Gamestop, Bid Shading, and Raising Money for Bartenders. This Week in Digital Advertising: February 5th, 2021

Gamestop, Bid Shading, and Raising Money for Bartenders. This Week in Digital Advertising: February 5th, 2021

Hello Bidtellectuals!

Congratulations to Bidtellectual of the Week Mitchell Bonkowski!


If Gamestop Taught Us Anything, It’s that Sharing is Caring

The Gamestop stock-buying craze has made one thing clear: people love sharing informational content and acting on what they’ve learned. Now’s the time for the finance vertical to up its meaningful content efforts. Create content to (re)educate consumers and build trust, then maximize contextual tools to reach consumers at their moment of research or purchase intent. Director of Sales Jonno Burden weighs in on next steps for the industry.

Read more here: GAMESTOP WHAT? Time to Educate and Win Customers

Superbowl Ad Breakdown: The COVID Effect

You may have heard the term floating around lately, or even read this WTF piece on Digiday. Simply put, Bid Shading allows advertisers to save money on an ad placement that’s valuable to them and their goals. Bidtellect’s VP of Product breaks down the process in the first video of our new Behind the Platform series. You can also read more about it here

The Latest

  • Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO of Amazon—the trillion-dollar ecommerce and cloud computing behemoth he started 27 years ago that made him one of the world’s richest humans. Bezos will transition to executive chair while Andy Jassy will take over as CEO. Jassy grew Amazon’s cloud segment Amazon Web Services from its inception into a $45 billion business and the company’s biggest moneymaker
  • Magnite has acquired video supply-side platform SpotX from European entertainment network RTL Group for $1.17 billion. According to Magnite CEO Michael Barrett, the company’s vision is to build a highly scaled independent programmatic CTV and video ad platform.
  • The Superbowl is the Sunday. 186.6 million people are expected to tune in this year. What to expect: advertisers are more cautious, somber ads are out, and many new brands who thrived during the pandemic are making their debut.
  • Read a rundown of Superbowl advertisers here and COVID’s effect. 

Good News: Bartenders Get Some Celebrity Love

Say cheers! The alcohol brands of Ryan Reynolds, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and David Beckham have joined together to donate $1 million towards organizations that benefit bartenders in lockdown. You can watch the hilarious video here.

Stay safe,


Cannabis Advertising, COVID’s Impact on Superbowl Ads, and Walmart’s New DSP. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 29th

Cannabis Advertising, COVID’s Impact on Superbowl Ads, and Walmart’s New DSP. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 29th

Hello Bidtellectuals!

Congratulations to Bidtellectual of the Week Vicky Papadimas!


The Cannabis Craze & Its Digital Opportunity

Like every industry during the coronavirus pandemic, the cannabis industry felt some changes…but not in a bad way. Sure, live events were cancelled and billboards were suddenly a massive waste of money, but the combination of stress and more time at home meant sales soared. But cannabis advertisers still face lingering misconceptions about its benefits, not to mention laws that differ by state. There’s a dynamite opportunity for increased digital spend coupled with valuable content that can re-educate the masses.

Read more here: Cannabis Advertising, Changing Perceptions, the COVID Impact, and the Digital Opportunity

Superbowl Ad Breakdown: The COVID Effect

  • ViacomCBS says its Super Bowl ad inventory is pretty much sold out, with 30-second spots selling for at least $5.5 million.
  • For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser will not run an ad in the Super Bowl. Instead, it’s diverting its ad budget to focus on efforts to improve awareness and education around Covid-19 vaccines, in partnership with the public-service advertising nonprofit Ad Council. (Their seltzers will see some air time, though)
  • On that note, expect lots of ads for hard seltzers and light beer, like this take on the old “make lemonade out of lemons” advice; 2020 gave us a sh*t load of lemons, so they made some Bud Light lemon seltzer.
  • Indeed will run its first ever Super Bowl commercial featuring real job seekers to offer hope and inspiration for job hunting.
  • Tide always crushes it. This year, they’ll air a 60-second spot featuring Jason Alexander. Doritos, Pringles, M&Ms, General Motors, Mountain Dew will be back, too.
  • Hellmans and Huggies make their first Super Bowl debut.
  • E*Trade, DoorDash, Fiverr, and Mercari also make their first debut, each examples of tools that saw new popularity during the pandemic.


