Advertising pays off for Walmart

9 December 2013
NEW YORK: Just over one-third of US shoppers who visited a Top 50 US retailer over the Thanksgiving weekend did so at a Walmart store, new data has revealed, which meant it achieved the best proportion of visitors set against its total TV adspend in November.

According to research from Kantar Media and Placed Inc, the Seattle-based location analytics company, the US retail giant spent more than twice as much in TV advertising as its rivals from November 3-27, and this translated into a "cost-per-visitor-share" of just $1.7m.

The cost-per-visitor-share metric, which measured return on advertising investment, was based on merged data of advertising expenditures compared with in-store visitor counts.

It monitored retailers' adspend on broadcast and cable TV over November and compared the results with retail store visits recorded by smartphone-enabled consumers.

Walmart spent $57m on TV advertising in the run-up to the long holiday weekend, achieving a 34% share of visitors, although the research found this represented only a 4-point share increase since the week earlier.

Its nearest rival, the discount retailer Target, spent $28m on advertising leading up to the weekend, giving it 11.9% of all visitors and a cost per visitor ratio of $2.4m per share point.

By contrast, Sears Roebuck and Macy's recorded cost per visitor share point ratios of $13.7m and $8.1m respectively, showing that mass market stores achieved lower costs per visitor than these "full-line" department store brands.

Home Depot had the third lowest cost per visitor share (at $2.9m), yet its TV adspend of $16m was just $1m less than that spent by rival Lowes, which recorded a less successful conversion rate of $4m cost per visitor share.

Other major retailers that appeared to do well included the Best Buy consumer electronics chain, which received the third-highest number of visitors (at 6.2%) and a $4m per visitor share point on its total pre-Thanksgiving TV ad budget of $25m.

However, while the study promotes its new metric as a useful tool for analysts, it also cautions that many other factors could also have been at play, including how well retailers employed other advertising channels, their use of online media, store location and their merchandising mix.

Data sourced from Kantar Media; additional content by Warc staff
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