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

by | Oct 19, 2017

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.