Brand Experience

Skai Report: Advertising Spend Growth Driven by Holiday Season

22 March, 2024

As the curtains closed on another quarter, the fitness and wellness industry saw an impressive upsurge in retail media spending, signaling confidence and growth even amidst fluctuating market trends. This was particularly highlighted in Skai’s latest Quarterly Trends Report which provides an incisive breakdown of the digital marketing landscape, offering valuable insights for strategies like gym marketing and advertising for gyms.

With the wrapping of gifts and toasts to the new year, the final quarter traditionally orchestrates a symphony of increased digital spending across various channels. Skai’s report delineated these magnified investments with retail media leading the charge at a 27% year-over-year increase. This was complemented by a 15% surge in paid social and a 4% rise in paid search. The inclusion of platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn has broadened the analysis, enhancing the comprehension of paid social growth.

As brands strove to capture consumer attention during the pivotal holiday season, the cost-per-click (CPC) inevitably soared. Retail media displayed a robust 18% growth in CPC, and paid search followed closely with a 13% expansion. However, these elevated costs proved to be an investment yielding rich returns as conversion rates comfortably overshadowed the expense, climbing by over 10% in both channels. Better conversion rates can lead to increased CPC as algorithms chase optimal performance metrics, and reciprocally, higher CPCs may foster improved performance outcomes.

The strategic battle for consumers’ dollars honed in on the bottom of the sales funnel, where transactions culminate. We saw a formidable 70% boost in product ad spending on Meta from Q3 to Q4, showcasing an aggressive pursuit of campaign strategies aimed at sales—a pivotal aspect of gym lead generation. The inclusion of the Advantage Shopping Campaigns Plus saw spending more than double quarter-over-quarter, perhaps signaling a burgeoning trend within the lower-funnel ads during the holiday shopping frenzy.

As paid search evolves, it was observed that while there was a conspicuous decline in impressions and clicks, the shift from legacy campaigns to the likes of Performance Max suggested a reprioritization towards targeting and ad inventory that yielded fewer impressions but garnered higher clickthrough rates and prices. Such a shift underscores the dynamic nature of digital advertising and its need for innovation and adaptation.

Amidst these variations and progressions, Skai’s Senior Director of Marketing Research Chris Costello remarked on the steadfast role of commerce media. There’s a clear acknowledgment among advertisers of the value commerce media delivers, manifesting in heightened investments. With new ad products transforming search and social channels, the intricacies of retail media have evolved, adopting a full-funnel approach through the inclusion of programmatic display.

Concepts like Facebook Ads continue to play a vital role in the marketing playbook for industries such as fitness, where attracting more gym members hinges on precise and impactful digital strategies.

The extensive analysis that informs Skai’s report draws from around $9 billion in advertising spend, incorporating over 3,000 advertiser and agency accounts spanning various verticals and geographies, reflective of activity on prominent platforms such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, among others. Despite the comprehensive nature of the data, Skai prudently states that the figures are indicative of trends rather than an all-encompassing market representation.

For readers keen on deep-diving into the granular aspects of digital marketing trends, Skai’s full report and accompanying infographic serve as essential tools, furnishing advertisers and marketers in the fitness industry with actionable intelligence to capture and engage their audience effectively—turning holiday spending surges into year-round success.