The holiday season, stretching from October through December, always presents a tremendous opportunity for marketers and businesses to take advantage of increased consumer spending. As more shoppers browse offerings in physical stores and online, whether it’s during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any given day of the season, they’re not only shopping for gifting purposes, but often to treat themselves by taking advantage of holiday discounts and promotions.
Why Holiday Marketing Campaigns Are Crucial for Your Business
While fourth-quarter e-commerce sales have generally been rising since 2010, they reached a high in 2020, during the height of the pandemic, as foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores slowed down. However, the share of e-commerce business sales dropped back to 12.9% in 2021, which indicates that there is still a considerable number of shoppers who prefer to shop in person.
For both brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers, the fourth quarter is the most profitable time of the year. Consumers are actively seeking products and services during the holiday season and looking for deals. Obviously, this presents an opportunity to create advertising campaigns that target an unusually active and engaged audience of consumers, with higher than usual intent to purchase.
Considering that the first quarter can often bring with it a slump in sales, it is crucial to make the best of this busy but competitive fourth quarter. As always, data is a powerful tool to be leveraged. Past advertising campaigns should be analyzed and those learnings should be used to improve on past performance. Strategies specific to the season – not only the holiday season, but specifically this holiday season – can be implemented to make the most of the busy shopping period.
The following seven holiday marketing tips can help you succeed during this holiday season with targeted holiday advertising across numerous channels. These strategies can help you get the most for your advertising dollars and maximize your return on investment.
7 Ways to Improve Your Holiday Advertising Campaign Success Rate
1. Promote the Holiday Spirit With Your Potential Customers
The holiday season is a time for advertising to get creative. It’s a season full of bright imagery and happy gatherings of friends and families giving one another gifts. Advertising can help make the holiday spirit shine, promoting feelings of good cheer, community, and generosity.
While certain brands, such as Coca-Cola, are known to lean heavily into nostalgia and the magic of the season, it’s important for each brand to approach this in a way that makes sense for their identity. A brand with less history, for example, may find it easier to resonate with a more contemporary approach to the holiday spirit, focusing on what celebrations may look like today. Consider your brand’s tone in existing creative when approaching this; humor and sentimentality, for instance, can both be effective in holiday advertising, but may not be equally strategic choices for a brand.
Once you have creative that resonates for your brand, this festive season can be a great time to attract new users with intelligent targeting. A new customer may find just the right gift idea thanks to your advertising, and easily become a recurring customer.
2. Focus on Targeting Holiday Shoppers
Holiday shoppers aren’t just ordinary foot traffic or casual browsers. These shoppers are specifically shopping for the holidays. They’re often searching for gift ideas, so they can be targeted with a fitting message. Adapt your creative to ensure that you’re presenting an effective case for your brand’s offering in a gifting context. If a user hadn’t considered your product as a gift before, it’s on your advertising to make a case for it. As many gifters are trying to take their budgets further, ensure that you’re presenting the value of your products, not only through promotions and discounts, but in the longer-term sense by considering the ways in which they can impact the recipient’s life.
And, as we continue to see higher rates of streaming content consumption and mobile activity, make sure that your ads are where consumers are. With CTV, interactive video ads, high-impact mobile and other customer engagement marketing techniques, you can reach a wider and more engaged audience.
3. Learn the Needs of Your Loyal Customers
It’s much cheaper to retain existing customers than it is to secure new ones. It can be expensive to try to entice new customers to come aboard and take advantage of your offerings. By learning the needs and wants of your existing customers, you can turn them into loyal long-term customers. These customers build a personal connection with the brand and may even turn into word-of-mouth advertisers for you, sharing your brand’s message at no additional cost to the company.
With a solution like Audience Insights, you can gain a deeper understanding of your existing customers, and figure out attributes, interests, and behaviors that they have most in common with one another. This can help you address them more effectively, as well as expand into new audiences that are more similar to them, and therefore likelier to convert.
Your existing customers likely appreciate being rewarded for returning to your brand, and the holidays are the perfect time to present them with exclusive offers or limited-edition products. You can also promote offers for customers who sign up for your newsletter or email list. The holidays are the perfect time to strengthen relationships with loyal customers, let them know you care, and get them to help you boost holiday revenue.
4. Start Your Holiday Ads Early
According to a Google-commissioned Ipsos Consumer Continuous study, 26% of consumers had already begun their holiday shopping in June. This suggests it’s never too early to start your holiday ads, reminding consumers of the upcoming holiday season and letting them know that your products or services are available and ready to be purchased with holiday deals and specials.
It’s a good practice to review your advertising spending and previous holiday season results before the fourth quarter even starts to get an idea of what kind of advertising worked and form strategies on how to implement this year’s ad campaigns.
Starting your holiday ads early is also a good way to figure out what works and what doesn’t so you can make adjustments in time for the major consumer-spending months.
5. Run Holiday Campaigns Across Social Media Channels
Social media ads are a great way to reach consumers right where many of them spend most of their time: on their mobile devices, browsing through their social media accounts. Just like on any other channel, impactful holiday creative can be used to stand out in a user’s feed, offering gift suggestions, value-based messaging, or limited sales and promotions, all enticing users to engage.
