IX Perspectives

Programmatic Holidays: Week Four

To understand how brands allocated programmatic spend over the 2015 holiday season, we took a look at the biggest brand buyers from the Sunday before Thanksgiving to the end of December. This post focuses on the week of December 13th.

Overall spend through Index Exchange increased five percent from Week 3 to Week 4 of the programmatic holiday advertising season. We saw a six percent increase in open exchange spending and four percent increase in private marketplace spend.

The volatility within the top ten market spenders continued through the fourth week of the programmatic holiday season. Here’s what’s most notable:

  • Best Buy had a “scale-back” week. Best Buy’s remained a dominant buyer of ad space during the programmatic holiday advertising. The company has held the top spot in the open market in every week but the week after Thanksgiving (Week 2).
  • American Express allocated significant spend in both open and private markets. American Express has remained one of the top ten private spenders from Weeks 1 – 4 and in Week 3 the company broke the top ten spend list for the open market. In Week 4 the company usurped the number three spot from Microsoft in the open market and came in fourth in PMP spend. This is a trend we’ve noticed through the holiday season – financial services identifies this period of time as a key marketing window.
  • Walmart and Target were the big box bulls. Target remained the top spender across all private marketplaces, increasing private spend 7% from Week 3. Walmart increased open exchange spend by 47%. These large department stores spend allocation indicates a gradual ramp up to Christmas, as opposed to the “on-week” and “off-week” approach used by Best Buy.
  • CPG scales back privately and plateaus in the open market. This week was an off-week for CPG within the top ten. After private spend increases from Nestle and Unilever in Week 3, Unilever decreased private spend by 20% in Week 4. Nestle dropped out of the top ten and PepsiCo’s open budget remained virtually the same.
  • Normalcy creeps back in. Some major brands missed the top ten during the first three weeks of the programmatic holiday advertising season due to the influx of spend from seasonal buyers. Week 4 of the programmatic holiday advertising season shows signs of a return to normal. Williams-Sonoma drops from the top ten open list and Comcast (a standard Top Ten-er) returns.


Source: Index Exchange Q4 2015 Global Marketplace Data


week 4 pmp
Source: Index Exchange Q4 2015 Global Marketplace Data

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