The State of 2012 Holiday Shopping & Tips to Optimize Your Advertising

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We’ve all watched the Black Friday footage with grotesque interest. Maybe you nabbed some deep deals on Cyber Monday. Aside from a few cracked ribs and maxed out credit cards, we could argue the nation is in good shape. According to ComScore, $21.4 billion has been spent online for the holiday season to date with a 14% increase versus the corresponding days last year. Wahoo! Sounds like it’s time to celebrate right?

Wait. Before you dash off to the company party to toast your successes with egg nog, ask yourself this: Has your marketing team been naughty or nice?  Did you proceed with business as normal this holiday season or diversify your online advertising? Furthermore, have you continued to stay focused on last minute holiday spending? (Please note, this does not mean spamming your loyal customers with emails every day until Christmas.)

What this means for online advertisers: This November holiday season, conversion rates and return on ad spend showed double-digit growth (source: Kenshoo). Assumedly, major retailers have refined their search marketing programs and positioning of online solutions.

What this means for your competition: The race isn’t over yet. Keep in mind shopping post-Xmas is now bigger than ever with gift cards and gift receipts. If you’re a brick and mortar store, it’s important to keep foot traffic coming through your doors. Targeting or retargeting your potential customers via digital display advertising is a great way to stay top of mind.

Scared you’ve left stale cookies out for Santa? There’s good news. Last year, PriceGrabber’s fourth winter holiday shopping survey revealed 41 percent of consumers plan to shop between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24 for holiday gifts (source: PRWire). It’s not too late to freshen up your digital advertising plan!

Tips For Effective Holiday Online Advertising

Ad Offer: “Free Shipping” is an offer with continued traction and can oust competition from the equation! Consider if the investment is worth it, particularly if your business is small. Shipster offers an easy and free tool to determine if free shipping is a good move. Beyond this, purchase oriented offers like “Buy 1, Get 1” and deep discounts are most click-friendly. Consider targeting shoppers with sales that also mine valuable customer data: “Register on our site & Get 20% off!”

Ad Language: Interestingly enough “Buy Now!” might not convey the deepest sense of urgency. After all, there are millions of other retailers only a click away. In fact, the word “Buy” may garner a great click-through rate but actually only converts to a purchase .25% of the time. Whereas a word like “Order” has less impulsive clicks but converts 2.54% of click- through traffic.

Ad Messaging: Don’t forget to position your business for a segment often overlooked: personal shoppers!  “Get What You Really Want” is a message to shoppers looking for personal items and hoping to take advantage of fantastic sales, guilt free. In fact, it has been reported this year more than ever, individuals will be treating themselves: shoppers will spend an average of $140 for themselves, the highest amount in 10 years! (source: National Retail Federation)

Ecommerce Accessibility: The iPad continues to dominate as the tablet of choice for shoppers with 7% of all Cyber Monday orders purchased through the popular Apple product (source: IBM). Make sure your website and offers are tablet/mobile compatible.

Feeling a little more optimistic about fiscal year end now? We hope you found this a little easier to swallow than holiday fruit cake! What new positioning and tactics have you tried this holiday season? Please share in the comments section marketers!