6 Tips to Consider for Digital Advertising during the Holidays
By Mike Mastrullo, Cox Media
According to the American Research Group, Inc., in 2014 Americans spent an average of $861 on gifts, food, decorations, and more during the winter holidays, which include Christmas, Kwanza, and Hanukah – that’s nearly $442.9 billion spent during the holiday. Additionally, nearly 20 percent of retailers’ income comes during the holiday season. So having the right advertising strategy is critical for retailers of all kinds.
Digital advertising is an important component of the advertising mix during the holiday season. But what exactly is digital advertising? It’s really Internet advertising and it’s the process of businesses leveraging the Internet to sell to consumers in a variety of different forms, such as social media websites, email, online advertising on search engines, pay-per-click ads, and banner ads on mobile or websites.
As you probably know from your own shopping experience, digital is taking over the way consumers identify and purchase items, especially during the holiday season. If you are still unsure about the impact of digital advertising on consumers, here are some interesting facts to consider from 2014 holiday sales:
· 78 percent of holiday shoppers used the Internet for holiday research
· $1 trillion or 28 percent of all retail sales were influenced by shopping-related mobile searches
· 80 percent of shoppers watched online product reviews and ratings before they purchased.
(Source: Think With Google, www.thinkwithgoogle.com)
Many businesses make the mistake of sitting back and expecting that they will naturally reap the benefits of consumer spending in the fourth quarter of the year. This approach might work for some, but the vast majority must actively manage their digital advertising spend during the holiday season.
Consider these tips for your advertising strategy this holiday season:
1. Make a plan. The more actively you create a strategy for digital advertising for the holiday season, the more likely you will start to reap rewards.
2. Consult experts in the market. Sometimes it just pays to seek expert advice. Consult a local advertising agency, digital marketing firm or your local cable station for advice on how to stretch your holiday advertising spend.
3. Leverage what works. What type of digital advertising has worked for you in the past? Do you send out emails to your frequent shoppers? Have you considered Groupon? What about search, online display or social media? If you’ve never really tried digital advertising, what types of ads do you respond to? If you’re not really your customer base, canvas some folks who are and find out what types of ads they respond to. Just remember that a nice mix of advertising is often the best approach to increasing traffic and sales during the holidays.
4. Monitor performance. Keep a close eye on your digital performance throughout holiday season particularly when making changes like decreasing prices, eliminating shipping fees, etc. Finding the advertising sweet spot can be tricky, so you may need to make adjustments along the way to maximize your performance.
5. Don’t market to everybody. Big box retailers have deep spending pockets, so don’t think you are going to outspend them. Consider spending on the top five zip codes that drive your holiday sales rather than going broader. Consider this statistics: Sixty-one percent of consumers conduct all of their holiday shopping within 10 miles of where they live; 18 percent stay within 5 miles.
6. Create urgency. Use time to your advantage. Displaying the time remaining in a promotion creates a sense of immediacy and will increase conversions. Keep in mind that most people need to see your message at least three times before it registers with them. Consider creating a holiday gimmick or offer something special even if it’s a positive holiday message.
Remember to keep an open mind and be realistic while planning your advertising mix. There are no silver bullets in advertising, but you can find the right partner to help you identify potential areas for growth and explore some different avenues. Be open to the possibility and probability of change. Use multiple methods, be diligent, and stick with it.
When it comes to holiday monetization, if you can successfully pinpoint your areas of potential growth, identify your goals, and act on them, there’s no reason why you can’t be part of the trend of up and to the right.
Mike Mastrullo is the digital media sales manager for Cox Media Virginia. He manages the advertising sales efforts for all digital products and on-demand platforms for Cox Media clients. She holds a BS in Radio and Television Broadcasting from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville. You may contact Mike at Michael.Mastrullo@CoxMedia.com.