Campaigns built for social media channels can also incorporate added engagement tactics. As more consumers than ever are using social media as a commerce channel, whether browsing for gift ideas on Pinterest, shopping directly through Instagram or Facebook, or citing TikTok or Snapchat content as influencing a purchase decision, there are a variety of ways to reach potential customers. Live videos, influencer partnerships, and shoppable content are all unique ways to highlight your product offerings on social media.
6. Offer Holiday Sales
Clearly, sales are the perfect way to reach holiday shoppers. Consumers expect deals during this period and will likely seek out the best deals, especially considering how a potential recession and inflation may have reduced their spending power. Good advertising can help show consumers that they can still purchase products at a reduced price just in time for the holidays.
Holiday sales have started early this year, before Halloween. As discussed earlier, it’s a good idea to start promoting your holiday sales early to beat the competition, which will likely also offer early holiday sales, and to get your message in front of holiday shoppers early and often. Not only does this help you reach a wider audience, but a longer shopping season can decrease last-minute demand that can exacerbate supply and shipping delays.
7. Enhance the Holiday Shopping Experience
The holiday shopping experience can be enhanced for customers in several ways. One way is to reach them with different kinds of advertising. People are using mobile devices more than ever, therefore, mobile ads should be a sizable portion of your holiday ad campaign.
Mobile ads can be displayed in different ways. Holiday video ads can be a popular way to grab and keep a consumer’s attention. People surveyed said they prefer to watch video content over any other kind of content. Holiday-themed videos can be deployed across numerous channels, including social media, programmatic display with in-banner video, CTV, and more. Effective video can capture an audience’s attention and provide extra holiday cheer as they share the brand’s message, enhancing the holiday shopping experience for consumers at the same time.
The holidays are a time for giving, gathering, and celebrating. You can emphasize these ideals throughout all of your ad campaigns to provide the optimum holiday shopping experience.
Tools for Creating Holiday Ad Campaigns
Google provides numerous tools to help businesses create ad campaigns throughout the whole year, including the holiday season. Google Ads allows for seasonality adjustments, letting advertisers use smart bidding to temporarily adjust their ads for promotions and sales. Google Merchant Center allows a store’s entire inventory to be listed for free, showing potential customers the full product line instead of just the product on offer in the ad.
Paid search campaigns have been a highly effective form of marketing, bringing a return on investment of 200%. Paid search ads can do more than rank high in search results, enticing motivated buyers to click and purchase. They can also increase brand visibility and brand awareness. During the holiday season, search queries are high for categories such as gaming, health and beauty, fragrances, tech, toys and games, and sports gear, offering a great opportunity to target ads to those consumers.
There are several options for Amazon ads. Sponsored ads can be displayed on shopping results pages and as product listings. These ads can reach high-intent shoppers looking for exactly what the ads may have to offer. Sponsored brands can showcase an entire portfolio. Advertisers can reach relevant shoppers on and off Amazon on desktop computers, apps, and mobile devices with the Sponsored Display feature.
Amazon shares resources to help advertisers optimize their marketing for any holiday and make memorable and effective ads that build genuine connections with consumers. Search results ads, holiday-themed product videos, and audio ads are all great ways to connect with customers on Amazon.
The holidays are a time for connecting. One way many people do that today is by interacting with one another on social media. Social channels offer a way to reach the 4.62 billion people who use social media. Social networking continues to grow in popularity, and social networks present an opportunity for advertisers to reach some of these billions of users and share their brand’s message.
Facebook offers holiday season insights and marketing guides to help advertisers get the most out of Facebook ads during the holiday shopping season. Twitter has a similar page for insights into how to effectively advertise on its platform. Your ad campaign can target numerous social media channels at once. You can then collect data to track the effectiveness and ROI for each channel and make changes accordingly.
Omnichannel Programmatic Advertising
With an integrated, omnichannel programmatic platform such as the one offered by AUDIENCEX, you can place ad campaigns throughout the digital landscape. Programmatic platforms offer sophisticated ad tech that can help you maximize your budget, taking advantage of real-time bidding to spend less on premium ad placements across channels. By integrating programmatic display, video, audio, native, social, search, and more, you’re able to take a holistic approach to your advertising, bringing all of your efforts together in one place, gathering data and optimizing performance seamlessly across channels. A partner like AUDIENCEX offers fully managed services on these platforms, with creative support, continued analysis and optimization, and end-to-end campaign management by expert strategic teams.
Watch Your Sales Soar With the Right Holiday Advertising Strategies
With the right holiday advertising strategies, your sales can reach numbers well exceeding your goals. Loyal customers can be rewarded with special offers, and new customers can be enticed to spend their money on your offerings with the help of ads that provide great gift ideas and fill them with holiday cheer.
After the busy holiday season ends, you’ll be able to use data and insights from the success of your holiday advertising campaigns to develop new strategies for advertising beyond the fourth quarter and into next year.
Don’t wait until the shopping season slows down to implement your holiday marketing ideas. Start early so you can fine-tune the results and show ads that work. To start your holiday advertising right and build ad campaigns that help bring in record profits this year, get in touch with AUDIENCEX.
AUDIENCEX’s fully integrated platform provides seamless media access and integrated, futureproof solutions for audience insights, targeting, and in-depth analytics. Our expert strategic teams will fine-tune your ad campaigns to successfully reach the right audience at the right time, taking your marketing spend further and achieving true performance outcomes.To learn how to get started with a holistic, omnichannel marketing strategy, contact our team at AUDIENCEX today to schedule your free consultation.