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Sep 21

Five tips for your holiday advertising campaigns

Less than twenty-four hours after Thanksgiving, it’s Black Friday.

Forty-eight hours after Black Friday, it’s Cyber Monday.

And after Cyber Monday, it’s a countdown to the holidays.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Thanksgiving weekend accounts for the biggest eCommerce opportunity. Last year, brands pulled in a record $9 billion on Black Friday, a 21.6 percent jump from the previous year, and then smashing that record again with $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday.


If we look at the entire holiday shopping season, brands reached $789.4 billion, an 8.3 percent increase year over year, for the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Cyber Monday is once again expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history, with a total that could surpass $11.8 billion according to Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and ‘Cyber Tuesday’ should also continue to rank among the leading days for the season.

Given those unprecedented numbers, we can only expect that 2021 will be a big opportunity for holiday advertising campaigns.

To help you optimize your holiday advertising campaigns for Thanksgiving weekend, we put together five tips for your holiday campaigns,

1. Increase bids

The holiday season can be competitive. Every marketer is fighting for the chance to get in front of their potential customers. Even with the increase of traffic in Q4, especially in November and December, this competition means bids and other performance metrics will rise.

Taking a look at holiday campaign performance from previous years, we have seen that there was an average of 35 percent increase in CPMs in Q4 across all industries. Comparing CPM and CPC to Q2 benchmarks, we saw an average of 117 percent increase in CPC and an average of 50 percent increase in CPMs.

  • Think about planning ahead by increasing your base bid and max bids before Thanksgiving weekend to capitalize on increased demand.
  • Take a look at historical performance to find what days saw the highest amount of traffic (i.e., Black Friday or Cyber Monday) and raise your daily budget caps to ensure you are capturing all those potential customers.
  • Knowing that eCommerce doesn’t happen between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. like brick and mortar stores, try adjusting your scheduling and dayparting bid adjustments for the times of day that have produced the highest traffic.

Simply put:Plan ahead to capture increased holiday traffic by increasing bids and daily budgets.

2. Enable cross-device targeting

How are you reaching your potential customers across all their devices?

The stakes are high during the holiday season. Holiday shoppers are scrambling to finish their shopping lists, which can include browsing on their laptops, in-store visits, or holiday movie watching on Hulu.

With fierce competition, how do you ensure that you’re investing holiday marketing budgets in the most impactful and efficient way? How do you reach as many potential customers as possible? How can you make sure that your potential customer’s experience is positive and that you drive positive ROI, too?

Take advantage of rising conversion rates during the holiday peak season by enabling cross-device targeting across all your campaigns (especially on your retargeting or lower-funnel strategies).

Cross-device targeting can help you maximize your chances of finding and messaging your potential customers as they navigate across screens. If the average customer is using three to four devices to make their purchasing decision, and you’re only reaching them on their laptop, you’re missing out on ample opportunities to catch their attention on their phones, tablets, and other connected devices.

3. Pace aheadStatistics about holiday shopping in 2021 and 2022.

Last holiday season the pandemic greatly inhibited in-store shopping, retailers and marketers were quick to offer online
promotions earlier in the year to capitalize on the holiday season. With retailers still emphasizing eCommerce, it’s likely we could see a similar holiday head start this year. An earlier start with holiday sales will also help avoid fulfillment issues later in the holiday season as well.

Take advantage of the early start this holiday season by adjusting your campaign budgets to pace ahead. Pacing ahead will enable you to capture impressions for all your potential customers.

Remember that pacing is more than looking at your daily spend. Rather than making sure that your digital advertising campaign is pacing evenly across the entire holiday season, ask yourself if you need to reserve budget to boost spend on specific days, such as promotions? Are there more important days, such as the last day for shipping?

Taking these questions into consideration, along with your goals for the holiday season, should ensure that you are hitting appropriate pacing levels even with the holiday season kicking off early.

4. Activate mobile audiences

Thanksgiving weekend isn’t limited to eCommerce. Brick and mortar store visits are still on consumer checklists.

According to the National Retail Federation, though 60 percent of holiday shoppers shopped online last year, while only 45 percent shopped in department stores, along with 43 percent at discount stores and 42 percent at grocery stores and supermarkets. Of online shoppers, a full 73 percent said they plan to use their smartphone or tablet to research or make a purchase. Roughly 30 percent of consumers say they’ll also shop at clothing or accessory stores, and 23 percent say they’ll shop at local or small businesses and electronic stores.

As consumers are spreading out their holiday shopping across different destinations, in-store and online, you should look for ways to engage them where ever they are or where they have been. With geofencing, you could reach mobile devices to reach individuals while they are participating in the holiday shopping weekend. Or, you could leverage geoframing to target individuals on other devices after they have left their holiday shopping locations.

Our geofencing and geoframing partner has ready-to-use holiday shopping audiences that include over 475 place categories and over 270 branded chains.

Place Behavioral
Cards & stationery Holiday shoppers
Jewelry & watches Big box shoppers
Shopping centers Eco-friendly shoppers
Toys Holiday deal seeker
Electronics Shopper

Need a quick refresher on geofencing and geoframing and how you can enable these tactics in your holiday campaigns?

5. Leverage high buying signals

The buying process is quick during the holiday season. Your potential customer can move through awareness to consideration to purchase phases in a matter of a couple hours. With the increased competition, it’s vital to capture that potential customer when they are in the prime purchase mindset. According to the National Retail Federation’s forecast of holiday sales, consumers are forecasted to spend an average of $998 this holiday season.

Even with the consumers that do their holiday shopping earlier, there will still be a rush in November and December for consumers to finish their shopping.

So here’s how can you take advantage of the rush:

  • Think about using your CRM list of recent purchases to reach those customers most likely to buy additional products or services or for cross-selling opportunities. Marketing efforts that focus on increasing second orders can yield a higher purchase frequency to drive significant ROI.
  • Try targeting sites that have content related to gift guides or shopping lists for the holidays with contextual keyword targeting. Add keywords like a holiday gift guide, travel gifts, holiday gifts for tech, gift ideas, etc.
  • Retargeting (with recency): Recency is one of the most critical variables in retargeting, especially during the holiday season. You want to make bid adjustments so you are bidding higher for consumers soon after they’ve visited your site so you can stay top of mind.

Make your list and check it twice

As you prepare your advertising campaigns for the holiday season, don’t forget that we’re here to help. You can think of us as your elves in the digital advertising workshop.

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