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Pathmatics Blog
Holiday Advertising |


A Prime Opportunity: Target, Walmart, and others take on Amazon with Black Friday in July sales

July 17 2019 by Sarah Fleishman

PSA to all shopaholics and world-wide consumers: there is now a second annual Black Friday. In addition to the traditional shopping holiday in November--you know--the one right after Thanksgiving where hoards of people swarm stores and online sales--a second Black Friday holiday has now emerged in the midsummer month of July! 

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Confused but pleasantly surprised? So were we. 

This additional period of deals came about in reaction to consistent YoY record sales from “Prime Day,” Amazon’s self-made holiday designed to drum up summertime sales in an otherwise slower period for the online retail giant.

As Prime Day, which began in 2015,  gained traction amongst consumers, big brands stood by as deal-hungry shoppers flooded to Amazon’s yearly summer sale. But now these brands have had enough. In the name of good-old capitalism and its competitive markets, big brands like Walmart, Target, and others have dished out their own deals to compete with Amazon and their self-made summer holiday.

But it’s not just mass retailers that have jumped on the Black Friday in July bandwagon. Major tech brands are on board too,  significantly lowering their price points to compete, according to a recent article from The Verge.   


Who are the competitors?

A quick search in Explorer reveals nearly 40 advertisers using the phrase “Black Friday in July,” with many more touting summer sales and “prime” deals. Major sales were seen from big-name advertisers including Walmart, eBay, Best Buy, Target and Dell, just to name a few.  

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A recent article by NBC news illustrates the high percentage of consumers planning to shop at these stores during the Black Friday in July summer sales. According to the article, 44% of consumers plan to shop Walmart’s deals, followed by 40% for Target deals and 24% for Best Buy deals. Further, NBC predicts that this year’s ‘Black Friday in July’ is expected to attract up to 250 retailers--more than ever before.

How much is ‘Anti-Prime Day’ costing advertisers?

Digital intelligence taken from Pathmatics Explorer shows just how much these brands are spending in comparison to the e-commerce giant Amazon.

A look at the top advertisers from July 8th through the 16th shows Walmart in the lead, spending over $6 million on digital ads during this period, followed by Best Buy, who dished out a hefty $2 million. 

When it comes to creatives, these big brands also stepped up to drive traffic to their sales. 

During the week leading up to Prime Day, Walmart came out with 766 new creatives, eBay published 462, Best Buy released 366, and Target released 172. Interestingly, Amazon’s creative count remained relatively low, throwing some budget behind a Prime Day video, but seemingly relying on Prime Day’s growing cultural popularity to carry consumer interest in the sale.

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Walmart gets ahead of other brands on ‘Anti-Prime Day’

How is Walmart pulling ahead of other big name brands like Best Buy and Target? Walmart’s spend last week exceeded $6 million, with over 500 million impressions. Despite their rather deep pockets, the advertiser’s strategy to pour the majority of spend into social advertising might be their secret to success. 

While Amazon pours about 40% of their digital ad budget into social, Walmart invests double, with Facebook ad spend accounting for about 80% of their overall ad budget in the week leading up to Black Friday in July--consistent with Walmart’s usual pattern of being a top advertiser on social. But while Walmart puts its eggs in the social basket, Amazon wins out in video spend, placing 20% of their budget on Prime Day-specific videos, compared to Walmart’s less than 13%. 

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Dell’s increased spending keeps them in the competition

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Over the past week, Dell’s digital spend reached just above $1 million, garnering over 200 million impressions. The tech brand’s digital spend and creative output increased substantially just before Prime Day, suggesting Dell’s strong determination to stay summer-sale in the game. 

Dell directs about 40% of their spend toward Facebook, primarily placing link and carousel posts.  With ads targeted almost exclusively toward male audiences, creatives touted major sales using casual messaging like “TGIBlack Friday in July!”

For more data and competitive analysis, checkout Pathmatics Explorer!



About Author
Sarah Fleishman

With over a decade of experience across digital marketing, content, creative, and PR, Sarah is a creative and dynamic thinker who loves to delight clients with unique and relatable content. Sarah graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Sociology.

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