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Pathmatics Blog

Which Sites Are Banking Off of Tax Software Advertisers? Here Are The Top Five

February 02 2017 by Jordan Kramer
Tax season is officially here, and while tax software companies have been running ads for weeks, the fight for consumer dollars is about to get even more competitive. Few sites have been able to get all of the major tax software advertisers to fight for their audience at once, but there are some publishers winning big with tax brands. Those tax software companies include TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxACT, Jackson Hewitt, TaxHawk, Inc., and TaxSlayer. 
TurboTax is the largest advertiser of the bunch currently, topping the group in spend, impressions and number of creatives released. Nearly four hundred unique creatives have been detected from TurboTax in the last thirty days, H&R Block follows with three hundred, with the others trailing further behind. 
Here are the top five sites that have managed to sell inventory to all six major tax software advertisers, including the impression share breakdown amongst the tax brand competitors per site. To see more insights from the Financial Services category, download the Top Financial Services Advertisers Q3 Report here.


espn_tax_targeting.pngConsidering the upcoming Super Bowl, heated basketball season, and a widespread audience of 64.3 million unique visitors per month, the publisher is a popular target for tax software advertisers. Relationships are key to ESPN, selling nearly one hundred percent of their inventory through direct deals. 

TurboTax has a strong lead by impression share in comparison to it’s rivals on the site, releasing fourteen digital creatives on espn.com from December 26th, 2016 - January 25th, 2017, and garnering 17.7M impressions. H&R Block ranks as the second top tax software advertiser for the publisher, with nine percent of impressions between it’s competitors. 


tv_dot_com_tax_targeting.pngThe CBS Interactive site, that serves as a TV show directory for consumers to find their favorite show, also scored all of the six top tax software advertisers. H&R Block took the lead with 56% of the impression share between the group, followed by TurboTax with 38%. Over fifty percent of TV.com’s sales during the last thirty days were from direct buys, but not all of the tax brands bought placements that way. H&R Block ran 63 unique creatives on the site over the thirty day period through ad network partner Criteo. TurboTax ran seven video creatives on the site in the last month, purchasing placements through DoubleClick Bid Manager. 



accuweather_tax_targeting.pngWeather sites are usually a safe bet to win a general audience, especially during the time of year when snowstorms are blanketing half of the country. Accuweather also nabbed all six major tax software brands to run ads on their site from December 26th - January 25th, with H&R Block nabbing the top spot by impression share. The advertiser soaked in 6.6M impressions from the publisher, compared to the 938K impressions garnered by TaxACT.  Half of Accuweather’s sales are from direct buyers, with Google AdX + AdSense serving as their top digital partner. H&R Block again used Criteo to target the site, while TaxACT went direct and spent over fifty percent more - but got far fewer impressions.


The Chicago Tribune

chicago_tribune_tax_targeting.pngWhile The Chicago Tribune served as a longer-tail site for tax software advertisers, it was also led by H&R Block. Spend for the site between the six advertisers totaled only around $4K for the thirty day period, with H&R Block claiming 48% of both the site’s spend and impression share between the group. One hundred fifty-eight direct advertisers comprised 57% of The Chicago Tribune’s ad sales from December 26th - January 25th, with none of the tax advertisers falling into that bucket. All six of the brands featured targeted the publisher through indirect or programmatic partners.



ebay_tax_targeting.pngThe e-commerce giant also snagged the six major tax brands to advertise on its site, led again by H&R Block with 73% of impression share. The brand ranked as one of eBay’s top twenty advertisers, releasing 65 unique desktop and mobile creatives during the thirty day period. TaxACT followed as the second top tax software advertiser on the site, releasing only eleven unique creatives during the same timeframe. All of the tax software brands used indirect or programmatic partners to target eBay, such as Google AdX + AdSense, Rubicon Project, and Index Exchange (formerly Casale).


Where Are There Site Opportunities?

1. Politico
Considering the current political climate of the United States, Politico is bringing in 24.5M monthly unique visitors and is in the top 200 US sites by traffic. Yet, only H&R Block and TaxACT are advertising with the publisher. H&R Block spent only $9K of their $2M+ digital budget on the site from December 26th - January 25th, showing that there is definitely some more room for competition here. 
2. TED
TaxACT is the only tax software advertiser taking advantage of the publisher TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), which received nearly 14M visits during January of 2017 alone. Home of the popular TED Talks, TaxACT ran a video creative on the site last month facing no competition from fellow tax advertisers.
3. Travel Sites
As Spring Break plans warm up in people’s mind, few tax software advertisers are enticing consumers with vacations that could be paid for by their tax return. Priceline, Expedia. VRBO, Budget Travel, Orbitz, Hotels.com, and more travel related sites are seeing a slim presence from tax software advertisers.

**All trademarks & copyrights property of their respective owners. Source: Pathmatics US Data, December 26th, 2016 - January
25th, 2017. Charts are representative of impression share between the six advertisers per publisher.

Want More Actionable Financial Services Ad Insights?

Our free report, Top Financial Services Digital Advertisers in Q3 2016, has an in-depth breakdown of financial services ad strategy in Q3 2016 across desktop, mobile/tablet, video and content. Reading the report is literally like looking over your competitors’ shoulders. Download it today

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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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