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Black Friday & Cyber Monday's Biggest Advertisers

November 30 2017 by Jordan Kramer
On the heels of the largest online sales day in history, and the biggest shopping weekend overall, top brands definitely have something to celebrate this week. According to Adobe, sales for Cyber Monday alone were up nearly 17% YoY and web traffic was up by almost 12%. This, coupled with an ongoing preference for online shopping amongst consumers, makes for a big week of digital advertising for brands across categories.
How were brands prepping for the weekend with their advertising strategies? From Macy's to Carnival Cruise Line, here’s a look at how some of the top-spending brands by category advertised leading into Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.

Home & Garden

Purple (Wondergel LLC)

In a partnership with Disney’s newest film, Coco, Purple dropped serious ad cash leading into Black Friday. The mattress maker saw their impressions spike to 20x their 30 day average the day before Thanksgiving (and the day after the film premiered), led by a huge push on IMDB. Using page skin creatives and 300x250 display creatives, the brand cross-promoted the movie with copy including “Rest Your Weary Bones on a Purple Mattress.” Other creatives promoted “Purple Friday” instead of Black Friday with incentives for a free pillow with purchase of a mattress. This was Purple’s largest advertising campaign of the year, and all time, in terms of digital spend and impressions.



The brand known for their line of vacuums and now air purifiers, fans, and hair dryers, ramped up their digital ad spend significantly on Thanksgiving Day. Dyson released eleven unique creatives on November 23rd, and their impressions rose by 2.7x their 30 day average, before launching another four new creatives on Black Friday. Staying true to their modern design aesthetic, some creatives featured black backgrounds and “Black Friday” text while others had white backgrounds with copy like “Through Monday Only” instead of Cyber Monday messaging. Dyson focused on display advertising over the holiday weekend, targeting top sites like Amazon and Best Buy.




Carnival Cruise Line

While the biggest months for Carnival Cruise Line’s advertising strategy falls during January and February, the brand saved room for Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials. On Thanksgiving Day, the travel brand’s impressions reached 2x their 30 day average before climbing to 3.5x on Black Friday and 5.3x on Sunday, November 26th. The biggest increase for Carnival occurred on Yahoo! over the holiday weekend as the brand released twelve new creatives. Carnival also ran a contest promotion on Amazon for a free cruise during Black Friday and Cyber Monday with the same creatives, only different text.



Air Canada

Arriving early to Black Friday, Air Canada launched four creatives for the shopping holiday on November 20th while upping their spend and impressions by 5x on November 21st. The travel company that has spent two-thirds of their digital ad budget on display over the last thirty days, reserving the remaining third for mobile, saw the largest spike on PCH.com (Publisher’s Clearing House) while also focusing on Expedia and TripAdvisor. For their Cyber Monday campaign, the airline waited until the day of to release four specific creatives and increase spend again. The two campaigns were very similar besides copy changes and text color.





For the brand that also has a namesake parade every Thanksgiving, you can always expect Macy’s to turn it up over the biggest shopping weekend of the year. The department store got in on the hype early, launching a Black Friday Preview Sale on November 17th with 18 new creatives. The display-heavy advertiser continued to promote their early-access campaign the day before Thanksgiving, even advertising that consumers could get the deals in store on Thanksgiving Day at 5pm. When it actually came time for Black Friday, the retailer released another twenty new creatives and saw impressions spike by 1.5x, with the biggest increase happening on YouTube.



You might have been busy cooking your turkey on Thanksgiving day, but Nordstrom was busy releasing twelve new digital creatives to promote Black Friday sales at their namesake store and Nordstrom Rack. Impressions spiked by 8.5x their 30 day average on Black Friday while the brand targeted top sites like Reddit, Bustle, and Hearst Digital properties. The campaign focused on Nordstrom Rack, which appears to be an overall focus for the company on digital. The top ten creatives over the last thirty days were all for Nordstrom Rack, and the majority of Nordstrom’s spend during the last month has been in an effort to promote their subsidiary.



Oculus VR

The virtual reality company, owned by Facebook, released nearly one hundred new digital creatives over the holiday shopping weekend. Clearly making a strong push as a contender for your holiday gift giving, impressions began spiking on November 22nd and continued until Cyber Monday on the 27th. The biggest increase for the brand occurred on Amazon, along with IGN (Ziff Davis), Tech Radar, and other tech/gadget specific sites. While creatives did not feature messaging around Black Friday specifically, the all-black creatives promoted Oculus Rift headset deals with the copy “Limited Time Only” or “While Supplies Last."




The savings for Samsung started the first week of November with creative messaging such as “Black Friday Starts Now” targeted to IMDB, as well as Vox Media and Conde Nast properties. During the holiday week, the brand began increasing their spend and subsequent impressions on Monday, November 20th with the biggest jump happening on YouTube. On Thanksgiving Day, Samsung released another 23 unique creatives and saw their impressions double compared to their 30 day average. Creatives for the the electronics manufacturer were focused on their new QLED television model, claiming to be their “Best TV ever."



We will be diving into holiday ad spend over the next few weeks to see if these brands will continue their advertising pushes into the New Year, or pull back until the week of Christmas.

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About Author
Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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