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Pathmatics Blog

The Race Is On: How Fitbit & Jawbone's Advertising Strategies Measure Up

April 07 2016 by Jordan Kramer

No stranger to competition, these two companies have battled it out in the market, the courtroom, on your wrist, and across the digital landscape. Although a portion of their market competitors are larger companies, using fitness trackers as a feature imbedded in other products (Apple, Nike, Under Armour), both Fitbit and Jawbone have built their brand solely on the steps of their users, basing their companies on fitness tracking alone. 
By the end of 2014, Fitbit controlled 67% of the fitness-tracker market, leading Jawbone, which had 14% share. Fitbit, the larger of the two and also publicly traded, spends more on advertising than its smaller, privately-owned rival; however, let's dive deeper into the strategy behind the campaigns these companies are running. What channels are they using, how are they buying and what sites are they targeting? 

What Channels Are They Using?

Over the last twelve months, Fitbit has run creatives across desktop, mobile+tablet and video - with the most emphasis on desktop. Last year, the brand invested far more on desktop versus mobile, spending $4.2M with 194 unique creatives on desktop compared to $208K and 94 unique creatives on mobile. Fitbit also released 43 unique video creatives over the previous twelve months.
Jawbone has focused predominantly on display and mobile+tablet over the last year (we have not detected any video creatives since the end of 2014). Jawbone spent a fraction of its larger rival’s desktop spend, at approximately $249,500, but did release nearly twice as many unique display creatives with 376. On mobile, Jawbone wasn’t too far behind, spending approximately $76,600 over the last year and releasing 203 unique creatives.
Source: Pathmatics U.S. Desktop Data, 4/7/15-4/5/16.

How Are They Buying?

Overall, Fitbit prefers direct buys, allocating 94% of their total desktop spend over the last twelve months to direct. The small amount of programmatic buying utilized on display was run through DataXu, followed by Google AdX + AdSense, Yahoo! Advertising and RadiumOne. Following suit on mobile, 70% of their total impression share was also purchased directly. DataXu was also the top partner, serving 14% of Fitbit’s mobile impressions. On video, 68% of impressions were purchased directly and TubeMogul was the top video partner.
Jawbone used a different purchasing strategy, buying 78% of desktop impressions through ad networks over the last twelve months, followed by 16% of impressions purchased directly. AdRoll was the top partner, serving 41% of Jawbone’s display impressions. On mobile+tablet, Jawbone bought 68% of impressions through ad networks, and AdRoll was also the top partner with 56% share. The remaining 32% of mobile+tablet impressions were purchased direct.

What Sites Are They Targeting?

Here's a look at the top five sites for both companies across devices with a breakdown of how the impressions were purchased for each site.
Fitbit Jawbone
1. youtube.com (100% direct) 1. amazon.com (93% direct, 7% indirect)
2. espn.go.com (98% direct, 2% indirect) 2. youtube.com (100% indirect)
3. mensfitness.com (97% direct, 3% indirect) 3. drudgereport.com (100% indirect)
4. thedailybeast.com (100% direct) 4. ebay.com (100% indirect)
5. target.com (99% direct, 1% indirect) 5. sports.yahoo.com (100% indirect)
Fitbit Jawbone
1. espn.go.com (100% direct) 1. popsugar.com (100% direct)
2. sports.yahoo.com (100% direct) 2. answers.yahoo.com (100% indirect)
3. bleacherreport.com (100% direct) 3. ebay.com (100% indirect)
4. greatlist.com (95% direct, 5% indirect) 4. att.yahoo.com (100% indirect)
5. menshealth.com (100% direct) 5. answers.com (100% indirect)
1. youtube.com (88% direct, 12% indirect)
2. hulu.com (100% direct)
3. mensfitness.com (100% indirect)
Source: Pathmatics U.S. Data, 4/7/15-4/5/16.
Do you wear a fitness tracker? What type of influence do you think digital presence has over the final decision for a prospective user? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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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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