Megan Sullivan-Jenks, Director of Marketing, Choozle: It seems like holiday marketing strategies always get pushed to the last minute—especially since time is such a precious resource in Q4. Why is it so important to plan ahead?
Megan Dyer, Strategist, Choozle: Advertising gets very competitive in Q4, so the earlier that you can get started on your holiday marketing strategies, the better chance that you have of being early to fill the top of the funnel. This will also help to make you the first to be top-of-mind for consumers, which will help you get ahead of the game during the holiday scramble. Similarly, using awareness-based tactics early on allows you to build your retargeting pool so that it’s larger during Q4 when many are trying to make the biggest impact with key, already-engaged audiences.
MSJ: Are holiday campaigns better for B2C, B2B, or are they equally needed for both?
MD: While many view holiday campaigns as most important for B2C, given the huge retail spikes during the holiday season, they are equally as important for B2B holiday marketing campaigns. For businesses operating on calendar years, for example, they may use Q4 as a time to actively evaluate new products and services for the following year. B2B has plenty of opportunities during this season.
Once mid-December hits, as work slows for many and people are more focused on the holidays, it may be more valuable for some businesses to slow advertising until the new year. It’s ultimately about knowing your target audience and when you can have the biggest impact with them.
MSJ: While common in Q4, CPMs are up 36 percent from Q2 of this year. Are there ways brands & agencies can justify increased spend in order to win more impressions around the holidays?
MD: It’s important to keep the cost per acquisition (CPA), return on ad spend (ROAS), and a customer’s average lifetime value in mind. Although prices are up, people are highly active within the market. This means it’s possible that the CPA may end up being way more cost effective than at other times of the year. Also, it usually ends up being good timing to acquire new, long-term customers, which can help justify the increased CPMs.
MSJ: Are there any specific audiences or targeting tactics that are better to use during this time of year, especially when competition is high?
MD: Typically, Q4 is a good time to leverage whichever tactics have been performing best for the intended key performance indicators (KPIs) over the course of the year, which will vary between advertisers. That said, the holiday season presents a timely opportunity for both competitors who are conquesting (i.e. through third-party data targeting and contextual keyword targeting), and for re-engaging existing customers (perhaps via segmented site retargeting or CRM targeting). Analytics tools, such as Choozle’s Insights, can also help inform lookalike audiences based on converters.
Above all, while true for any campaign, it’s especially important during the hyper-competitive and highly-saturated holiday season to ensure that your creative assets have a clear, compelling, and time-sensitive call-to-action that will resonate with the target audience.
MSJ: What are some holiday marketing campaign trends advertisers can take away from this year’s holiday marketing campaigns to apply the next time around?
MD: Leverage the data that’s available to you! Use detailed reports (such as Choozle’s) to provide insight into multiple different variables of performance including creative asset, ad size, data element, contextual category or keyword list, site, etc., which can help inform targeting and creative strategies for future campaigns.
MSJ: Should advertisers be thinking of ways they can apply their holiday marketing campaign learnings to the rest of the year, not just next holiday season?
MD: Absolutely! It’s important to keep customers engaged year-round in order to solidify a longer-term partnership. The learnings from what is potentially the busiest time of year lead to a huge volume of statistically significant data, offering valuable insight into how to best engage your customers throughout the year.
Megan Dyer is a strategist at Choozle, a digital advertising technology company based in Denver, CO. In her role at Choozle, Megan owns the Pacific Northwest region as well as a portion of the Central region, managing clients with both self-service and fully-managed advertising campaigns. Outside of Choozle, she enjoys photography, guitar, and practicing French (her college major). Long-term, Megan would love to travel the world as a contestant on The Amazing Race and to compete in an agility competition with her dog, Bridget Jones.