by Celtra // October 15, 2019 // Blog

The weather might still be warm but take a hint from the premature store decorations–holiday season is right around the corner, marketers. Many of you have probably started turning the creative wheels for huge-impact digital campaigns. After all, 8 in 10 holiday shoppers are influenced by the internet before making a purchase.

The best digital campaigns take diligent consideration and preparation. Luckily, you now have ample time to outperform your past and competitor’s holiday campaigns. Follow these key tips for a very merry Q4. 

Make a list (and check it twice) 

Layout and asses your most important data. It’s time to consider which items are the most popular amongst specific audiences. Are certain collections outperforming others? With the right technology, perhaps a Creative Management Platform (CMP), you can target the proper audiences with specific considerations such as location and weather. In fact, you can go even more in-depth with timing triggers that tailor both your message and image variations for significant days.  

Deck the discounts 

If you’re looking to bump up sales on certain products, it’s time to start exploring the types of discounts and offers you’re able to provide with your current budget. Look at sales projections and weight the cost vs return on rolling these out. 

Keep in mind that ⅓ of shoppers report that holiday weekend purchases are driven by promotions. Plus, if promotions are driving consumers to your site , there’s a good chance they’ll be browsing other products too. Begin decisions now so that you’ll have sufficient time for strategizing how to incorporate and promote them in your ad campaigns. 

The ghosts of past campaigns 

What better way to learn about the present than the past? Take a deep dive into your past holiday campaigns, developing a clear and extensive report which covers preparation, creatives, tech tools, and overall performance. How did each factor impact sales? Which combinations yielded the best success? You might be surprised to learn that certain strategies worked better for your particular brand even if this isn’t the widely accepted “rule”. 

Trim the email list 

Cleaning up your email list should be a routine practice. This habit is especially important for the holidays when you have several email campaigns on deck. To do this, simply send out an opt-in message to your current distribution list. In this email, make sure you put your brand’s best foot forward with engaging copy and graphics in the email. This will allow you to form a useful evaluation. Ultimately, this will benefit your brand by better avoiding spam reports. Plus moving forward, you’ll have more truthful data about things like engagement and open rates. 

All the most wonderful times of the year 

Similar to assessing past campaigns, it’s worth looking more deeply at when your campaigns are most successful. For instance, because of Black Friday, sales and traffic typically peak during Black Friday and Cyber Monday but also remain higher through Christmas Eve in Q4. This shows the importance of planning, plotting, and preparing for awareness in the months leading up to the actual holidays. It also suggests that there should be an additional strategy for the buzz that immediately follows. 

As a general rule, begin putting the most into spend on awareness at the end of October through November for the winter holidays. Incorporate consideration and conversion campaigns by mid-November. And remember, the holidays themselves might not necessarily be the best time for awareness-driven campaigns. After all, consumers are already inundated with similarly themed campaigns at that point. Plant the seed early. 

Tis the season for creatives 

CPMs rise during high seasons which means that both your message and your creative become crucial levers for driving performance and helping you stand out from your competition. The more you spend, the more impressions you get, and ,therefore, the more creative fatigue is bred. In order to combat this, you’ll need to update your designs and messaging by refreshing creative approach frequently. 

How can you tell when it’s time for a batch of fresh ads? Look at your frequency and performance. Once the frequency increases and your key KPIs begin to decline (e.g. CTR or cost-per-acquisition), consider introducing a new batch of ads.

With a CMP you can easily manage this by testing variables such as color, design, message, and more, providing full visibility into different versions of your ad. Additionally, a CMP offers in-depth creative analytics to reveal where and how your ads are performing best. With the ability to make real-time updates, you can continuously optimize campaigns with top performing creative elements. 

Global all the way 

The holidays spur shopping frenzies across the globe. And since ecommerce is still growing, representing 14.3% of total retail sales in 2018,  the fact that occasions like Black Friday originated in the U.S. is of little importance. Actually, research has shown that sales and traffic both spike at rates comparable to those in the U.S., with countries like Spain and Poland gaining even more sales. 

When casting your message to a wider audience, be cautious about compromising on local considerations. With the right creative software, your digital ads can reap the benefits of both mass distribution and tactful local considerations. 

Learn more about global-to-local ad distribution here

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