There may never be another holiday season quite like this one. Fourth quarter sales from the holidays typically create a big year-end boost for brands, but the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has many marketers wondering how to make the most of their media spend this year.
While COVID-19 upended almost every aspect of daily life, it hasn’t stopped people from shopping. However, where, what and when consumers shop has changed. In the wake of the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders, people are shopping online more than ever and starting their holiday searches earlier than ever before. According to Google, 70% of consumers plan to do their shopping even earlier this year than in the past to avoid crowds during the pandemic. Plus, marketers must prepare for more cost-conscious consumers in 2020, as over 40% of people will be celebrating on a budget this season, according to Facebook research.
That’s why many advertisers are already in holiday mode, building and launching robust campaigns for the busiest selling season of the year. For those looking to take advantage of digital advertising to incentivize holiday shoppers, it’s not too late to build the perfect digital marketing strategy for every potential consumer. You can start with our tips below or dive right in and download our 2020 Holiday Advertising Playbook to get ahead of the hustle and bustle that’s to come.
Start by connecting your online and offline efforts
Ecommerce shopping was already on the rise in recent years, but COVID-19 fast-tracked consumer adoption in 2020, particularly among older generations. With safety top of mind for middle-aged and older adults, spending less time in stores has played a big role in shaping their new shopping habits. According to eMarketer, usage in buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) services that minimize human contact for buyers have surged 60.4% this year, with sales reaching over $58 billion. And this trend will continue throughout the holiday season according to recent daVinci Payments research, which shows 71% of all U.S. adults and 60% of those over 55 say they plan to do more than half of their holiday shopping online this year. So marketers already using an ecommerce store should focus their efforts this fall on making the shopping process as seamless as possible.
Then reset your audience expectations
Brands relying on past patterns or consumer behaviors to guide this year’s holiday advertising decisions will be at a disadvantage. While core audience demographics may not change significantly for some brands, consumer attitudes, consumption trends and buying behaviors are very much still in flux. This means there’s an opportunity for agile marketers to re-evaluate shoppers’ needs and adjust their strategy to capture new market share. To target effectively, marketers must build new buyer personas for their specific industry that will establish the right connection this holiday.
Finally, make the experience memorable, but celebrate with sensitivity
Holiday parties, shopping trips and family gatherings will look very different from past years and from state to state. National advertisers should be aware of regional regulations and choose ad creatives that match each market’s situation. It’s also especially critical that you deliver a consistent and hyper-relevant experience across every possible touchpoint. More and more, people are shopping for individual items throughout different points in their day using a variety of channels and devices to do it. So one approach is to break out your campaigns into the different stages of the customer journey and personalize messages and outreach to consumers based on their particular stage.
Despite the added complexity this year, holiday advertising is a must for almost every vertical, especially retail. The holiday shopping season is the most important sales period for many brands, so those that want a strong return this season should begin laying the groundwork now.
Still not sure which tactics should be on your nice list and which will give you nothing more than a lump of coal? We’ve got you covered. Unwrap all the campaign possibilities you can achieve this holiday season by downloading our 2020 Holiday Advertising Playbook. Or if you want to discuss how you can prepare now for a more successful year-end and beyond with an expert, reach out to our team.