Note: A more in-depth version of this post was shared exclusively with clients earlier this year; informing them of the benefits of advanced holiday planning given the expected state of TV inventory availability, as well as impending supply chain issues.
Black Friday, and more recently Cyber Monday (BFCM), have become critical advertising tentpoles for many retail and e-commerce companies. Scrumptious deals reward those who brave the crowds during this time—and the same reward oftentimes awaits brands looking to spread their message at the start of the holiday season.
For many Tatari clients, the focal point of their Q4 TV media plan is centered around these holiday sales. Thankfully, with advanced planning (and a little Tatari data science magic), we have countless clients each year in-market with their BFCM-themed creatives. And after analyzing the historical data for these clients, we’ve pulled out a few common trends we typically see each year. Here’s a look at what we’ve uncovered when it comes to TV ad inventory clearance, performance, and creative strategies.
1) Clearance dips leading up to Black Friday/Cyber Monday
TV inventory in the remnant market operates on an auction-like bidding system. Advertisers who place higher bids for an ad slot (ie. paying at or above the rate card) will typically land higher clearance rates, with the same logic applying to those on the lower-priced end of the bidding spectrum. During time periods where the demand for inventory increases, maintaining high clearance rates can be difficult.
In the chart below, you’ll see historical clearance rates for linear and streaming TV all edging downward in the weeks prior to the holiday sales. As inventory is snatched up—oftentimes via advanced Non-preemptible (NPE) buys—the cost of the remaining inventory begins to creep upward. Brands playing in the remnant market (who did not book in advance) are forced to factor this in. If they fail to do so and in turn come up short with their bid, they will be left with lower than expected clearance rates; a critical misstep for brands looking to boost reach and awareness of a sale.
We do see clearance improve during the actual day of the sales - be it Black Friday for linear and Cyber Monday for streaming. This is likely due to inventory availability increasing as brands taper their campaigns after the sale they were advertising has concluded. So for those looking to capitalize on “day-of” BFCM advertisements, there is opportunity in the remnant space.
The key takeaway here is that successful brands employ more than one TV ad-buying strategy. Staying agile in the remnant market can be fruitful, but brands that place a high emphasis on clearance rates—especially in the weeks leading up to BFCM— should be booking placements several months in advance as well.
2) Conversion rates drastically improve during BFCM
Running a BFCM campaign can be a daunting task, but brands planning a performance-focused TV campaign during this time should do so with confidence. After aggregating the last three years of data, we found that Tatari clients who run Black Friday/Cyber Monday advertisements typically see a ~50% boost in conversion rates when compared to a typical week. This means that not only are valuable impressions being served to their target audience during this highly competitive time, but that the audience is significantly more likely to take action and engage!
The implications of this are that your TV budget can scale significantly while still maintaining overall efficiency. This is why premium networks, sponsorships, and NPE CPMs are more desirable (and required) during this time period.
3) There are numerous ways to thematically align your creative
This year, Tatari will have numerous clients in-market with BFCM-themed creatives. And while each will be promoting something different, it’s easy to spot the similarities across the board.
Made In & Magic Spoon
Take Made-in and Magic Spoon for example; both brands have utilized an end card that promotes their Black Friday deal on-screen, while also mentioning the sale via voice-over.
Or look at Knix, whose creative features a sales “sticker” that is present throughout the entirety of the ad—making it nearly impossible to miss the fact that they are hosting a Black Friday sale.
And lastly, check out how MVMT took the best of both worlds—leveraging a Black Friday sticker throughout, as well as a sale end card and VO mention.
These are just a few examples of Tatari client’s looking to make a splash during the BFCM time period. And while there is no “one-size-fits-all” creative approach, it’s easy to see the tactics that many of the top brands are leveraging this holiday season.
So go ahead and eat pounds of turkey. Say yes to that second slice of pumpkin pie. If you happen to flip on the TV during this time, take note of the commercials. And if you’re a marketer looking to add TV to your holiday strategy, chat with Tatari today to make sure you’re prepared for 2022.