Six Last-Minute Tips for Holiday Marketers

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The holidays are here, and along with them, a holiday shopping season like no other. With the entire retail sector transformed by the Covid-19 pandemic, e-commerce has taken center stage, and digital marketers are working feverishly to find new ways to reach customers and bring former brick-and-mortar shoppers into the digital fold.

Yet we know that there’s still a lot of work to be done, and the holidays aren’t offering much downtime to digital teams. That’s why we hosted a discussion featuring experts sharing eleventh-hour tips and tricks that marketers can use to drive revenue this holiday season.

Our panel consisted of Garrison Yang, a client solutions manager on Facebook’s Disruptors team, and Clotilde Bedoya, CMO of The Company Store, the Home Depot-owned online retailer of textiles and home décor products, and myself. I offer some key takeaways below.

Collapse the funnel

The good news is that this is going to be a tremendous year for e-commerce as more consumers take a break from shopping in person to order online. With that new opportunity, however, come new logistical challenges. This year’s cyber five, the five-week period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, is expected to generate an estimated 750 million packages, a huge increase over previous years. Shipping capacity in the United States right now hovers between 60 and 65 million packages per day. For retailers, that means a relatively tight window of about 10 days to clear out those cyber five orders to be sure they arrive on time. While large retailers like Walmart and Target can afford to eat into margin to pay for expedited shipping, it won’t be an option for most retailers. It’s critical to shorten the purchase funnel as much as possible to get those orders in early.

As Facebook growth strategist Garrison Yang notes, getting holiday shoppers to convert early means overcoming ingrained habits. Over the last decade, consumers have been conditioned to hold out until mid-to-late December to get the best holiday deals. To help break these habits, he recommends strong messaging that emphasizes the need to buy early, as well as front-loading paid marketing efforts in the first half of December to maximize early demand.

Know the new consumer

Online shopping, once dominated by tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z, is being embraced by a whole new demographic as a result of the pandemic. These new consumers are older, and they aren’t all as accustomed to shopping online or scrolling through feeds as their younger peers. It’s therefore important to make sure that your messages address their needs and that creative, whether still images or video content, is open and accessible to this new customer base.

One way to make sure that your content is accessible is to use tools like dynamic ads and overlays to bring more product information into ads. As marketers, we invest considerable resources in optimizing our sites and apps to capture information like product ratings, customer feedback, and reviews. Overlays offer a chance to bring this additional information into ad creative and help recreate the shopping experiences that are absent in our contactless world.

For shoppers used to asking a neighbor or a sales associate for advice and information, this can make all the difference. These dynamic tools can also be used to highlight important information, like shipping deadlines to help shorten the purchase consideration period.

Leverage video (even without footage)

This year is different, but not everything has changed. Video still works to stop thumbs, engage consumers, and drive conversions, and according to Clotilde Bedoya, you don’t need actual footage to create an impactful video. Many marketers have struggled this year to create video at a time when shooting is a challenge, but Bedoya’s team at The Company Store has seen great success building video out of still images, sound, and text.

This process has the added benefit of being far quicker than shooting and editing live video content, which allows her team to be nimble when it comes to fielding new video creative during holiday crunch time.

Make your product shine

As more people are shopping online, they may also be overwhelmed with choice. Our feeds will be flooded with products and offerings, so it’s important to use every tool available to make your product stand out. One way to do this is through Dynamic Product Ad units that enrich creative with visuals and additional information.

The holidays are close, and holiday shipping deadlines are even closer, so it’s a great opportunity to enhance a product ad with a discount offer to entice shoppers, or a shipping countdown to create a sense of urgency. You can also use DPAs to include brand-building visuals like company logos and additional information that help shoppers understand the unique value of a given product.

Choose the right tool for the right audience

Knowing how to talk to new and existing e-commerce audiences is one piece of the puzzle, but to engage them, you must know where to find them. While millennials and Gen-Z are likely to be spending their time on mobile platforms like Instagram stories, the bulk of new shoppers (previously in-store buyers) may be on Facebook feed for desktop. It’s important to create the right ad experiences for these consumers.

Make the most of gifting season

Gift-buying season is in full swing, meaning there’s intent to capture. For digital marketers used to matching their ad with the customers most likely to need it, the season presents a unique challenge, because most people aren’t shopping for themselves. That’s why it’s more important than ever to use all the tools at your disposal to capture that gift-buying intent. Our panel recommends reach-enhancing tools like Facebook’s Dynamic Ads for Broad Audiences to get both product and creative in front of as many eyes as possible as early as possible. This can ensure that you’re harvesting as much holiday demand as you can before competitors get there. Once you’ve done so, it’s a simple matter of using retargeting to turn that demand into conversions.

Conor Ryan is co-founder and CIO of StitcherAds.