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Pathmatics Blog
Holiday Advertising |


Digital Advertisers Have Dads and Grads Covered

June 26 2019 by Sarah Fleishman
Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.55.12 PM
Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.55.12 PM

June is the summer month of gift giving, with brands to eager to compete for the attention of fathers and soon-to-be graduates before summer kicks into full gear.  After a slight dip in spend 2018, Father’s Day spending in 2019 was is expected to reach an all-time high of $16 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), while graduates were are predicted to receive gifts to the tune of $5.5 billion. As the month draws to a close, we wanted to see how these advertisers fared compared to last year. 

Digital advertisers started rolling out dad and grad campaigns in May, hoping to capture a portion of this lucrative market.  Pathmatics data shows that over 1,450 brands have rolled out more than 7,700 creatives since then. Let’s take a look at how digital advertisers are positioning positioned themselves to be the gift of choice for dads and grads this year. 

Beating Dad Bod? Fitness and Outdoor Brands Make a Play for Father’s Day 

Peloton Cycles, a fitness company with $1 billion in funding that filed for IPO earlier this month, came out on top for Father’s Day in terms of both impressions and ad spend. Since late May, Peloton has dedicated its Father’s Day ad budget primarily to Facebook link ads, with average daily impressions nearing 12 million. 

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.54.38 PM Other fitness and outdoor brands came out to play with a variety of different ad strategies. Fitbit garnered nearly seven million total impressions by focusing on Facebook, while Bass Pro Shops split its efforts between desktop and mobile display ads with nearly the same outcome. Academy Sports + Outdoors diversified its Father’s Day investments with mobile display, Facebook mobile, video, and desktop display ads. 

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.54.52 PM


In contrast to its fitness-focused counterparts, Dollar Shave Club launched a highly publicized Father’s Day campaign celebrating “dad bods” that will run aired on TV, digital, and social channels, according to AdWeek. The video, published to YouTube on June 4, has 48,000 views and counting. 


What’s Father’s Day Without Gadgets and Tools? 

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.55.12 PM

This year, according to an NRF survey, 18% of Father’s Day gifts will be were tools and 20% will be were electronics, according to an NRF survey

The Home Depot was close to the top of the list in terms of ad spend, directing about $1 million toward Facebook mobile ads and a small fraction of its budget toward desktop and mobile display ads, according to Pathmatics data. Accordingly, advertisers in the home and garden and electronics spaces came out in force leading up to Father’s Day.

Amazon, a go-to source of gifts for dads, ran Father’s Day campaigns for audio entertainment platform Audible and Launchpad, its marketing program for products that are crowdfunded or backed by venture capitalists or incubators. 

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.55.24 PM

About 90% of Amazon Launchpad ads are social ones; desktop display accounted for 10% and mobile display for 1% of total ad spend since the end of May. Interestingly, Father’s Day appears proved to be Amazon Launchpad’s first major campaign this year.


Top Graduation Advertisers Focus on Memories, Food and Beverages 

Fifty-three percent of gift givers are expected to hand over cash to graduates in 2019, but that still leaves a lot of money on the table — approximately $2.6 billion — for brands to capture.

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.55.50 PMHowever, many of the brands we looked at weren’t pitching fancy gifts. 

The top four graduation advertisers by spend — RTIC Coolers, Shutterfly, Target, and Chick-fil-A — banked on grads and their families wanting to celebrate with food and memories. RTIC Coolers’ Cooler’s top creative for graduates, for instance, was a Facebook status post about its personal cooler that holds up to 20 beverage cans. Shutterfly advertised customized mugs, photo albums, and more for grads across Facebook mobile and desktop display; social was far and away the company’s biggest channel.


Both Chick-Fil-A and Target advertised graduation party treats with Facebook ads, though Target got a slightly better bang for its buck when it came to cost per impression. 


Advertisers Also Want Grads to Think About Their Future

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.56.31 PM

Carrying on the theme of marketing experiences over expensive gifts, Kaplan, a tutoring and test prep company, and Indeed, a job search site, urged graduates this year to consider their next steps. 

Indeed’s ads for grads drive to the company’s Career Guide content. The ad pictured below, for example, links to a blog post on how to format cover letters. 


Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 12.56.20 PM




The company focused its efforts this year on Facebook photo ads, a format which reportedly outperform other ads when it comes to driving unique traffic. Last year, Indeed used carousel posts to drive to job listings.Since the end of May, Kaplan has focused its efforts almost entirely on social channels. Grads in markets like Georgia, California, and Illinois were likely to come across Kaplan ads on Facebook, especially link posts driving to landing pages for MCAT prep courses.





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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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