys are also 30% more cost efficient—proving that, during the holiday season, there may very well be no better gift for TV advertisers than the “gift” of a strategic holiday ad buy.

Download our infographic here for more holiday insights.