Walmart Taps Trade Desk Over Xandr

After more than a year of testing, Walmart announced the release of its custom-built version of the Trade Desk DSP for its retail media business. Walmart’s DSP is a separate, walled-off version of the Trade Desk, filled with exclusive Walmart data and inventory and utilizing a self-service model to give buyers more transparency.The Walmart DSP will also be the only way to access Walmart’s advertising inventory– like and in-store ad placements. See what they did there?

Good News: Giant Dinosaur Discovered

Some bones first discovered in Argentina in 2012 may be the largest land animal in our planet’s history. After subsequent field trips, digs, and analysis over twelve years, paleontologists now believe the tail vertebrae, pelvis, and other bones discovered belong to a titanosaur from 98 million years ago. The dinosaur could be larger than 76 tons and 122 feet from nose to tail. Imagine catching one of those in your backyard!

Stay safe,


Cannabis Advertising, Changing Perceptions, the COVID Impact, and the Digital Opportunity

Cannabis Advertising, Changing Perceptions, the COVID Impact, and the Digital Opportunity

With the legality and perception of cannabis changing, how can cannabis advertisers adjust their strategy for maximum ROI?
How shifting perceptions and COVID’s impact leave a massive opportunity for digital and programmatic.

2020 was a big year for the cannabis movement and cannabis advertising. In the US, cannabis is now fully legal (medical and recreational) in 11 states plus Washington, DC., and legal for medical use in 34 states. Legal cannabis sales reached nearly $20 billion this past year and are expected to top $40 billion annually within the next four years (TechCrunch)

For cannabis advertisers, there are still several hurdles: state by state differences in legality, lingering misconceptions coupled with shifting demographics and reputation, and lack of information or educational resources.

We’ll cover: changing attitudes, emerging demographics and usage data, the coronavirus pandemic’s effect, and digital strategies for success.

Changing Attitudes & A Disconnect Between “Typical” Weed Users and Those Purchasing

The “typical” cannabis user is no longer just your older brother’s friend hanging in their parents’ basement. Cannabis users and perceptions of usage have evolved and expanded. From cancer patients and the elderly looking to increase their appetite and minimize pain naturally, to tech-savvy “biohacker” types looking to maximize their health, and everywhere in between (Healthline, WebMD, Harvard Medical, TechCrunch, and Vogue all have written about it, to name a few).  

According to data from Oasis Intelligence and Adweek, there’s no single description for cannabis consumers, but as a composite, they’re 30-something college graduates working full-time jobs. They’re committed to social justice and legal reform, they’re hungry for information, and they use cannabis primarily as a wellness tool (Adweek). 48% say they consume cannabis for wellness rather than recreational purposes, with 19% making no distinction between the two (Oasis Intelligence via Adweek). This means cannabis is more than an alternative medicine and might just be…a health trend.

Based on the data, most use cannabis weekly, price is a major factor in choosing a brand to purchase from, and usage and spend have increased during the coronavirus pandemic. 


Cannabis Usage Trends: 

  • 83% use cannabis weekly (Oasis Intelligence Poll of 20,000 participants via Adweek). 
  • 60% spend more than $50 a month on cannabis products, and 38% spend more than $100 (Oasis Intelligence via Adweek). 
  • Flower and edibles are the most popular forms of cannabis, while interest in infused beverages has doubled recently, with 17% of survey participants saying they use the products (Oasis Intelligence via Adweek). 
  • Price is a key driver for 50% of consumers, and 46% bought directly from a dispensary. (Oasis Intelligence via Adweek)
  • Washington is the leading U.S. state based on cannabis sales for recreational use (Statista).
  • 44% report planned increase in cannabis use during COVID-19 outbreak in the United States in 2020 (Statista)
  • In 2019, almost 127 million people had used marijuana in their lifetime, a substantial increase from 104 million in 2009 (Statista)
  • 66% of respondents replied in favor of legalizing marijuana in October 2019 (Statista).

