Holiday Havoc: Brands Wasting $600+ Million in Seasonal Ad Spending (New Report)

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One week until the big day … and if it feels like we’re entering our third month of holiday ads, well, you’re not alone.

And while every dollar spent on holiday gifts is a dollar well-spent, a new report is showing that not all holiday-ad dollars can say the same.

CreativeX looked at 3.9 million ads from 2021-2022, representing 446 brands and $3.6 billion in advertising spend. It found that during the holiday season, brands are wasting more than $600 million worldwide — nearly half of that ($288 million) happening in the United States.

“This means that the ads are not meeting best practices that are statistically proven to increase a brand’s success on the channel,” the report says, highlighting principles such as branding early, framing for mobile, optimal lengths, and user calls-to-action as some of those best practices. “As brands scaled up … content production efforts to keep up with the content demands of various digital platforms, these ‘creative basics’ fell through the cracks.”

(Source: CreativeX)

CreativeX identified 35% of media budgets were going on unbranded ads, 12% on wrongly-sized ads, 32% on video ads of unsuitable length, and 7% on video ads with no subtitles.

“While the issue of low-quality content is heightened in the holiday season, this is not an issue unique to Q4,” writes CreativeX’s Isobel Bruce. “Over the entire year, over $2 billion globally, and $850 million in the United States is going to ads that aren’t built to succeed.”


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