Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

10s of billions could be wasted on unsuitable digital ads this Golden Quarter

Brands are wasting hundreds of millions – if not billions – on ads that are not digitally suitable over the holiday season every year, according to research from CreativeX.

The analysis of 3.9 million ads from 2021-2022 from more than 400 brands across 10 different industries found that over $600 million was spent globally on ads that were not digitally suitable during the most critical time of year for brands.

Worryingly, if this was to be extrapolated to 2023’s ad spend figures, $73 billion can be predicted to be wasted in Q4 2023. This is based on Dentsu’s forecasted digital ad spend in 2023 of $424.3 billion, of which 30% of spend will occur in Q4, according to CreativeX. Of this 30%, 57% is expected to be wasted.

Brands are spending big bucks on their holiday campaigns, but are often comfortable with reusing made-for-TV content on digital platforms without adapting them sufficiently. CreativeX points to many ads not featuring any branding in the first 3-5 seconds, not being formatted correctly, or not including subtitles or supers in media environments where more than 90% of videos are watched without sound.

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