The kids are back to school, Starbucks is serving their most popular drink, and our office football team rivalries are back in full force. It’s just about fall for many of us! But not for many advertisers. While everybody is starting to pull out their flannels and plan their apple-picking trips, advertisers all over the world are already starting to prep for the holidays. Yes, that’s right, we’re skipping right over fall and heading straight to winter. The holidays are right around the corner and the smartest brands out there are already planning for it.
Getting ready for the holidays starts with knowing how consumers are behaving. Google reported a 60% increase in total holiday traffic from 2014 to 2015 – 60%! Holiday shopping searches are growing, and shoppers are using all of their devices all the time to begin their holiday shopping, starting as early as before Halloween.
How can your brand prepare for the fast-approaching holiday season?
Put a Focus on Local Advertising
There was a 2x increase in mobile search queries in the US including “near me” and “nearby” from 2014 to 2015. Shoppers still like to feel the sweater they are buying for their mother-in-law or try on the latest headphones their brother has been eyeing. If you have a storefront, putting some serious effort into increasing your foot traffic through your online efforts is going to pay off big time.
Online advertising platforms such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and social sites like Facebook have local-focused advertising products and extremely sophisticated location targeting settings that can help you narrow down your search area to as small as a one-kilometer radius. Tight location targeting matched with interest targeting, remarketing and email lists provide brands with the right formula to start generating sales both online and in-store.
Make It Easy to Purchase Anywhere with a Seamless Omni-Channel Experience
According to Google’s holiday shopping insights, 4 in 5 holiday shoppers used their phone throughout the day for holiday shopping in 2015 and 92% of those who searched on their phones later went on to make a related purchase. Mobile is an important part of the journey, and making sure that your brand is perfectly woven into that journey will increase the likelihood of boosting sales and capturing those customers.
Creating an Omni-channel experience gives shoppers the same experience on all channels – mobile, desktop, and in-store. We all know shopping isn’t only done online. It’s important for your online and offline efforts to be in sync. Showcase your local inventory on the Google search results page with local inventory ads. Advertise in-store sales and promotions on Facebook and Twitter. Use your mobile app to help shoppers find products while they shop in-store. Offer in-store pickup. Make it easy to add items to the cart, optimize your keypads to make it simple to enter card numbers and expiration dates, and make sure that shoppers feel safe on your website. These are just a few ways to offer an Omni-channel experience for your customers.
Optimize Your Online Advertising Programs
Online advertising offers many different opportunities to take advantage of current consumer trends with local-focused advertising products and targeting, but there are many other ways you can turn holiday shoppers into customers. There are a few pretty big shopping days between now and Christmas 2016.
- Black Friday – Friday, November 25
- Cyber Monday – Monday, November 28
- Green Monday – Monday, November 12
- “Free Shipping” Day – Sunday, November 18
Google predicts the top 5 online sales dates for 2016 to be:
- Monday, November 28 (Cyber Monday)
- Tuesday, December 13
- Tuesday, December 6
- Wednesday, December 14
- Tuesday, November 29
Top in-store sales dates are predicted to be:
- Friday, December 23
- Friday, November 25 (Black Friday)
- Saturday, December 17
- Thursday, December 22
- Saturday, December 10
How will you take advantage of those? Take a look at where you can adjust your program around time-sensitive sales, top performing regions, and based on how your top performing products are selling. There are also various different bidding strategies that can come into play as well.
There is an endless amount of data to analyze and take action on, and it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. The items above are definitely a good place to start, but there are many things to be done in order to run a successful online advertising program during the holiday season. Our new e-book, Integrating Your Online and Offline Marketing gives you a peak into how integrating your marketing strategies online and offline leads to better success. Get your free download!