This year, we’re bringing in the end of the year with a series: 12 Days ‘til New Years. We’ll continue our tradition of highlighting the most notable brands and spending across ad tech platforms, consumer media, and B2B industries.
The popular Christmas carol The 12 Days of Christmas counts down to Christmas day. This year, we’re counting down to something everyone can celebrate—the end of 2020.
While the original carol presents listeners with maids a-milking, golden rings, and French hens, we present the top stats in advertising.
Today, we replace the traditional seven swans-a-swimming with the slightly more practical seven brands-a-buying, sharing the seven brands who increased their ad spend the most between 2019 and 2020.
7 Brands-a-Buying (more ad space than they did last year)
The COVID-19 pandemic marked a sudden shift for most industries. Consumers were demanding different products and turning their attention to different advertising platforms; advertisers were working with reduced budgets and a rapid change in advertising needs.
Some brands, though, increased their spend in uncertain times—taking risks and adapting quickly to all the challenges of 2020.
As consumers stayed at home and turned to online shopping, Zolucky—an online apparel distributor—saw an opportunity and increased their ad spend by $6 million YoY. After all, consumers were looking for bargains and contactless shopping, and Zolucky offered both.
In 2020, Zolucky spent exclusively in the digital space. While their programmatic campaign made up 50% of their annual ad campaigns, Zolucky also placed $6M into direct digital campaigns, investing with CNN, AllRecipes, Country Living, and Good Housekeeping, among others.
The finance industry stayed strong in 2020 as users looked to different online options to help them manage limited resources. TurboTax capitalized on this desire for online financial tools and spent $5.9 million more in advertising.
TurboTax’s programmatic campaign made up just 5% of their ad spend in 2020. Their television campaign took up most of their annual spend (87%), but TurboTax also ran campaigns in Social Media, Podcasting, OTT, and Magazines.
They also launched their online Unemployment Center to answer specific questions from those who lost their job in 2020 due to the pandemic. Tasks like this helped them stay relevant, and their ad spend helped keep them top of mind for their audience.
Next up is Interactive Brokers, an electronic brokerage that handles clearance and settlement of trades for individual and institutional clients. During the market volatility of 2020, the brokerage experienced increased activity from retail investors. And at the same time, Interactive Brokers lowered its commission fees.
To communicate that it was a partner and educator, Interactive Brokers increased their ad spend by $5.8 million.
As America’s largest used-car retailer, CarMax was one of the more surprising beneficiaries of the pandemic. Despite stay-at-home orders, the used car industry did well in 2020. Analysts believe that fear of public transportation and tight budgets were main factors causing an increased demand for used cars.
CarMax adapted quickly to the pandemic and allowed potential customers to shop from home—an important note in a year of social distancing. Pouring $5.6 million more into advertising this year than last, CarMax was ready to make themselves known to the many consumers seeking used cars.
The Motley Fool
The mere presence of a third financial contender on the list shows just how important financial management was to consumers this year. And The Motley Crew was no different.
The Motley Crew is a private financial and investing advice company with a strong online community, which likely appealed to those stuck at home. They also offer a subscription service, offering valuable advice to those who are new to investing or don’t have time to do extensive research on stocks.
The Motley Fool spent an additional $5.6 million.
Grammarly increased their ad spend by $4.7 million YoY, distributing ads that spoke to the importance of good grammar in online communication such as email.
In a year where many were working from home, Grammarly was uniquely placed in that it spoke to both professionalism and clear communication from a distance. The increased ad spend was likely an attempt to capitalize on the increase in typed online communication.
GMC, another member of the automotive industry, spent an additional $4.2 million on advertising in 2020. While the industry has shown resilience during the pandemic, it’s expected that new car sales won’t reach pre-COVID levels until about 2023.
GMC didn’t escape downward buying trends this year, and reported a 10% decrease in sales YoY. Their ad spend, however, may work to combat that as they showcase why their products are worth it even when budgets are tight.
Want more highlights from this eventful (and very long) year? Next up in our countdown ‘til New Years will be 6 Facebook Trailblazers.
For more updates like this, stay tuned. Subscribe to our blog for more updates on coronavirus and its mark on the economy.