3 Ways To Win At Holiday Marketing

Arguably, Christmas is the most competitive holiday of the year when it comes to marketing and online sales. With everyone looking for holiday gifts at the same time, how will you differentiate yourself as the go-to brand for your demographic’s needs?

Ah, Christmas 2017. Egg-nog, onesies, Home Alone marathons, rewatching “Love Actually” for the third time, gingerbread…

And a ton of holiday shopping. In fact, most consumers started their holiday shopping weeks before you began reading this sentence; on the other end of the spectrum, a huge chunk of customers actually do their holiday gift shopping on Christmas Eve – even some as late as Christmas Day.

Talk about procrastination, right? So, if you’re reading this article about how you can get the jump on holiday shopping as a marketer – you’re already ahead of the proverbial curve.

Oh, and speaking of Love Actually – here’s a fun fact:  The amount of time people have spent watching unboxing videos on their phones is the equivalent of watching the holiday film “Love Actually” more than 20 million times.1

As a result of the rapid innovations we’ve had in mobile, end consumers now have all the access to the information they need to inform their best buying decisions – right at their fingertips. From clicking on an ad to visiting your site and proceeding with a purchase, every step can and likely will be executed from mobile. If anything, consumers are far more intent driven than ever – the watch time of “store tour” on YouTube increased 10x over the past two years.2

Mobile-driven micro-moments make up a huge majority of consumer attention; as a marketer, it’s up to you to ensure your brand/company creates a fluid and intuitive buying experience – all the way from the awareness stage to the point of purchase.

The Mobile Mindset

For the upcoming holiday season, there’s 1 way to win: think mobile.

In fact, rethink the concept you have of a “mall” altogether; if you are around the same age as us (hint: Super Nintendo), you remember that the cool thing to do was hang out at your local mall on a weekend (or after school during the week if you were…rad). And that’s still a cool idea, only now, the mall exists on your phone. Not only are millennials and beyond gathering within social media as community forums to discuss their favourite shows, watch new media, and keep updated on the popular news – but make their entire purchasing decisions from start to finish.

From clicking on your Facebook Ad to “add to cart”, the mobile phone represents every step of the buying process – from window shopping to the register. All considered, your best move as a marketer for Christmas 2017 is to follow these three best practices we’ve derived from trends and data within recent years.

Revise Your Search Terms For Relevancy

Retailers must never forget that shoppers’ time is a crucial commodity—especially during the holidays. Consequently, consumers are looking to get the most relevant information to inform their purchasing decisions in a personalized way; for example, “Where To Buy” is one of the most popular search terms during the holidays – and rightfully so. Mobile searches for “where to buy” grew over 85% in the past two years!

If you were thinking about buying a pair of snow boots as a Christmas gift, would you want the best pair of the highest quality? Would you want a cheaper alternative? Would you want to know where you could order online and then pick-up in-store?

It’s no secret: personalized shopping experiences are that much more than generic advertising approaches.

A whopping 49% of smartphone owners prefer sites and apps that provide recommended products based on their prior views, sales, and purchases in similar areas.

What does that mean as a marketer? Think about setting up dynamic retargeting for your static ads based on prior consumer search history. That way, you’re likely to improve your site conversions due to the personalized approach your ads serve to their needs; for more information on how to set up a campaign, check out the video below:

Consumers Purchase Across Channels

Accordingly, you should be cross-platform with your advertising efforts to reach consumers on the most effective levels. Remember our article on Winning Black Friday? The same principles on maximizing your brand’s success for that holiday are the same as Christmas 2017; consumers have the ability to switch from mobile-to-desktop-to-tablet to start and complete their buying processes.

Also, think about employing callout and sitelink extensions among as many of your Search Ads as possible; we know we bring these features up all the time, but they’re quintessential to the success of your ads in general, let alone for the holiday season.

With speed and efficiency representing the forefront of success during the holidays, these two AdWords features will help improve your ad CTR across the board but more importantly will provide the end-consumer with the direct links to what they’re looking to purchase.

Callout Extensions: add callouts as benefits or standout points for your ad (free shipping, price matching, etc.).

Sitelink Extensions: links directly to specific pages on site (product pages, for example).

Remember: the simpler the path to purchase for end-consumers, the higher the likelihood of conversions on your site/ads.

Intent And Timing Are Everything

In 2017, consumers are more intent driven than ever. Because of the accessibility of information through multiple devices – whether on the go or at the office – consumers have access to reviews, ratings, and suggestions at the tap of a button – in addition to the product/service specs that are readily available.

On the subject of timing, it’s one-third of the marketing equation: meeting the right customers, at the right time, with the right information.

Holiday Tip: include a countdown timer in your email campaigns, especially near the end of your sale! FOMO is everything during the holiday season, and countdown timers help remind consumers they have limited time to save money on gifts.

Additionally, consider that the most popular day for “store hours” among mobile, as well as “what stores are open near me” and “what stores are open right now” are actually on Christmas Day itself; even up until the last day.

On the subject of information, many customers aren’t just looking for what they want this Christmas – but what they should avoid. Mobile searches for “___ to avoid” and “is ___ the best” are common and have shot up over the past two years. What does that mean for you as a marketer? Ensure your reviews are up to par with Google, Bing, and other review sites – but also consider revising your negative keyword lists specifically for the holiday season to include what customers aren’t looking for.

For Christmas 2017, follow these 3 consumer best practices and you’ll be well on your way to better conversions, better CTR on your ads, and boosted competitiveness when it counts – in the final Christmas hours. For more updates on holiday marketing and advertising trends, subscribe to our blog here.


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