If you think you saw a lot Amazon TV commercials throughout the holiday season, you’re not alone. The ecommerce giant spent $134.2 million on TV commercials in the final two months of 2019, according to data analytics firm Kantar’s Media division.
That amounted to 9.7% of total TV spending among retail advertising over that period. While overall spending on TV ads was down 5% year over year among retail brands, Amazon’s TV ad spend jumped 82% compared with last year. The next-biggest increases among the 10 largest spenders were Gap Inc.-owned Old Navy, which grew its TV budget 17% to $46.8 million, and Lowe’s, which allocated $50.6 million to TV, a 16% increase compared with the previous year, according to Kantar.
Amazon’s aggressive TV spending is a recent development for the retail giant given that last year was the first time that it ranked among the 10 largest TV advertisers over the holidays. This year, it pushed into the lead position, spending $3.3 million more than Walmart, which spent $130.9 million, a 2% decline from its 2018 spending over the same period, Kantar finds.
Amazon’s robust marketing push extended far beyond TV. The retailer, which only began consistently bidding on Google’s image-focused Product Listing Ads in a few categories in December 2016, accounted for 9.7% of PLA clicks in November and December, according to Kantar’s analysis of 2,500 popular retail product keywords, such as “xbox one,” “ps4,” “shoes,” “ipad” and “engagement rings.” That was second behind only Walmart, which accounted for 11.2% of PLA clicks. And Amazon also dominated text ads, with 7.9% of clicks, more than double the share of Wayfair, which was second at 3.4%.
That reflects Amazon’s aggressive push into the ad format in the past year—and the last few months, in particular. For example, on a typical day, such as Aug. 26, Amazon accounted for 70% of Google Shopping home goods impressions within keywords that Merkle identified as important to the category, according to Merkle’s “Digital Marketing Report Q3 2019.” And in apparel, a category in which Amazon had little Google Shopping presence until earlier in 2019, it accounted for 52% of apparel impressions within important keywords—also on Aug. 26.
“Amazon has come on strong in PLAs,” says Jim Leichenko, Kantar’s marketing director. “It is clearly looking to ensure that it gets its ads in front of consumers.”
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