The holiday season is upon us and already Google is showing shopping trends that give us insight into how people are prepping for Halloween. Perhaps even more interesting than the top 10 costumes people are searching for (Minions are #1!) is the creativity retailers are using to market their Halloween products.
Helping People Perfect Their Halloween Look
One in five Halloween shoppers last year bought from a retailer they hadn't shopped with before, according to Google, "...showing that the holiday can be a great opportunity to introduce your brand to new customers."
HalloweenCostumes.com wanted to reach those shoppers and "deliver the best Halloween shopping experience in the industry," said Mark Bietz, VP of marketing at Fun.com, which runs HalloweenCostumes.com. The website focused on several ways to do that, then drove traffic through organic and paid search.
"One of the ways we've achieved this is by solving the number one issue of shopping for a costume online: choosing or receiving the wrong size," Bietz said. "This results in customers not being confident in their purchase, or even worse, is the reason why they have to return it."
HalloweenCostumes.com developed a tool called the Fit Finder to combat this. By simply entering a couple of standard measurements, "Our website will highlight costumes and sizes that we are confident will fit." So far, Bietz said, the feedback has been quite positive.
The website also focused on creating interesting content.
"We used data sets from Google and other tools to help guide our team members and let their creativity solve the question of ‘how do I make this content great?'" said Bietz. "Fortunately, we have a passionately geeky group of people that were well versed in the topics our audience cares about."
One such topic was the history of the Iron Man costume, complete with infographic:
Google also reported that "makeup tutorial" searches on YouTube spike each October, as people gear up to complete the look of their Halloween costume. HalloweenCostumes.com saw a chance to help people on their quest for that perfect Halloween look and further expose its brand through a YouTube marketing strategy.
The company created a series of makeup tutorials on YouTube, to help shoppers achieve the look of their character. They drove exposure through the video platform's TrueView ad program.
Bietz said the results have been positive.
"We've been able to see the extra reach it's provided, and based on the data that we've gathered so far, we will definitely be running them more as our season continues," Bietz said.
If you're thinking about getting involved in YouTube marketing for Halloween, Bietz offered a tip.
"Test different videos with different audiences," he said. "Just as it is with traditional landing pages, you'll never know what will work until you try."
Reaching the Right People with the Right Costume at the Right Time
Google reported mobile searches for costumes were up 67 percent this year. Online costume retailer BuyCostumes.com saw the opportunity to marry mobile with pop culture trends for its Product Listing Ad campaign on both mobile and desktop devices.
"The challenge with Halloween is it's a very fast moving, trends-based season," said Dev Mukherjee, CEO of BuySeason, which runs BuyCostumes.com. His team worked hard to collect and analyze data on customer interests, including using search data.
"Search has been a great tool to understand changing trends during the season," he said.
BuyCostume.com mined its analytics data and found visitors were browsing costumes at very specific times of the day, like in the morning and at lunch, and then purchasing later on their laptop or desktop device.
Armed with the knowledge of what costumes were trending and how customers were shopping, BuyCostume.com aligned its advertising efforts with that. "Product Listings Ads have proven to be very effective," said Mukherjee. "Our conclusion is that the PLA [product listing ad] is really an alternative consumers are using instead of the Amazon Buy Box."
Rather than just shopping on Amazon and then selecting the "Buy Box" suggestions from Amazon, said Mukherjee, consumers are coming back to Google, where those PLAs are acting like a "richer" Buy Box.
How can you make your PLAs stand out in the search results? Mukherjee said the key is great content in terms of both copy and imagery to move a user to a purchase.
Screenshot of BuyCostumes.com PLA for a "Duck Dynasty" costume
Both BuyCostumes.com and HalloweenCostumes.com reported that shoppers seem to have a piqued interest this year not only in the costumes, but for accessories as well, showing that shoppers are really putting their "all" into making their costume the best they can be.
If you're in the Halloween retail business, it seems you can get as creative with your marketing and advertising online as you dare this year.
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Jessica Lee is a marketer specializing in web content strategy and B2B/B2C writing. Since 2005, Jessica has been in the business of content and communications, with the past several years focused on the web marketing space.
Prior to launching her consulting business, bizbuzzcontent, Jessica was responsible for content strategy, development and marketing for Bruce Clay Inc. – a global SEO firm, where she served small businesses and Fortune 500 clients. Jessica's background also includes positions in traditional marketing, communications, broadcasting and publishing.
Jessica has a bachelor's in communications and public relations from San Diego State University. She also contributed to the book “Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies” 2nd edition.
March 19, 2014