Thanksgiving is already just a week away, as we’re now more than halfway through the most important quarter of the year for many brands. We took a look at some of the trends shaping up across Google, Meta and Amazon based on more than $3 billion in annual media under management at Tinuiti to help marketers understand the landscape going into the Cyber Five stretch from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.
Let’s dig in.
This post was coauthored by Andy Taylor and Mark Ballard.
Facebook CPM Not Picking Up Steam Like Last Year
One question heading into Q4 for Meta advertisers was how ad pricing would trend in the final quarter. CPM declined year over year for the first time since 2020 for Tinuiti advertisers in Q3 2022, dipping 12% compared to Q3 2021, but was still up 6% for the median advertiser as many advertisers still saw growth.
So far in Q4, Meta CPM is down 17% year over year (and down 7% for the median advertiser), as the competitive landscape does appear to be thinning out relative to prior quarters, lining up with the soft demand Meta execs called out in its Q3 earnings call. This is particularly true on Facebook, where November daily CPM has been just 6% higher than the first half of October on average, compared to 14% higher looking at the same comparison in 2021.
Although Instagram CPM growth compared to early October is now trending roughly in line with 2021, most of the CPM increase in 2022 occurred in late October, while CPMs didn’t jump in 2021 until November.
We’re still a week away from Thanksgiving, which could trigger many brands to hit the gas on ad spend and ratchet up competition in Meta ad auctions. Thus far, however, it appears soft demand is pulling down CPM year over year in Q4.
Prime Early Access Sale Hangover Wearing Off for Amazon Advertisers
Amazon threw a major Prime member event on October 11 and 12 this year called the Prime Early Access Sale. The event didn’t live up to the volume produced by Amazon’s premiere sales event Prime Day, but did boost consumer demand far beyond what we might have expected in mid-October were this event not held.
Immediately following that boost, however, many advertisers found conversions attributed to Sponsored Products ads lagging 2021 levels by more than 5% to end October.
Growth recovered over the first couple of weeks of November, and it’s possible that the Prime Early Access Sale really only pulled forward demand from late October. Vendors and sellers should still expect core stretches like the Cyber Five to be meaningful drivers of volume and performance this Q4.
Amazon Yet to Ramp Up Its Google Shopping Presence, but Target and Walmart Have Been More Aggressive
While Amazon appeared to ramp up its presence in Google Shopping auctions for Prime Day in July, its share of Google Shopping impressions has been on the decline since, including during the October 11-12 Prime Early Access Sale.
Amazon’s share of Google Shopping impressions in November 2022 has been running similarly to 2021 levels so far. In 2021, Amazon began to see a lift in share during the third week of November, with a significant jump occurring the week after Thanksgiving.
Although Amazon wasn’t particularly aggressive in Google auctions over its October Prime event, it looks like Walmart did make a push to capture customers in early October. After running below 2021 levels over most of Q3, Walmart’s share of Google Shopping impressions rose significantly in late September before peaking the week of October 10.
In the weeks since, Walmart’s share of Google Shopping impressions has run a bit above 2021 levels. In 2021, Walmart saw a spike in impression share during the week of Thanksgiving and its share peaked the following week.
Target has historically maintained a steadier (albeit smaller) presence in Google Shopping auctions than either Amazon or Walmart, so it is notable that Target began running more aggressively compared to 2021 beginning in late September.
In Q4 2021, Target did not see much movement in its share of Google Shopping impressions even during the peak of the holiday shopping season. With Thanksgiving a week away, we’ll have to see if Target makes another push compared to 2021 or if they ride out the quarter at a steady level.