Ready, Set, Retail! How to Win at Data-Driven Holiday Campaigns

Don’t you hate it when it’s not even halfway through October and department stores are already stocking Christmas decorations?

Me too. But when it comes to e-commerce, it’s important to get your holiday digital marketing strategy ironed out and buttoned up months in advance. This quick guide will get you on the right foot.

Use data to schedule your campaigns

It goes without saying that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are hot times for holiday marketing campaigns. But for the most success, look at your data more closely to find which particular holidays or even date ranges are ripe for marketing.

For example, if your historical data shows your business is more successful on Cyber Monday compared to Black Friday, and that two weeks before Christmas showed a spike in sales last year, you should allocate some more digital marketing budget to those time periods to meet demand and maximize return on ad spend (ROAS).

Tip: Don’t forget about shipping! This is crucial when it comes to last-minute buyers, so make sure the ad campaigns targeting these customers are scheduled to account for shipping time. I also recommend teaming up with customer service during the holidays since social media and customer reviews go hand in hand.

Decide what your goals are for the campaign

Online stores want to drive online sales. But some organizations may also want to drive offline to in-store conversions, raise awareness of an in-store only promotion, or even increase newsletter membership depending on the company.

Whatever your goals are, make sure they are clearly defined and articulated before designing any creative or running any campaigns; it will make it easier to track your campaigns and allocate resources to the proper channels. Additionally, set up proper tracking in your analytics tool before launching your campaign to ensure correct attribution.

Tip: Aren’t you tired of being asked if marketing really works or not? I am. CRM tracking is my number one recommendation for tracking in all channels. Make sure all tracking parameters align with your CRM to accurately track ROAS and make a strong case for more budget in 2018!

Determine which channels are best for your goals

Not all marketing channels will work for any given goal, so be strategic about which channels are used for each goal to ensure the best ROAS. Here are a few examples:

Goal: Advertise a sale or promotion to customers who have purchased previously.

Use Facebook. With the custom audiences feature, you can strategically target previous customers who are more likely to buy from you again, allowing your advertising dollars to go further. Make sure to add Facebook event tracking to monitor revenue, cart additions, and purchases generated from the campaign.

Goal: Advertise a sale or promotion to previous customers who are also in-market purchasers.

Use paid search. With Google Customer Match, you can put your ads in front of relevant in-market historical purchasers. This can include countdown ads based on promotions (e.g. “2 Days Left to Get 20% of Your Purchase!”), or Sitelink Extensions that will automatically update with your company’s latest sale or promotion.

Goal: Target new prospects who are likely to purchase.

Use display. Display prospecting is an effective way to target new customers based on their online customer behavior and interests.

Make sure the ad creative mirrors the customer journey

Simply putting ads in front of potential customers isn’t enough. Each customer will most likely interact with several of your marketing channels, so make sure your ad creative and messaging keeps the customer journey in mind and nudges them toward a sale. Additionally, ensure that ad creative and messaging is consistent and cohesive to keep customers on the right path.

Monitor reporting during the campaign

As mentioned previously, it’s important to implement event tracking and other attribution tools in your analytics ecosystem before launching a campaign. But it’s also crucial to monitor your reports during the campaign. Always look at your attribution reports to see what other channels influence your digital marketing campaigns, as this can help you make last-minute adjustments to resources. If you’re running display campaigns, also look at View-Through Conversions to get a better idea of the efficacy of those ads.

Now you’re ready to get your holiday marketing campaign up and running! If you need a partner to assist you, we’re always a message away.


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