Social to Capture the Bulk of Holiday Digital Ad Spend

October 25, 2018
Samantha Brachat

The 2018 holiday season is poised to set new records for ecommerce, and brands are ramping up their digital initiatives accordingly.


Digital Eclipses Traditional Spend

As businesses start to shift their focus towards the busy holiday season, more of their advertising budget is being allocated to digital. In fact, a recent survey by marketing firm Reveal Mobile – which surveyed over 250 small-to-medium size business managers in the United States – revealed that digital advertising revenue is expected to comprise of nearly 70% of total ad spend this year.
Digital versus traditional ad spend pie graphImage Source: Reveal Mobile

This forecast follows a series of trends in 2018 which has seen traditional mediums like television take a back seat to digital for the first time in history.


Social Media Takes Largest Share

Social media seems to be the digital channel of choice for advertisers, with over a third (36.4%) of businesses claiming that the majority of their digital budget will be pumped into social campaigns.
Holiday advertising budget allocation bar graphImage Source: Reveal Mobile

To break down the social realm even further, Facebook and its sister company, Instagram will be the most popular social mediums that advertisers leverage to maximize their holiday revenue, with 59.4% of ad spending happening on those two platforms collectively.
Digital ad spend budget bar graphImage Source: Reveal Mobile


Holiday Budgeting & Pivots

Another interesting element noted in Reveal Mobile’s survey is how companies change their budgeting habits. Unsurprisingly, over one third (37.2%) of businesses will increase their holiday advertising budget this year. More interestingly however, is the peak time in which brands begin to shift their messaging to focus on the holidays. October seems to be the preferred month, with 27.8% of those surveyed claiming that is when they shift to holiday-mode, followed by November (20.4%) and September (19.4%). Oddly enough, 17.8% of brands make absolutely no change whatsoever.
Date change of messaging bar graphImage Source: Reveal Mobile

As for which holiday gets more love between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the numbers are quite even, with 60% of businesses spreading out their campaigns evenly to both, and the remaining 40% being nearly split evenly between Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
When to allocate ad spend bar graphImage Source: Reveal Mobile


Rushing to the Finish Line

While it’s been a wild year for digital in 2018, social in particular has really evolved. Two thirds of brands are adopting more social commerce features than they ever have, and countless new advertising formats have been unveiled since January.

To get a leg up on your competition, start experimenting with new formats like Facebook Stories, shoppable posts on Instagram, Pinterest’s lifestyle ads, LinkedIn’s carousel ads, or Amazon’s sponsored advertising program (to name a few). Use Black Friday and Cyber Monday to gauge which format drives the most traffic, and then ramp up the top performer in time to capitalize on the December holiday rush.

Even though more advertisers will be competing for your digital traffic this year, there really are a lot of opportunities. Just because some channels are less popular than others, doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be successful. You’ll be competing with less advertisers the more niche your channel is, and your cost per actions will likely be cheaper as well, giving you more room to really test the waters.

Take a few risks, build new data, and enjoy the fruits of your labor this holiday season!

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