Meet the Top 3 Retailers Who Spent the Most on Ads This Holiday Season

Dec 22, 2016 2:00:00 PM


‘Tis the season for spending. To get consumers in the virtual or physical door, retailers are spending heavily to get us to open our wallets as the holidays approach. From December 1 to December 15 alone, retailers spent more than $67 million on digital advertising across desktop, mobile, video and content channels. That serious cash resulted in serious numbers of impressions, 6.9 billion in total. 

While the sector as a whole went a little holiday crazy, the top three retailers by spend are largely responsible for most of the retail industry’s activity in the first two weeks of December. Using Pathmatics proprietary data, we analyzed the top three retailers by spend for December 1 to December 15. The numbers show a battle between old and new retailers for consumer share.

Who reigned supreme? Read on to find out.


Amazon spent $18,794,500 total on digital advertising, about 28 percent of money spent by all advertisers in this timeframe.  The company generated more than 1.3 billion impressions, just about 19 percent of all impressions generated by advertisers.

Amazon used more than $17 million of its total budget on direct. This indicates a preference for direct spend over indirect. The company tallied 953 million impressions across channels from direct. The majority of Amazon’s ad spending was used on video.

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2. Best Buy

Best Buy spent $7,242,200 in total on digital ads, just about 11 percent of the dollars spent by brands in this timeframe—and about $11 million less than Amazon. The company generated 711 million impressions for its money, approximately 11 percent of total impressions generated by advertisers. 

Best Buy used most of its budget (a total of more than $6 million) on direct spend. From direct, the company garnered more than 506 million impressions across channels, or about 67 percent of all the impressions it generated. Unlike Amazon, Best Buy took a desktop-first approach to its ad spend, using 72 percent of its budget on that channel.

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3. Target

Target spent more than $5.8 million on digital advertising for this period, about 8.6 percent of money spent by all advertisers in this period. Target got 415 million impressions for its ad spend, roughly 6 percent of all impressions generated by advertisers.

Target used $5,264,300 of its total budget on direct spend, which resulted in 269 million impressions. Direct impressions accounted for nearly 65 percent of all impressions it secured during this period. Like Best Buy, Target spent heavily on desktop advertising: 90 percent of the company’s budget went to this channel.

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Jordan Kramer

Written by 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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