While some may think it’s too early to be saying, “‘Tis the season,” advertisers disagree, as they are busy gearing up for the holidays.
According to Google’s Consumer Survey, 30% of holiday shoppers start their holiday shopping before Halloween, and nearly half of them plan to purchase gifts online. Today’s shoppers utilize various online and in-store channels to browse and purchase. Research conducted by Dimensional Research suggests that a majority of consumers visit a store based on an online experience, and oftentimes engage in “showrooming,” wherein they research products via their smart phones while shopping in the actual store.
Digital Is The Go-To Medium, More Than Ever Before
Consumers are moving away from cutting coupons or looking through the newspaper for holiday deals, as digital continues to rise as the “go-to” platform for consumers looking to research and purchase. Given this knowledge, marketers today should be looking to audience data to help them determine consumer interest and predict shopping intent digitally. There are two types of data that indicate strong purchase intent: search data and site level data. When these data are applied to display campaigns, marketers have an opportunity to create more personalized ad messages geared towards specific holiday products, events and sales.
With over a billion Facebook users and desktop users spending an average of around 6 hours every month on Facebook, this represents a prime environment to reach your target audience throughout this year’s holiday shopping season. However, the biggest value lies in the ability to retarget consumers with News Feed ads. These ads deliver consumers engaging messages and also come with the power of social sharing amongst their Facebook friends, creating additional brand exposure. We should expect to see News Feed ad units used to promote holiday specials.
Twitter’s retargeting platform is another new channel that can help power holiday promotions. It’s similar to Facebook’s Exchange in the way advertisers push out promoted tweets to consumers who may have visited their website. It will be interesting to see which brands successfully leverage these social retargeting platforms during notable events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Devices, Devices Everywhere
Another important trend impacting this year’s holiday planning is the proliferation of devices. Google released data stating that consumers are using multiple devices to power their holiday purchasing decisions — 63% claimed that they used multiple devices to help with their holiday shopping, while 66% said they relied on their smartphones and tablets more frequently for shopping during the holiday season. Given this, the challenge for marketers will be how they can apply effective targeting and keep ad messages relevant as consumers migrate from their desktops to mobile phones and tablets.
The holiday shopping season marks one of the year’s largest periods for consumer price hunting, which is why smart marketers begin their ad targeting for the season earlier in the year. By reaching relevant audiences earlier in the holiday shopping cycle, retailers can gain a competitive advantage in the crowded market.
Here’s your quick holiday checklist:
- Get an early start on display ad targeting and search campaigns for holiday initiatives. Advertisers should start executing holiday campaigns as early as mid-September to October in order to begin influencing brand preference before prime time holiday shopping season.
- Plan specific retargeting campaigns for major holiday shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the day after Christmas, etc.
- Apply search data to your ad targeting strategy to influence consumers and push them further down the purchasing funnel.
- Integrate your online, mobile and in-store marketing strategies.
- Incorporate 1st party data into your holiday campaigns to re-engage current customers.
- Test new retargeting platforms, including the Facebook Exchange and Twitter.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.