The Pandemic Effect 

on Cannabis & Cannabis Advertising

Ecommerce skyrocketed: With more stuck at home than any time in recent history (coupled with stress and anxiety), it’s no surprise that cannabis use jumped at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. 44% report using or planning to use multiple times per day, and 39% answered five or more days per week (Statista) Luckily, many dispensaries were classified as “essential” businesses during pandemic in many states alongside grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies (TechCrunch). Retail sales of medical and recreational cannabis in the United States were projected to eclipse $15 billion by the end of 2020, an increase of approximately 40% over 2019 sales figures, according to Marijuana Business Factbook, and experts estimate that the pandemic accelerated the shift to e-commerce by five years. One brand, Dutchie, experienced a 700% surge in online orders and a 32% increase in average order size since March (TechCrunch).  

Decrease in events or in-person exploration and educational opportunities: This goes without saying, really. But it’s worth it to note that the cannabis industry relied heavily on live events for educational and experimentation purposes. Those new to the “cannabis game” could attend a live event to speak with experts, try new strands, and determine the best purchase for their intentions. Cannabis advertisers should experiment with live virtual videos or events that are short and educational to help potential consumers make purchase decisions, as well as look to written content. Original content – over live events – can live longer on the internet and allow new and returning consumers to access it at any time. For example, During the pandemic, Charlotte’s Web CBD and cannabis product company debuted the education series “Searching for Answers.”

Cost-Conscious Buying & Trust: The pandemic and subsequent economic downturn obviously shifted the focus of consumers to more cost-conscious purchasing patterns. Expect far less impulse-buying and more research and cost-evaluation from consumers that will likely stick around. This is where education comes into play; consumers will be more likely to spend with a brand that shows expertise and trustworthiness than those who are flashy. And consumers “will go with their tried and true” to complete repeat purchases over finding a new brand each time.


The Importance of Original Content, Trustworthiness, & Education in Cannabis Advertising

Like other industries that require an educational component to their sales strategy, cannabis will require valuable content creation and scalable distribution efforts to educate the public on the benefits of cannabis and its changing reputation. 

Individuality and original content will also matter. According to CMO Sam Boyer to Adweek, “Original content will be a huge driver for cannabis advertising. It’s definitely more engaging at a time when people are looking for information and want to hear about health and wellness. The authentic voices will really stand out.”

Bidtellect Case Study: How A Leading University Targeted Content To Reach Students Across Multiple Geos

Why Digital Advertising and Programmatic For Cannabis Advertising

  • In 2018, 84% of spend on cannabis retail advertising went to outdoor ads like billboards. The second largest share went to newspapers with 5% of total spend, while only 4% went to digital advertising (Kantar).
  • Cannabis advertisers spent $370 million on digital display ads in 2019, an increase from $238 million in 2018. (DashTwo)

According to PrograMetrix, outdoor advertising faces strict restrictions depending on the state (a required placement distance from schools and children, for example); beyond billboards, marketers most frequently advertised through events (at which no cannabis could be offered or consumed); on endemic cannabis websites like High Times and WeedMaps (which only reached a small niche of cannabis consumers); and in any print outlets who would accept their ads (which ranged from alt-weeklies and print magazines to larger local papers).

