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Pathmatics Blog

Brand of the Week: Nordstrom

August 11 2017 by Jordan Kramer
Nordstrom recently had their well-publicized, yearly Anniversary sale that went from July 21st until August 6th. The giant retailer also released their Q2 earnings this week, topping expectations with positive sales amongst the department store category. The company’s “One of a Kind Sale” as it was messaged this year, was a huge focus for their digital efforts over the last thirty days. It is also rumored that Nordstrom brought their digital in-house for the remainder of 2017, and is on the look-out for a new media agency.
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See Nordstrom’s entire display plan with our free Brand of the Week Report here, and read on for more insights from their creative and site strategy below.

Digital Spend Down Overall, But Uptick on Display

Desktop/display consumed the majority of Nordstrom’s digital budget over the last thirty days, accounting for 86% of what was spent online. Desktop video and mobile display rounded out the remaining 14% of the retailer’s budget with the largest spike coming from desktop on August 4th (two days before the sale ended). Overall digital spend was down year-over-year, by almost half. Nordstrom bet big on desktop video in 2016, shelling out 67% of their digital budget towards the device-type. More was spent on desktop video last year than their entire digital budget during the same timeframe in 2017.
Where did they put their money this year? Display spend increased significantly by nearly 1.7X in 2017, compared to 2016’s figures. The brand clearly saw display campaigns to be more effective in promoting the Anniversary sale and squashed their video campaigns on YouTube.

Celebrity Brand Ambassadors

Nordstrom used notable celebrity brand ambassadors to promote their Anniversary sale, messaged also as a “One of a Kind Sale.” For the female demographic, model Ashley Graham and actress Hana Mae Lee starred in creatives that ran on several Conde Nast sites such as Allure, Glamour, and Lucky Mag, in addition to MakeupAlley, Stylelist, and Refinery29. Different messaging combinations were tested throughout the campaign running from July 15th to August 6th.

Nordstrom_Creative_Desktop (3).png       Nordstrom_Creative_Desktop (4).png       Nordstrom_Creative_Desktop (6).png
For the male demographic, football star Russell Wilson and model Taye Diggs graced creatives that ran on other Conde Nast sites like GQ, the New Yorker, Details, and W Magazine.


Last year, the brand used bright yellow, text-filled display creatives to grab consumer attention and Melissa McCarthy was the only celebrity used. The messaging for a “One of A Kind Sale” was also new in 2017.


Site Strategy

In 2016, Nordstrom targeted Hearst Digital entities such as Elle, Harper's Bazaar, and Marie Claire, but switched to target publisher Conde Nast for 2017’s campaigns. The brand, which spent the majority of their budget on direct buys, went after a more varied site list this year and spent only $7K on YouTube, their top site last year.



See Nordstrom's Full Ad Strategy [Free Report] 

Agency contacts: be on the lookout for a review on the way from the retailer as they finish out the year. To see exactly how Nordstrom has been spending their display budget over the last thirty days, including top sites and programmatic spend, download the latest Brand of the Week report below.

Download Nordstrom's Digital Ad Strategy

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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