Seasonal Shopping is Changing and Programmatic is the Only Way to Keep Up

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To say the holiday season is busy would be an understatement – full of shopping lists, festive parties, deadlines at work, and school shows – the list of seasonal commitments seems to increase each year. During the holiday season, online ad impressions typically increase 50% and conversion rates increase by 60%. Brands pull out all the stops to reach their shoppers at a time when their lists are long and their need for convenient, affordable solutions is high. Programmatic advertising ensures brands are prepared to meet the unique needs of their seasonal shoppers when and where it really matters.

Data as the difference

Tapping into data to inform your creative and reach your audience can have a big impact on your campaign’s success. The modern shopping experience is connected across devices and always-on. One of the most effective ways to reach customers on their seasonal shopping journey is by harnessing your first-party data in digital ad campaigns. Utilizing the data that’s gathered by your brand directly from customers often translates to more accurate targeting capabilities and reliable insights on what your audience responds positively to. When used in conjunction with third-party data and insights gathered virtually in real-time during your campaign flight, marketers create a well-rounded opportunity to ensure their customers are receiving offers that positively influence their shopping experience rather than add to the noise online.

Programmatic advertising ensures brands are prepared to meet the unique needs of their seasonal shoppers when and where it really matters.  

Implementing the data from previous holiday campaigns and sales figures also helps determine where to focus attention, which formats work and which products are most popular- allowing brands to personalize content for consumers. According to recent research from McKinsey & Company companies that use data-driven personalization as the core of their marketing and sales decisions can improve ROI by 15%-20%.

The season for simplicity

Do your shoppers a favor and simplify their experience with your brand. If your digital ads feature a deal, display the code on the banner so it’s accessible immediately without necessarily having to click through. Ensure your ads are functioning correctly across tablets and smartphones, this may seem like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how many are deployed or designed incorrectly. This is a seemingly small detail that makes a huge difference when considering that a staggering 82% of consumers continued to use their smartphones in store to help them make purchase decisions.

Clear and fun call to actions are great all year round, but especially leading up to the holidays as people are looking for solutions and short on time. Sending shoppers messages that solve their seasonal dilemmas and entertain them along the way is key. For example, Hotel Tonight made it easier for holiday travelers to visit family without necessarily having to stay with them. The solution they provided and promoted through their digital campaign was an easy-to-book hotel room on their website. The campaign tapped into a series of digital touch points including a contest where travelers shared their worst or most comical holiday-themed family memory on Facebook and Twitter using the #HotelTonight hashtag for a chance to win a $500 voucher. They added entertainment value by layering print and audio ads highlighting examples of quirky or funny relatives. The campaign tapped into the emotional insight of dealing with odd relatives during the holidays, but without being off-putting while offering an accessible, simple accommodation alternative.

Personalized problem-solving

Helping your customers purchase gifts for the people they care about during the holidays can and should be a personalized experience. We all have different people and presents on our lists so when shoppers feel personally assisted and creatively inspired they are more likely to follow through with the purchase whether that’s online or in-store. To succeed this season, you need to be a brand that offers custom solutions instead of waiting for shoppers to find you in a sea of offers and options.

Programmatic allows brands to collect and effectively analyze campaign data, along with first party data, to gain a better understanding of the needs of their consumers. During the holidays, when people are bombarded by hundreds of ads, brands have the chance to give shoppers access to exactly what they’re looking for, effectively being problem solvers on a small level but at a time of year when a little goes a long way. For example, if your customers have been searching for holiday ornaments or other decorations on your website, it could be a great opportunity to provide recommendations for other related products you offer such as gift wrapping and tape with a bundle price offer, making it an easy add-on to your customer’s cart before check-out.  Sometimes it’s the convenient offers that go the farthest.

Tis the season for highly targeted strategies, deals that dazzle and solutions that delight.

One example of a holiday campaign that delighted and delivered beyond an obvious offer came from Oreo Cookies. Oreo allowed customers to design their own package and have it delivered to their home. This turns something ordinary into a personalized experience for customers, encouraging them to engage with the brand on another level.

The gift of going local

Since 85% of consumers say they’d be more likely to shop in stores that provide coupons and special deals personalized just to them, advanced programmatic geotargeting can be especially useful for holiday campaigns with dynamic creative. Serving in-store promotions or product-specific ads to consumers within the perimeter of their store locations, advertisers can target those most likely to interact. With programmatic geotargeting, marketers can combine audience data filters and contextual layering with location signals to deliver hyper-relevant ads that resonate with shoppers craving convenience.

Creating mobile-friendly ads with local deals is also effective, especially since 72% of consumers used their mobile device to narrow down their purchase options while 60% used their smartphone to check local inventory.

Tis the season for highly targeted strategies, deals that dazzle and solutions that delight. Tying traditional advertising to data-driven digital efforts is key with almost 70% of senior executives saying they will spend more on marketing technology in 2017 than they did in 2016.  It’s more important than ever to tap into the power of digital advertising and if marketers focus their programmatic media dollars on keeping things personalized, simplified and localized this season they’ll have a holiday season worth celebrating.

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