‘Tis the season to be jolly for E-Commerce companies. The holiday season is drawing near and with it comes a rejuvenated intrigue in online shopping and an increase in website purchases. With just over 100 billion dollars generated from E-Commerce sales alone during the 2015 holiday season, that number is expected to grow nearly 20% in 2016! Planning and executing a well thought online marketing strategy is paramount in translating this season’s inevitable uptick in E-Commerce activity to checkouts on your website.
Preparing now for November and December, which alone drive 30% more in E-Commerce revenue than any other months, is the opportune time to make a big impact on end of the year numbers and beyond for your company. A well thought out strategy can pay dividends once the new year arrives, with valuable learnings from the holiday season utilized for maximizing the inevitable price drops of Q1. Our team at 565 Media is focused on the holiday season as a key driver of customer engagement, both new and old, with our ultimate objective to increase website conversions and drive maximum ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) during these crucial months. Here’s 565 Media’s online marketing checklist for the 2016 holiday season:
Take Time to Plan Your Holiday Promotions
Accompanying the holiday season comes increased expectations for online retailers, with 86% expecting to see a rise in sales in the months of November and December. What will separate you from the crowded pack of businesses vying for the same limited opportunities to reach consumers is establishing a solid plan that addresses each aspect of your online marketing goals.
The ball is in the customer’s court throughout the holiday season, with companies of all sizes competing for an online user’s attention. In order to lure potential customers into your funnel it can be necessary from time to time to entice them with a plethora of promotional offerings and discounts that, at the same time, won’t break your own bank.
A useful way to organize potential promotions is to create a calendar that outlines the beginning and end dates of promo codes and discounts, so come the hectic time around the holidays, your business is on the same page. Similarly, when applying different offerings across your audience segments, it is important to keep track of which segments are performing well in order to make versatile and swift account optimizations.
Contemplating offerings to introduce to either new or returning customers is also an important aspect to consider when constructing a set of holiday promotions. In a recent survey, 74% of online shoppers claim to be heavily influenced by coupons or exclusive online offers, while free shipping was deemed the 2nd most important factor when purchasing from E-Commerce sites. Consider utilizing easy to remember promo codes or offering free shipping in order to exude a more immediately apparent value proposition to your ads.
Optimize Your AdWords Presence
First and foremost, among the items on your holiday planning guide should be to ensure that the proper KPIs on your site are being tracked in order to properly optimize what is and what isn’t working across your account. Clarifying conversion goals and pixels in Google Analytics is a great place to start in order to monitor every avenue of your potential holiday ad spend.
When approaching your paid search goals on Google for the holiday season, establishing KPIs and preparing a flexible budget for the, at times, unpredictable holiday search traffic is always a best practice. Also, if possible, it’s important to have mapped out any key learnings from previous holidays in order to more effectively predict your targeted consumers’ behavior patterns.
Optimizing paid search campaigns to serve most when online traffic is known to be more prevalent, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, can deliver higher intent traffic to your website and justify a higher CPC bidding price. Last year, on Black Friday alone, nearly 20% of online orders were driven by paid search campaigns.
Paid search, however, is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to unlocking the reach of Google’s vast ad network. It’s beneficial to test and understand how other Google ad mediums, such as display, video, and product listing ads, can position your ads in front of your company’s desired audience. Discovering what works for your company during the busy holiday season can better leverage your position in front of more potential customers and open new channels of revenue that may lead to greater LTV (Lifetime Value) down the road.
Riding Facebook’s Holiday Momentum
Establishing a stable presence on Facebook (and Instagram, for that matter!) throughout the holiday months allows you to maximize your reach across the platforms. Facebook reports that time spent on its website begins to accelerate in early October and consistently remains high until its eventual peak on New Year’s Eve. However, you shouldn’t wait until Black Friday and Cyber Monday to enter the Facebook holiday ad frenzy either. Facebook reports that 40% of consumers admit to begin shopping for the holidays by Halloween.
On Facebook, mobile is king, so it’s important to build a high-quality mobile ad experience for users to experience. This holiday season, 60% of Facebook’s audience plans to buy more often from smartphones and tablets than a year ago. There’s no denying that consumers are becoming more comfortable completing purchases on mobile devices, so it’s vital for an E-Commerce business to ensure that it’s page and checkout flow is optimized for a superb mobile user experience.
Introducing some of Facebook’s newest ad features into your already scheduled planning can more effectively engage your audience and make your brand more approachable. Video ads on Facebook are a great place to start and consistently draw more engagement than traditional, static images. New ad features, such as messenger ads and Facebook Live continue to more organically engage potential customers through more personalized connections.
Don’t Be Afraid to Test
More often than not, online marketers will stick to their guns when it comes to running successful ad campaigns around the holiday season, hesitant to introduce any A/B testing or variations in value propositions. The truth is, however, that the holiday season is a great time for setting aside a portion of ad spend for testing since the traffic is practically guaranteed to be higher, and won’t put new sales at risk.
Online marketing for the holiday season can be an exciting time for companies to experience increases in both customer engagement and conversion rates. Securing a strong finish to the year requires careful planning and timely implementation of the right advertising channels for your targeted audience. Our team at 565 Media hope that these tips will make your holiday season ad spend more effective and allow you to supersede your fiscal year goals.
Have questions, need help with your e-commerce initiatives? Contact us now.