The holidays are fast approaching. If you expect to get your share of the billions U.S. consumers will be spending this season, you've got to plan your campaign carefully.
If you've fallen behind, that means kicking into high gear now. But have no fear. We've got five key tips that will bring you holiday cheer.
1. Start Now and Don't Stop
If you want to run a fully-optimized campaign for the holidays, it means testing your promotional tactics and strategies in September.
Once you've worked out all the kinks, be sure to be up and running at full speed from mid-October all the way through to the last day of the year. That way you'll benefit from the peaks in total conversions and click-through conversions we always see during this tremendously important 10-week stretch.
2. The Price Has to Be Right
During the holidays, there's often high demand for inventory, and you're going to want the best inventory to meet your performance goals.
You never, ever, want to waste money. But the holiday season is not the time to get overly focused on 'max' or 'capped' CPMs. Simply put, it's better to work with a slightly higher dynamic CPM (dCPM) budget during peak periods.
Another tip: high inventory demand and cost periods lead to the best engagement and ROAS performance. If you focus too much on price, you risk losing that benefit.
3. Spend When It Matters Most
You've got to be sure you're allocating budgets effectively as you move closer to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the winter holidays. A good retargeting partner should provide you with insights that get you closer to your goals and objectives. And, equally important, your vendor needs to be be fully transparent, so that you know how efficiently your marketing dollars are being spent.
Also, if it makes sense for your campaign, give some thought to a mix of search and site retargeting. And, while you're at it, be sure to take advantage of all the creative options at your disposal (dynamic creative, FBX ad formats, etc).
4. Find the Right Balance
If you want to get your message out, you have to be able to reach the right audience in the right place. If they're worth the money they make, your retargeting partner should be able to guide you on what's working best.
When it comes to click-trough rates (CTRs) and cost-per-action (CPAs), we're noticing great success with the FBX News Feed. But if you're going with FBX, as you probably should, remember that it's crucial to balance your spend out with reach via FBX Right-Hand Side units and traditional web spends. You'll be complementing the efforts within your campaign and benefiting from better incremental performance.
5. Know How to Implement
Programmatic marketing can drive a lot of new business, but you need vendors who know what they're doing. If there's one thing that can ruin your holiday, it's spending it dealing with problems with your pixels.
Choose a good tag management solution so that your pixels will be implemented efficiently for targeting specific segments or visitors. And don't forget to ask your vendor about real-time creative so that you can manage messaging and promotions as they're going out and adjust accordingly.
When it comes down to it, you're going to need a vendor who will be your partner throughout this journey. The right vendor will discuss your strategy (end-to-end) and make your holiday season a lot more fun – not to mention more profitable.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Ben is Vice President of Marketing at Chango, where he heads up all marketing and communications initiatives. Prior to joining Chango, Ben worked with GE Capital for four years to establish and lead the digital media practice. This led to the development of GE Capital's digital value proposition and its execution worldwide.
Ben graduated from GE's Experienced Commercial Leadership program after completing his MBA at McGill University. Before GE, Ben held a variety of marketing and business development roles in the e-payments industry, while working at Gemalto in London.
March 19, 2014