Scale with programmatic: To reach beyond niche sites and dated demographics, programmatic offers the chance to scale. Huge numbers of high-traffic, mainstream sites will accept programmatic cannabis ad buys—sites like USA Today, HuffPost, Newsweek, Politico, The Chive, and ESPN (PrograMetrix). Cannabis advertisers in legal states are also required by law to ensure that their marketing campaigns target adults 21 and over— programmatic platforms are more able to adjust accordingly, not to mention measure ROI and meet tangible KPIs and goals. Programmatic ad buys offer this data by tracking conversions; ad buys in print outlets or one off digital events, for instance, cannot.

As of 2019, digital ad spending surpassed traditional (TV, radio, print, etc.) for the first time in history, and by 2021, 70 percent of all digital ads—and 88 percent of display ads—will be bought and sold using programmatic technology. Cannabis is considered the fastest growing industry in the United States and Canada, but well behind in its digital spend. It’s time to catch up: the opportunity is a gaping hole. 


For more information on compliance, we recommend: 

Here’s How to Run Compliant Digital Cannabis Ads

The Ultimate Guide to Programmatic Advertising for CBD & Cannabis

What We Celebrated, Valentine’s Day Digital Strategy, and eMarketer Content Marketing. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 22nd

What We Celebrated, Valentine’s Day Digital Strategy, and eMarketer Content Marketing. This Week in Digital Advertising: January 22nd

Hello Bidtellectuals!

At the beginning of this week, we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought for racial equality and the economically disadvantaged primarily through nonviolent protest movements in our country. Might I also suggest reading about Coretta Scott King, who significantly influenced her husband’s strategy and thinking, committed herself to various causes voicing underrepresented communities, and continued his legacy after his death.

Congratulations to Bidtellectual of the Week Marcos Vladimir López Castellanos!


Valentine’s Day: Campaign Strategy

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it, but before you write off this holiday for 2021, consider that consumers spent $1.7 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts for their PETS last year. Meanwhile, between July and August 2020, total retail sales in the United States rose by 0.6%, a worthy indicator for continued increase in ecommerce spend into 2021.

Plus, Valentine’s Day itself is evolving from a holiday for lovers-only to one celebrating any important relationship in your life.

Read the latest rundown and predictions for Valentine’s Day 2021 here, where you can also download our Onesheet for quick access. Check out our video for 5 strategy recommendations for digital advertisers.

Latest eMarketer Survey Proves Power of Content Marketing

In an August 2020 survey, eMarketer asked respondents how they would like to discover products digitally. The overwhelming response pointed to content recommendations: trends, categories, and surveys were the top three responses, while influencer marketing and smart home device recommendations fell to the bottom of the list. Creating content that offers advice, value, and expertise continues to be the most successful form of digital product discovery; be sure to distribute your content at scale effectively.


Good News: Purple Power

Regardless of where you fall politically, it’s important to acknowledge the United States elected its first woman Vice President: a historic moment. Girls growing up will now finally be able to see someone like them in one of the highest offices of power in our country. In a nod to the accomplishment, Vice President Harris wore purple, a prominent color during the women’s suffrage movement when it symbolized loyalty. Purple also symbolizes political unity, since it is a combination of the colors red and blue, or each of the respective political parties.

Stay safe,


Valentine’s Day 2021: What Digital Marketers Need to Know This Year

Valentine’s Day 2021: What Digital Marketers Need to Know This Year

Valentine’s Day 2021 may look a little different (surprise!), but love always prevails, doesn’t it? Retail has held steady during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, while the holiday itself has evolved in its own way to be more inclusive and creative. Digital marketers should adjust messaging to the times, maximize contextual targeting and optimization, commit to a multi-channel approach, and more. Read the data and recommendations for a successful holiday of love below. 


Spending Habits

In 2020, consumers in the US reported an average spend of $196 on Valentine’s Day, an increase of 21% over 2019, according to research from the National Retail Federation (NRF). (eMarketer, February 2020)

  • Age 35-44 had the highest average expected spending in 2020: $358.78
  • Age 65+ had the lowest: $99.14

→ Target and adjust messaging content towards Gen X.


