How Target’s Black Friday Placements Sparked Serious Digital ROI

Television’s effect during the holidays isn’t just limited to offline purchases. Online sales have increased by “double digits” according to Reuters, and TV plays a huge role in influencing that digital behavior.

Target, ranking third for impressions but number one for digital engagement, knows this better than anyone. By using commercials as a catalyst for digital activity, their ads drove jaw-dropping lifts across search, social, and online video. On less than half the spend of Walmart, Target hit the bullseye, sitting strong on 32.87% of all TV-driven cross-channel engagement generated by the industry.

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Department Store TV Advertising Impressions & Digital Engagement October 31 – November 30 2015

Although well-known for their imaginative holiday ads, Target’s Average View Rate proved to be 10% lower than that of Walmart. For example, placements in Modern Family and Dancing with the Stars each generated 32 million live impressions, but the Average View Rate differed vastly. Modern Family viewers had a high Average View Rate, playing the ads 85% of the way through, while Dancing with the Stars viewers interrupted the ads at the 74% mark — proving you can tailor placements to match your objectives, whether it is viewer attention or digital engagement.

How did Target do it?

Target went with less expensive but more targeted media buys to put its ads right in front of viewers who were more likely to engage online after watching their commercials — turning TV viewers into digital influencers. Twelve percent of Target’s impressions came from local placements, which was significantly more than Walmart and 4% higher than the industry average. The retailer strategically targeted digital natives — Gen X, Y, and Z viewers — spending around $1 million on each E!, Nick, The CW, and MTV. These placements alone drove over 17% of Target’s total digital share of voice in the industry.

Target’s Most Engaging Black Friday Ads

(10/31/2015 – 11/20/2015)

1. ‘Cyber Monday: No Work’

27.30% Digital Share of Voice


2. ‘Chapter Two: Pirate Shipping’

24.71% Digital Share of Voice


3. ‘Chapter One: The Journey Begins’

17.14% Digital Share of Voice


4.‘Chapter Three: Cornucopia’

6.43% Digital Share of Voice


5. ’10 Day Deal Forecast: Lights, Cameras, Coffee Makers’

3.79% Digital Share of Voice

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