Marketing Briefing: Meta continues to scoop up Black Friday and Cyber Monday ad budgets but TikTok tests are happening

a box opening that says happy holidays

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While Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have been ongoing for some brands, the true BFCM madness commences this week and marketers and agency execs say that ad spending continues to focus on Meta platforms Facebook and Instagram. However, they are also testing out running BFCM ads on TikTok as well this year. 

“Meta will continue to be the biggest channel we’re spending on for DTC brands,” said Zach Stuck, founder of performance marketing shop Homestead Studio. “We’ve found some success for driving results on TikTok, but nowhere near the scale that we can achieve with Meta.” 

Marketers and agency execs say they are seeing between 70-85% of BFCM ad budgets going to Facebook and roughly 5-10% of budgets going to TikTok this year with the rest of the budget dedicated to Google and YouTube. That being said, spending on TikTok is still focused on brand awareness over performance marketing for many as TikTok hasn’t proven performance marketing dollars to work as well on the platform just yet, according to agency execs. 

“More and more advertisers are testing performance on TikTok, but it’s not mainstream,” noted one agency exec who requested anonymity, adding that advertisers are bullish on TikTok overall. “Still, most clients are heavily prioritizing Meta for their Q4 performance-based campaigns. Meta is very flexible, it’s a lower lift from a creative side as clients are more accustomed to its offerings — and still the player to beat in the social landscape.”

Even so, marketers and agency execs say the rise of TikTok has advertisers and brand execs looking to capitalize on the platform’s popularity this season however they can. “The holiday selling season is heating up on TikTok as our brand partners are aiming to capitalize on the ‘TikTok Made Me Buy it’ phenomenon,” said Glenn Ginsburg, president of influencer marketing shop QYOU Media. “‘TikTok Made me Buy It’ is content that showcases compelling products driving impulse purchases or purchase consideration across a range of products and services.”

Ginsburg added: “We’ve found that influencer content positioned as ads out-performs traditional creative across key metrics including view-thru, engagement and click-thru. Via running ads, we can also test a variety of creator content and targeting options and optimize to best performers.”

Aside from a small portion of the ad budget dedicated to TikTok this year, there’s more of a focus on performance now as the early sales windows didn’t necessarily deliver what marketers were hoping despite more creative being focused on getting people to shop early. 

 “So far, traction for Black Friday/Cyber Monday has not been as booming as expected – partly because many consumers are anxious and want to get the best deals,” said Amy Lanzi, chief operating officer, Publicis Commerce. “People are sitting on things – hoping prices will drop – and looking for great deals that inspire purchase.” 

Lanzi continued: “Given hesitancy from consumers, a lot of creative has been geared toward accessing Black Friday early. This makes sense as in previous years a growing trend has been that people are purchasing earlier and earlier and leaning into deals throughout the months leading up to BFCM, not just those happening on those solitary days.” 

Even with earlier sales not performing as some had hoped, marketers and agency execs expect the earlier sales windows for BFCM will likely continue going forward.

3 Questions With Brian Rappaport, CEO of out-of-home agency Quan Media Group

Do you believe that brands are starting to use QR codes to make ads more interactive?

I do. I also think QR codes extend the life of an OOH campaign in a variety of ways. You can book visits at a brick and mortar location or you can purchase a product on the spot. It can simply be a way to share more about a brand that’s teased out via an OOH placement. There are a variety of prime OOH placements that lend themselves well to QR codes including wild postings, street level, and of course airport.

 What are the risks of data being collected whether it’s a digital or OOH QR code?

The biggest risk here is data/compliance and understanding that the consumer who interacts with/scans the QR code is aware of what’s being collected and that they have the opportunity to opt-out. We work with Flowcode because they are GDPR and CCPA compliant which means they comply with the most stringent laws globally. It’s been a bit scary with basic QR codes as fraudsters are sticking them in high-traffic areas where people are scanning and collecting financial data/info from their mobile devices.

Why are brands leaning into QR codes more now as opposed to a few years ago?

I think as the pandemic eased up a bit and people started to leave their homes, they were exhausted from sitting in front of computers and TVs. OOH is having its “moment” yet again, and it’s truly an unblockable format. If you’re walking around Soho [Manhattan] and you pass a street level wallscape with say, a Goldbelly OOH placement advertising a mouthwatering deep dish pizza and you can scan and order it on the spot, that creates an incredible experience for the consumer. In markets that are pedestrian-friendly, it’s a great way to extend the life of an OOH campaign. — Julian Cannon

By the Numbers

Talk of potential economic downturn hasn’t let up as Q4 is now in full swing. Back in September, at the start of budgeting season, advertisers were scratching their heads, especially as inflation and consumer spending were at odds, giving marketers mixed signals. But as of earlier this month, CMOs and senior marketing executives say they plan to increase investments next year, according to new research from Matter Communications agency. Key findings from the report below:

  • 89% CMOs and senior marketing executives are planning to increase their marketing investments for 2023, with nearly half – 44% – planning to substantially increase investments.
  • 34% of CMOs and senior marketers increased their marketing investments during COVID lockdowns, with 71% of those experiencing growth during the following 12-month period.
  • Of those that decreased marketing investments during COVID lockdowns, 90% are now planning to increase their investments in the year ahead. — Kimeko McCoy

Quote of the week

“These platforms, whether they’re walled gardens or ad tech, have to say the right things to us behind closed doors because we’re representing the client.”

— An ad exec who requested anonymity for our latest Confessions on the inefficiency in the current digital ad ecosystem.

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