Favorite Gifts

Candy: More than half (52%) of US internet users planned to purchase sweets for Valentine’s Day, ranking above flowers, an evening out or jewelry in 2020. (eMarketer, February 2020) A combined 62% of internet users spent on an experience: evening out, tickets to an event, trip, or spa. Due to coronavirus safety concerns and varying mandates across the country and world, we predict that Valentine’s Day gift-givers will steer away from those experiences and instead shift to creative, at-home entertainment and experiences to celebrate. Offer creative ideas or products to inspire them.

Types of Gifts US Internet Users Intended to Purchase in 2020:

  • 52% Candy
  • 43% Greeting Cards
  • 37% Flowers

(NRF via eMarketer, February 2020) 

→ Offer creative ideas or products to inspire consumers


Retail as an Indicator for Valentine’s Day 2021

If we gauge retail ecommerce habits as a worthy indicator of how spending will continue into Valentine’s Day, then expect more shoppers to order online this year versus last. Thanks to ecommerce, retail stayed afloat during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic and consumers in turn developed new levels of comfort with online ordering.

Retail Spending Rebounds During COVID:

  • New research by Mastercard shows U.S. ecommerce sales were up 92.7%  in May 2020, with more than $53 billion spent via ecommerce channels between April and May—the height of the pandemic. For scale, that’s more spent online than that last 12 Cyber Mondays combined (DigitalCommerce360).
  • Between July and August 2020, total retail sales in the United States rose by 0.6%. During this period, retail sales of clothing and clothing accessory retailers grew by 2.9%, rebounding from consistent and heavy declines in February, March, and April (Statista, September 2020).  

→ Consumers are more comfortable ordering online. Make it easier for them & offer incentives.


Digital Ad Spend: Multichannel Approach

Engagement via mobile device continues to grow year after year, and consumers – especially shoppers – are consistently utilizing a multi-channel approach to read, research, engage with brands, and ultimately buy.

Retail Digital Ad Spend by Digital Marketers:

  • eMarketer expects retail to remain the largest spender on digital ads among all verticals. The industry will increase spending by 3.1% to $28.23 billion. (eMarketer, October 2020)
  • Retail ad spending on mobile will surpass $18 billion this year, and desktop/laptop spending will reach nearly $10 billion. 
  • Mobile had a 106% higher CTR than Desktop in 1H 2020 on Bidtellect’s platform, so it’s imperative to implement a multi-channel approach  (Bidtellect 1H 2020 Native Report)

→ Utilize a multichannel approach and scale across the open web to reach more of your target consumers


Breaking the Valentine’s Day Mold:

Who Needs a Partner? Treat Yourself

55% planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day in some way in 2020. But even those who answered “Not celebrating” did in some way. 35% of 18-25 year olds said their non-traditional Valentine’s Day gift or celebration would be “Treating Yourself.” (NRF, 2020 Valentine’s Day Spending Survey)

Lovers & Friends & Family Count, Too:

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for significant others, spouses, even casual lovers anymore. Parks and Recreation may have dubbed the holiday “Galentine’s Day” to celebrate friendship, but gift-giving seems to span across all relationships, including family and coworkers (Saturday Night Live even wrote a spoof about it). Since 2010, spend on Valentine’s Day gifts for friends has nearly tripled, from $737 million to $2.1 billion (NRF, February 2020). Retailers have adapted with more inclusive products that “allow for casual or non romantic gift giving” (eMarketer, February 2020).

Valentine’s Day Spend on Others in 2020

  • Significant Other/Spouse: $14.1 billion
  • Other Family Members: $4.2 billion
  • Friends: $2.1 billion 

(NRF, 2020 Valentine’s Day Spending Survey)

Don’t Forget One’s Most Loyal Companion: Your Furry Friend

Don’t forget your furry friends! Valentine’s Day spending on that very special pet in your life has also increased. In 2020, 27% of those celebrating Valentine’s Day said they’d buy gifts for their pets, up from 17% in 2010 (NRF, February 2020). Spend on pet gifts has grown exponentially, from just $450 million in 2010 to more than $1.7 billion a decade later (NRF, February 2020).

