Halloween is an Untapped Opportunity for Candy Brand Advertising Online

Keith O'Brien
Keith O'Brien
October 31 9 min read
This past weekend, a sizeable portion of the world began celebrating Halloween. And while the pandemic is still a constant threat, the availability of vaccines means this Halloween will be more like 2019 than 2020. 
 
People increasingly turn to YouTube for inspiration during Halloween, looking for DIY costume and decoration ideas, recipes, and other spooky videos. We set out to study which confectioners were advertising on YouTube to capture the attention of this primed audience.
 
2021 11 - Halloween Ads 2
 
Candy Brands Absent from Many Popular Halloween-Related Channels
 
Working with TubeSift's Video Ad Vault, a database of YouTube ads and landing pages, we explored confectioners who consistently rank in the top-selling-Halloween-candy category to see which companies were advertising in September 2021.
 
With few brands utilizing placement targeting in this market segment, first movers will enjoy low cost / high value on their advertising and brand awareness spending. Opportunities abound for candy advertisers on YouTube!
 
Big Opportunity for Confectioner Brands to Stand Out
 
In our analysis of 10 YouTube confectionary ads that have been running since September 2021, our PreView creative attention tool reported average Quality Score of 3.1* out of 10. Quality Score is defined as a composite score of 1-10 based on Capture, Retain and Encode scores.
 
Capture, which expresses the typical time for viewers to show signs of distraction from the start of the video, was 4.3 seconds. Retain, which tracks the share of attentive audience by second 15 (or until then end, if the video is shorter), was 24.5%. Encode, a 1-100 index that tracks the ability to encode the brand message into the brain through emotional engagement, was 18.2.
 
Realeyes uses front-facing cameras, in a privacy-safe manner to measure naturally occurring human response as opt-in viewers watch video content from their PCs, laptops, mobile phones and tablets. Each video was viewed an average of 163 times by an audience representative of the U.S. general population.
 
Candy Brands Can Benefit From Fresher, More Contextual Creative
 
Many of the top viewed ad creatives were not Halloween-themed and some were years-old. The video that scored the highest made no mention of Halloween in voice-over or visuals, and was first published in 2020. By contrast, some Halloween-themed ads first published in 2021 had Quality Scores of 2 or 3.
 
Advertisers Can Lower Cost of Media Outcomes With Better Creative
 
Advertising creative will directly influence the cost and quality of an exposure to a brand message. Good creatives capture and retain attention and leave an emotional impression in the mind of a consumer. Lesser creatives can distract and fail to capture attention, resulting in a distracted audience and even frustration. Our PreView tool estimates the true cost of a quality exposure by determining the effectiveness of creative in taking advantage of every ad impression. If we presumed the average CPM of our Halloween ads set was $10, then the effective cost per quality exposure (known as qCPM) would be $30. That’s a 3X gap between the price of impressions to quality exposures! It pays to invest in great creative! Only two ads had qCPMs under $20 and one ad approached $60 qCPM. And the average Creative Efficiency was a low 37.4%.
 
What Advertisers Need to Do
 
Given that many people chose not to Trick-or-Treat with their children or go to parties last year because of the pandemic, many treated Halloween 2021 as a grand renewal. There was an opportunity, which many brands missed, to celebrate this return to traditions missed last year. The right ad can cut through the clutter, win the hearts and minds of consumers, and dominate an underinvested marketplace on YouTube. There’s always next year, and here’s what to consider:
 
  1. Halloween is a white-space opportunity for advertising candy on YouTube, with placements on many sizeable and niche channels. There are many opportunities to place your brand in relevant contexts with little competition, according to TubeSift data.
  2. Test your creative before every campaign, even if using videos that previously performed well. You may not need to create a Halloween-specific content if an existing ad performs well in pre-market creative testing. The world changes constantly. What performed well last year may not perform well this year.
  3. Take some chances with creative and test it for attention. You can be more confident on which ads will perform well, eliminating media spend waste and high qCPMs, while driving more sales and market share. 
Brand Creative   Quality Score Capture Retain Encode Creative Efficiency qCPM
Hershey’s Almond Smooth Ride   5 5.4 30% 3.0 60.8% $16.4
M&M's Holes 06   4 4.3 46% 37.3 37.6% $26.59
Hershey's Heartwarming the World Witch   4 4.5 23.5% 31.2 46.9% $21.3
Twizzlers Chew On It Waves   4 4.7 27% 9.3 3.4% $18.7
Butterfinger Butterfinger Thief   3 4.8 24% 30.8 41.9% $23.87
Hershey's Cookies 'N' Creme Wrapper   3 3.9 25% 10.9 40.6% $24.66
Reese's ‘Trick’ Commercial   2 3.9 11.7% 9.4 17.1% $58.5
Hershey's Kisses My First Kiss   2 4.5 20.5% 14.0 27.0%
$37.0
Kit Kat Halloween 2020 Transylvania   2 3.7 19.5% 19.2 25.7% $38.9
Reese's Disappear 2021   2 3.7 18.4% 21.0 23.4%
$42.77
  AVG   3.1 3.7 24.5% 18.6 37.4% $30.88
 
 
 

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