Brands waste billions on ‘video nasty’ festive digital ads

Xmas 5Brands are set to waste hundreds of millions of pounds in digital adspend during the seasonal period by ignoring tried and tested methods to simply repurpose TV ads for digital channels.

That is according to a new analysis by adtech company CreativeX, which assessed over 3.9 million ads from 2021-2022, from 400+ brands across 10 different industries including retail, food and beverage, and consumer packaged goods.

It found that brands spent over $600m (£481m) worldwide on ads that are not digitally suitable during a critical time of the year for marketers. Extrapolating this to 2023’s ad spend figures, over $73bn (£58.6bn) is forecasted to be wasted on digitally suboptimal ads in Q4 2023.

Previous research conducted by CreativeX found that, in 2020 and 2021, over 50% of digital adspend was put behind image and video ads that were not optimised to their digital environment – $700m (£562m) out of $1.2m (£960m) analysed. A year later, almost as much budget has been wasted in Q4 alone.

For many brands, the last quarter of the year accounts for more than 50% of their annual revenue and a disproportionate allocation of their annual media budget (approximately 30% of total worldwide adspend). It is a crucial opportunity for brands to attract consumers as buying intent peaks during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa celebrations.

While brands spend millions bringing their holiday campaign ideas to life, they falter at the last mile before their ads reach their digital destination.

The habitual reuse of made-for-TV content on digital platforms means that ads are not suitably adapted to their digital environments and fail to incorporate basic fit-for-platform creative best practices that maximise the likelihood of the message’s cut through, CreativeX claims.

Millions are invested in ads that do not include any branding in the first 3-5 seconds (the average view-length of a digital video), are formatted incorrectly, or fail to include subtitles or supers in media environments, where 90%+ of videos are watched without sound, all basic creative quality criteria that has been shown to deliver better performance on digital.

CreativeX founder and CEO Anastasia Leng said: “Creative teams have toiled hard all year to deliver break-through holiday campaigns and tap into consumers’ heightened intent to purchase.

“Sadly, the impact of their work is minimised by the last executional leg of the journey: adapting creative assets to align them to the digital media environments they’re intended for.

“These small tweaks increase an ad’s Creative Quality Score and media effectiveness, and during a year of heightened budget scrutiny, it may just give marketing teams something to be joyful about.”

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