"It's the most wonderful time of the year!" Especially for retailers.
Although the days between November 1 and December 31 are painfully demanding for retailers, they are also, by far, the most fruitful. This is increasingly true for those who manage online holiday campaigns. In 2011, over $35.3 billion was spent online on holiday shopping in the U.S. alone, setting a new record over previous years. This year, online holiday sales are expected to grow by another 12 percent. As we enter into the thick of the 2012 holiday shopping season, it's important that online advertisers are prepared to take full advantage of the holiday spending fury.
One tip for maximizing revenue opportunities is to become acquainted with five common holiday shopping personalities. While varied in their timing, styles, and priorities, each is poised to be influenced by online advertising. The key is to create a campaign that will influence all five personalities. Here is my advice for making sure you engage each type of holiday shopper with your 2012 holiday display campaign.
The Uber Planner has probably already purchased her holiday presents for 2012. That doesn't mean she isn't paying attention to this year's holiday deals.
The good news? Because they are always thinking ahead, Uber Planners are fervently watching for bargains to stock up on birthday, Valentine's, wedding, and anniversary gifts for 2013. They also tend to be savvy shoppers. Since they are never in a rush, they have plenty of time to do their research before committing to purchase.
Rules of engagement: This is the ideal crowd to be influenced by your product reviews. Providing access to customer reviews, and enabling them to share their own reviews, creates a venue where they can do pre-purchase research. This can also be accomplished with in-ad tools like multi-color pallets, product videos, and in-ad search fields. Uber Planners are also receptive to purchase incentives: discount codes, free shipping, gift with purchase, etc. They'll be happy knowing they've done their research and gotten a great deal.
Prime window of opportunity: If we're planning ahead, this group will respond to "Christmas in July" campaigns. But since we want to maximize this season's revenue, this group will be most responsive to post-holiday promotions, December 26 to 31.
Down to the Wire Procrastinator
The Down to the Wire Procrastinator is the antithesis of the Uber Planner. This is the shopper in a panic on December 23 when she realizes she hasn't even started shopping. Her buying decisions are based largely on convenience and last-minute ship-ability.
The good news? The Down to the Wire Procrastinators have yet to spend their holiday dollars. They will be extremely responsive to those last-minute holiday deals.
Rules of engagement: These shoppers are looking for convenience, so incorporating product recommendations into your ads is a great way to keep them interested in your brand. Make it as easy to shop within your ad as possible with scrollable product feeds, tabbed browsing, and in-ad search. Of course, the deciding factor is whether your products can be shipped in time, so be sure to highlight all your last-minute shipping discounts. It might be worth building a holiday shipping countdown clock to put in your ads for those final weeks.
Prime window of opportunity: December 10 to 21 - after college finals, but while there's still time to guarantee on-time delivery.
Cyber Monday Surfer
The Cyber Monday Surfer values an awesome deal. Whether she fought through her turkey coma to shop on Black Friday or not, she is on the prowl for deals exclusive to online shoppers. Don't tell "the man," but Cyber Monday surfers might be sacrificing their productivity for the sake of monitoring deals online.
The good news? Shoppers who are committed to Cyber Monday typically have thought ahead and know which deals they're after. When they see an item on their Cyber Monday wish list, they are ready to buy. They aren't expecting to get a better deal later, and they'll want to secure the offer "while supplies last."
Rules of engagement: Personalized retargeting is key to maximizing opportunity with Cyber Monday Surfers. They are often looking for deals on big-ticket items, so they've done their research and know what they want. In short, they've been to your site. It's another opportunity for product recommendations too. If they're buying a TV, they'll want to look at Blu-ray players too. As you look ahead to Cyber Monday, consider placing a "Cyber Monday wish list" button in your ad. It will help you get the right deals in front of the right shoppers when Cyber Monday comes.
Prime window of opportunity: November 19 to 26. The most immediate results will come right on November 26, when Cyber Monday Surfers are prepared to click and buy on the spot.
Black Friday Fanatic
The Black Friday Fanatic gets in line as soon as she finishes Thanksgiving dishes. She fights crowds and loves the thrill of the deal.
The good news? You can get credit for increasing Black Friday turnout with a strategic online ad campaign.
Rules of engagement: Ads should feature discount codes exclusive to your display campaign that can only be redeemed in-store on Black Friday. There are several in-ad tools for recipients to secure the offers, which will also improve performance tracking: an email field to send the offer to their inbox, a "print this offer" button, or a link to a QR code that they can download and store. Another option is to include a field for them to enter a phone number where you can text them discounts as they are shopping on Black Friday.
Window of opportunity: November 12 to 23 - the two weeks leading up to Black Friday.
Green Monday Bargainer
The Green Monday Bargainer is somewhere between the Uber Planner and the Down to the Wire Procrastinator. She plans enough to get what she wants while avoiding expedited shipping charges, but she gets it done just in the nick of time.
The good news? These shoppers are ready to be done with holiday shopping. They don't want the stress of the Down to the Wire Procrastinator, and they know it's their last chance to avoid it. No more "window shopping," they are ready to buy.
Rules of engagement: Similar to the Down to the Wire Shoppers, make it easy. Maximize in-ad shopping tools. Maybe even include a drop box with a "who are you shopping for?" selection: mom, dad, brother, girlfriend, dog, boss, etc. Set each selection to bring a unique set of gift ideas into the ad's product feed field.
Window of opportunity: November 26 to December 10 - between Cyber Monday and Green Monday.
Best of luck with the holiday shopping season!
Holiday Shoppers image on home page via Shutterstock.
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In his role as CEO at mediaFORGE, Tony develops and drives the company's vision while overseeing all aspects of the business. Tony is a seasoned entrepreneur and has more than 20 years of experience in developing successful start-up technology companies. Prior to his involvement with mediaFORGE, Tony co-founded and served as CEO of ezADit.com, an online aggregator of offline college media, which was acquired by Y2M, a subsidiary of MTV Networks. Previously, Tony served as president and was a co-founder of Precision Data Link, which was acquired by The Profit Recovery Group (NASDAQ: PRGX). As senior vice president at PRG, Tony was responsible for the day-to-day operations, strategy, and growth of the logistics management division and was tasked with identifying, managing, and integrating five additional acquisitions. Tony is an active member of the Utah Technology Council and is passionate about technology and marketing. Tony enjoys outdoor sports and spending time with his family.
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