Corporate Eye

Big Shift in Holiday Brand Advertising Spending

holiday-seasons_sale_2Holiday marketing and advertising budgets for retailers are staying relatively flat this year, but that money won’t be spent the same way it has been in prior years.  2010 holiday advertising budgets will be spread in new ways to match the changing behaviors of consumers.

According to the BDO Retail Compass Survey, fewer companies are cutting holiday advertising budgets in 2010 (just 20% will cut holiday advertising budgets) than in 2009 (26% cut holiday advertising budgets) and in 2008 (32% cut holiday advertising budgets).

In 2010, more companies are prioritizing television over print and social media is gaining a larger piece of the ad spending budget.  25% of chief marketing officers who responded to the BDO survey reported that the majority of their holiday advertising budgets will be spent on television this year (up from 13% in 2009), and 42% stated that the bulk of their holiday advertising spending will occur in the print space (down from 64% in 2009).  In the online space, 27% of respondents reported that most of their holiday advertising budgets will go toward online ads and social media initiatives (up from 18% in 2009).

In fact, a full 75% of respondents stated they would be investing in social media marketing during the holiday season in 2010, which is a significant jump from the 51% who invested in social media in 2009.  Facebook is dominant in terms of brand advertising spending this holiday season.  92% of respondents reported that they would be investing in some form of marketing and advertising via Facebook, followed by 60% investing in Twitter, 20% investing on YouTube, and 8% investing on MySpace.

While companies are realizing that consumers are spending time on the social Web and brands need to be there, too, particularly during the holiday season, there is still no recipe for marketing success via social media.  It’s not surprising that 62% of respondents to the BDO survey are investing less than 10% of their 2010 holiday season advertising budgets on social media.  On the flip side, just over 1% of respondents are investing 70-79% of their holiday season advertising budgets on social media.

It will be interesting to see who wins — big social media spenders or small social media spenders.  One thing is certain — the 2010 holiday season will provide a lot of data for analysis as companies review brand performance and advertising effectiveness in 2011.  However, with the global economy still struggling, it’s difficult to know what behaviors will transcend the economic downturn.  It’s probably safe to assume that the 2011 holiday season will be filled with just as much testing and trial and error as the 2010 season.

Image: stock.xchng

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.