With Black Friday a mere seven days out, chatter on social about the big shopping weekend was up 20% from last year. If marketers want to grab the attention of their target audiences, they will have to get clever with their holiday messaging, making sure its direct and inviting.
In time for the retail holiday, AdRoll released “The Performance Marketer’s Guide to the Holidays – 2015,” an e-book that provides just what the title promises, a dive into this year’s holiday marketing season with sections on content, campaigns, and strategies. With the Thanksgiving shopping holiday rushing toward us, here is in-depth look at AdRoll’s advice, as well as some last minute marketing tips you can add to your final push into holiday marketing this year.
Putting some numbers behind the season
Stats and projections are always a good way to get a broad overview of any marketing landscape. Three numbers from last year really put online sales into perspective – e-commerce sales grew 15% year-over-year in 2014, mobile accounted for 23% of all online sales, and nearly 50% of total online traffic. This year total sales are expected to increase 5.7%, and e-commerce will account for 9% of that spending, which is expected to reach $965 billion.
And what does recent history tell us about the weekend following Thanksgiving? From the report, “Last year, total e-commerce sales on Thanksgiving Day were 25% above 2013’s. Throughout the holiday weekend, consumers continued to rely heavily on online shopping for purchases.”
Execute, execute, execute
It’s too late in the day to budget for your holiday strategy, but don’t be afraid to make changes in order to make sure your spending is most effective.
Providing an example of how your budget might require some juggling, Anne Hallock, VP of marketing and communications at demand side ad platform The Trade Desk, told Marketing Dive, “The holiday shopping season is very dynamic – one product might be a surprise hit with an unexpected demographic and you'll have to shift funds unexpectedly.”
And, you’ve probably already planned for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but don’t forget about Retargeting Tuesday. If you haven’t make any plans for the day after Cyber Monday, it’s not too late to put together a strategy to reach back out to those people who visited you on Cyber Monday, but didn’t make a purchase, or maybe dropped some items from an otherwise completed purchase.
AdRoll suggests you use dynamic ads to create personalized product recommendations, thereby “turning browsers into buyers.” You can purchase retargeting ad campaigns, or if you have consumers' email addresses, you can retarget them directly with personalized email.
Strategize, strategize, strategize
What is your goal for the holiday marketing season? AdRoll provides three strategies to implement so you don’t have to choose one goal. And if you aren’t already taking advantage of some of these strategies, they can still serve as something to think about for next year and maybe even be added into this year’s effort on a limited basis to test them out.
Prospect for new customers
According to AdRoll, “The holidays are a great time to connect with new customers who are looking for that perfect holiday gift. People are always looking for great new products during the holidays, and shoppers who fall in love with your brand are more likely to become repeat purchasers down the line.”
Cross-channel, cross-device retargeting
With this strategy, don’t let a website visit go to waste. Marketers now must take an omni-channel approach to every potential customer. One person might visit your website on a work laptop, check you out again on their smartphone or tablet, and then finally make a purchase on a home desktop. The key is they are visiting you from a variety of devices for a variety of reasons. That means you want to take your marketing to where they are. Including the social media channel.
For example, if someone visits your website, run retargeting ad campaigns on social media platforms so you can reach them away from your site, and potentially on a different device. This way you can spark their interest in coming back to your website and completing whatever action you were hoping for – most likely a purchase during the holidays.
Leveraging loyalty with the CRM
AdRoll reminds that your email database is a key holiday marketing resource, “Take advantage of your email lists to engage customers who interacted with your brand outside your website, or even reconnect with last year’s holiday shoppers using online display ads.”
In fact, as counterintuitive as it might sound, the holidays are a great time to test some different email marketing ideas. Because the sheer volume of email goes up across the board during the holiday season, you can send more, or different, email without fear of alienating or angering your audience. Use this time to try out new audience segments, or even the cadence of your email sends. Don’t go overboard and overly tax yourself (or your list), but don’t be afraid to test out some of those email ideas you might have but always worried about how they might impact your email program.
Wrapping it up with a bow
To leave you with a planning gift for next year’s holiday marketing season, here are steps to follow that can help your campaigns drive sales and achieve an optimal return on investment (ROI):
- Dust off the ornaments early and start planning
- Make a list and check it twice
- Prepare your segmentation, creative, and promotional plans
- Extend the life of your holiday campaigns: keep the lights on through January
Every retailer needs a strong performance-marketing strategy for the holiday shopping season, the AdRoll guide suggests. The keys to making your ad dollars count in this competitive landscape are planning early and having a robust campaign mix.