The trend is not just being driven by younger consumers like millennials and Gen Zers; spending on gifts for pets has grown among all shoppers under the age of 55.

→ Valentine’s Day now means a day to show appreciation to people and pets that you love – including yourself. Cater messaging to this broader definition and don’t limit spend or targeting.


We hope this data on Valentine’s Day trends, shopping habits, and digital marketing strategy help you make 2021 your more successful year yet! 


PLUS: 6 Steps to Success for Valentine’s Day 2020:

Subscribe to the Bidtellect newsletter for resources like this plus industry updates:

Bidtellect Charlotte Otremba employee photo

Charlotte Otremba ​is the Sr. Manager of Marketing and Communications at Bidtellect.

This Week in Digital Advertising: Holiday Content Roundup, Festive Cocktails, Google Gets Sued (Again), and Latest News

This Week in Digital Advertising: Holiday Content Roundup, Festive Cocktails, Google Gets Sued (Again), and Latest News

Hello Bidtellectuals!

Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa to all those who celebrate! Here’s to a brighter 2021!

Congratulations to our Bidtellectual of the Week: a shoutout to Rob, Ashley, Cory, Vicky, Nick, TJ, and Katie who epitomized the meaning of teamwork to go above and beyond for a client!

Holiday Cocktail Recipes? Yes, Please

The holidays may look a little different this year, but wherever you are, you could probably use a cocktail. Our last Quarantine Cocktail Recipes post was a hit, so we slapped on a Santa hat, sprinkled a little magic, and found some new ones. Who knows, maybe one of these will become a new holiday tradition? 

Read it here:

Yeah, We Had To: Holiday Cocktail Recipes That’ll Make Santa Smile


Last Call for Holiday Campaigns!!!!!! Here’s a Roundup of Content to Help:


The Latest: Beeswax, Google, Washington Post, and Best Ads of 2020

  • FreeWheel Buys Beeswax: Comcasts’s video ad tech company has been increasing its buy-side capabilities over the last couple of years. Beeswax is known for its bidder-as-a-service and customizability. It remains to be seen how the partnership will look re: branding, exclusivity, technological integration, and more.

  • 38 States And Territories Sue Google Over Its Alleged Search Monopoly: Less than 24 hours after Google was hit with an antitrust lawsuit re: its ad tech business, 38 states and territories served up another suit focused on Google’s monopoly over the search market. BOOM.

  • WashPost Becomes The First Publisher To Join Unified ID 2.0 . Well, hello there!

  • Adweek released its 25 Best Ads of 2020. Obvi Satan is on there. Which is your favorite?

  • ICYMI: Adexchanger’s Programmatic Power Players list is live. We are on this list. It make us proud. We’re in good company, so check it out.

Bidtellect Ugly Sweater Happy Hour Zoom Screen Grab 2020

Good News: COVID Vaccine, Cookies & Castles, Ugly Sweater Happy Hour

  • Have you listened to Dolly Parton’s Holly Dolly Christmas Album yet? It features duets with artists like Michael Bublé, Miley Cyrus, and Willie Nelson.

  • The Pfizer COVID vaccine is now being administered to healthcare workers and others, and Vice President Mike Pence will receive it live on television today to build public trust. Moderna’s is on now track to be approved soon. Is the end in sight? My hopes are high for 2021.

  • Cookies & Castles went off without a hitch! Congratulations to Bidtellectual Katie Broussard. Read more about her amazing work here.

  • Cheers to a fun Ugly Sweater Happy Hour! See photo above!

Happy Holidays!


Get this right to your inbox every Friday! Add your email below:

Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.