November 5, 2020
November 5, 2020

This Year's "New Normal" Brings a New Type of Holiday Shopping Season for Digital Marketers

Casey Saran
Co-Founder & CEO

It's officially Q4, we made it to the end of the year! However, before we pop the champagne and bid adieu to a trying 2020, those of us responsible for driving digital marketing efforts for e-commerce have their work cut out for them. With big sales targets and flat media budgets, digital marketers have to do a lot with a little.

For many consumer brands, the Holiday shopping season is typically when they expect to generate upwards of 20% of their total annual revenue between Black Friday and Christmas, with 15% of revenue coming from online channels. However, with this year's ongoing pandemic keeping consumers out of stores, the outlook among analysts is that e-commerce will account for a whopping 30% of consumer spending - a 2x increase over last year. Indeed, according to Google, 75% of US consumers plan on shopping online more this year.

No doubt there will be a lot of revenue potential at stake for digital marketers this year. However, it won't be easy. First-off, like any Holiday shopping season, everyone will be competing for the same consumer dollars, but with Amazon's Prime Day being moved up to October (along with Target's Deal Days), the shopping season will effectively be extended by several weeks. At the same time, according to industry watchers, media budgets will, at best, remain flat on the year.

So how are advertisers supposed to support twice as much e-commerce activity over a considerably longer timeframe with no more budget than they had last year? Below are four tips for B2C advertisers to do more with less this year.

Have other suggestions you'd like to share? We'd love to talk shop! Drop us a line!

1. Timing

With many people planning to avoid in-store shopping this year due to health concerns related to COVID, Black Friday, and particularly Cyber Monday, will be more crowded than ever without traditional brick and mortar Black Friday events.

As such, you may want to consider running campaigns ahead of BF/CM in order to both avoid being lost in the shuffle, and also potentially take advantage of lower media costs. Another consideration, as we discussed in our article about navigating Amazon Prime Day is that, with its October timeframe this year, the world's largest e-commerce event is likely to shift a good portion of Holiday spending earlier in the season.

2. Prominently call out promotional pricing

With the economy still recovering from a serious slump, consumers are going to be looking for deals. Indeed, 93% of US shoppers used coupons in 2020 (Statista), and according to Revionics (2020), 70% of shoppers will actively seek promotions and coupons when holiday shopping this year.

At the same time, according to Visa, 33% shoppers will be more tempted this year to give digital gift cards; however, without discounts generally available for gift card purchases, these deal-hungry shoppers could be easily swayed with attractive offers.

As such, it will be important to clearly indicate deals and discounts in your advertising, while at the same time, creating a sense of urgency tied to the timing of those promotions. To this end, try creating shorter, more frequent promotions like daily deals across a variety of products. This will both create a strong sense of urgency ("if I don't buy this on discount today, will I want to pay regular price tomorrow?"), as well as drive extended engagement and return visits as consumers check in to see what's on sale next.

To further sweeten the deal, you might even consider re-engaging users who have previously expressed interest in deals with even steeper discounts on a limited time basis. More on remarketing next!

3. Take full advantage of remarketing

As most digital marketers already know, remarketing can be extremely effective. In fact, according to Kenshoo (2019), remarketing audiences are 70% more likely to convert than first-touch users. Here are some specific tactics you may want to consider for this Holiday season.

First-off, with advertising on our screens as abundant as snowflakes in the air, it's critical that you leverage remarketing to make meaningful, personalized connections with audiences to stand out from the crowd and secure as much share of wallet as possible. Get granular with your remarketing segments:

  • "Thank you" campaigns for people who have already bought, with "loyal customer" incentives or coordinated/related product recommendations
  • Basket abandoner campaigns to try and win them back with further discounts
  • Social audiences who have engaged with your brand on social media - tap into some of your latest social campaigns, creatives, and messaging to create a unified brand experience

If you're driving consumers to retail partner sites, like Amazon, you can still retarget users by either leveraging retailer advertising services or by using a link shortening solution to tag audiences as you direct them to retailers (or anywhere) from your ads.

4. Create emotional connections

Last, but not least, an area near and dear to our hearts here at Spaceback is to use advertising to emotionally influence people.

One criticism of direct-response (DR) advertising is that it often fails to communicate and convey the essence of the brand your team has taken so much care to cultivate. This is important, particularly for new or emerging brands, as many consumers prioritize brand perception over product evaluation in their decision-making. We also see this as a factor for brands in highly undifferentiated categories like CPG where emotionally-led advertising is 2x more effective in driving consideration than "rational" advertising campaigns that primarily communicate product features and promotional pricing (Brand Immortality).

We will talk about this subject in more detail in a future article dedicated to exploring the benefits of forming emotional connections with consumers through advertising, but in a nutshell, it's important that performance advertisers keep in mind that consumers aren't always purely rational creatures that buy solely based on feature sets, price-to-feature value, and promotions. More often than not, they buy based on emotions - particularly when it comes to buying gifts for loved ones. We bet no one has ever said, "I hope you like what I got you! I don't know if you'll use it, but it was on sale!"

So go the extra step and make your Holiday ads fun, personal, and relevant to the emotional needs and interests of your shoppers.

Want to connect with consumers in a more engaging way this Holiday season, and at the same time, drive stronger results than traditional banner ads? See how Social Display, an innovative new creative format pioneered by Spaceback, can allow you to take the amazing social content you're creating and use it to connect with shoppers across the Web as display advertising.

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