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advertising

Christmas

GUEST BLOG: Christmas 2017 for retailers – Careful planning for paid social advertising success

By Rob Kabrovski, VP Accounts EMEA, Adaptly

The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year, but it can also be stressful for retail marketers. That pressure is for a good reason: UK sales amounted to almost £43 billion in 2016, with shoppers spending in excess of £805 million on Christmas Day alone.

With consumers facing messages and advertisements from all different directions, it takes careful planning and strategising to execute campaigns that will break through the noise.

It is possible for advertisers to own the Christmas season timeline, making this year’s campaigns the most effective yet.

Dominate the Pre-Season Period

Christmas conversations often start as early September but there’s a huge spike in interest once Halloween has passed.

Almost half of UK shoppers claim to have planned most of their Christmas purchases by early October, but just over 15% will have actually finished their shopping at the end of the following month.

Make sure to get ahead of competitors by carefully creating a content calendar and owning the pre-Christmas planning period. This is a key time for driving awareness and increasing product consideration, as consumers are in a much more relaxed state-of-mind. Christmas season is saturated with ads and it’s important to get a head start to reach your target audience before ad fatigue sets in.

Users increasingly turn to social platforms to plan their Christmas purchases and activities. The sooner you start adding content, the more likely you are to get noticed and stay top-of-mind throughout the entire period.

Test and Learn

Use the October pre-season period to do your testing. Iterate on creative and ad formats to identify what resonates best with your customer – setting you up for success later on. This is a perfect time to identify which products, assets, and messaging your audiences are responding to, in order to optimise top performers closer to the actual date.

Focus this time on driving brand awareness and create excitement in the run-up to major shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Seed your messages to core users – customers, fans, site visitors, and email subscribers – then reach your entire target audience on the actual day of a sale.

But remember that announcing promotions too early can delay consumers from making a purchase. 60% of UK customers say that they have hesitated to buy a Christmas related item in the hope of picking up a bargain later on.

Bid Aggressively

The competition tightens towards the end of November, in particular around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That means you’ll have to be willing to bid aggressively to get a bigger share of users’ wallets.  This can have an effect on your usual sales targets, so use historical data to determine the best timeline and appropriate budgets for your business.

Even though this period may be slightly pricier than usual, you’re reaching users while they are most receptive to offers and gift ideas, and while purchase intent is at its peak.

Most consumers are actively looking to make purchases, so creative elements should be focused on product demos or inspiring users with gifting ideas. At this point, use ad formats that drive traffic to site and bring customers closer to purchase.

Drive Sales with Retargeting

In the immediate run-up to Christmas, driving sales becomes more important than ever. A total of £25 billion was spent online between Black Friday and Christmas Eve last year, and compared to 2015, ecommerce orders saw a 51% increase for the week leading up to the 25th.

Leverage the audiences you have already driven to your site; and dynamically retarget users based on product pages they have viewed.

Put the right items in front of shoppers at the right time and personalise your content based on users’ previous behaviour.

Don’t forget customers who are likely to purchase your products for their own use; retarget them with items they viewed earlier in the year. Entice these users with the opportunity to buy their own perfect gift – now available through a Black Friday deal or with a special Christmas discount.

Christmas can be a stressful time for marketers, but it also presents ample opportunities to connect with customers while purchase intent is high. As long as you plan your activity well in advance and focus on driving users through the purchase funnel, this is definitely the season to be jolly.

www.adaptly.com

Bride & Groom

GUEST BLOG: The Social Wedding – How planning (and selling) the big day is going digital

Rob Kabrovski, VP of Accounts EMEA, Adaptly

The start of summer marks peak wedding season, with July to September the most popular months for couples to celebrate their big days.

Weddings are the culmination of months (even years) of planning and thousands of pounds of expenditure. Figures reveal that each couple spends on average £25,000 on their wedding (guests spend an additional £815) across verticals, meaning that the celebration is also very big business – worth an estimated £10 billion a year.

Long gone are the days of a quick ceremony in front of a few select family and friends followed by a week in rain-soaked Cornwall. They have been replaced by something more lavish. Like most of the important things in our lives (as well as the minutiae), social media plays an increasingly important role.

For instance, 62 per cent of newlyweds update their Facebook relationship status within 24 hours of getting hitched. But then we all know that managing our social profiles to ensure they are relevant has become second nature.

What is more interesting is the way that couples are turning to social media in order to plan their weddings well in advance – and it’s an activity carried out across age groups and not just among Millennials who you might assume are more versed in social media (there were two million wedding-related Internet searches in the UK by 45-54 year-olds in 2016).

Over 40 per cent of husbands and wives-to-be turn to social media to plan their weddings and they use these platforms in different ways – as well as seeking inspiration (which provides an opportunity for advertisers) ahead of their special day, one in four create a hashtag to aggregate posts on the day. It’s not only the wedding couple who turn to social media to plan and mark the celebration, but also the guests, the stag and hen crew, the bridesmaids and ushers, and so on. This means that the targeting spreads to include events and venues being organised beyond the obvious as well as gifts and outfits. Therefore brands need to think broader in terms of their product offering than just the couple.

For those advertisers that are seeking to tap this growing market there are key principles to follow, and it’s best to kick off your activity as early as possible as most engagements in the UK last for an average of 20 months – that’s a long planning period, which will also include other key marital events including engagement parties, hen dos and stag parties.

Pinners use Pinterest as a first stop to discover ideas that pique their interest, with over 40 million people using the platform globally to help guide them through the wedding planning process. As it’s such a powerful tool it should not be underestimated and creative treatments should reflect every part of the wedding planner’s journey. Given that weddings are highly visual affairs, bright and striking ‘thumb-stopping’ creative works the best.

While the summer months are the most popular for weddings, they are also the most expensive and ceremonies are now taking place throughout the year. To exploit this, advertisers should run their Pinterest wedding campaigns well past the key months using specific terms for search targeting, such as ‘wedding dress’, ‘honeymoon’ and so on.

Facebook and Instagram also play an important role in the wedding journey and have the additional benefit of allowing targeting based on relationship status, gender and location. A brand can reach a wide audience by targeting users who are engaged with an entire product range through carousel ads, while shoppable video ads with user-generated content can help bring stories of real couples’ weddings to life.

In addition, Twitter has a crucial role to play, allowing conversations and keyword targeting to tailor messaging to what users are tweeting about. Wedding buzz words such as #wedding and #shesaidyes are likely to be popular topics on Saturdays during the key wedding periods, while video featuring prominent people and branding in the first five seconds will engage viewers.

Snapchat is also increasingly popular, with custom geofilters enhancing the experience. Snap Ads with long-form content can engage users for longer as wedding guests and the happy couple are likely to re-watch the stories the following day and beyond.

Overall, social media has enhanced the wedding experience for brides, grooms, family and guests.

Happily for advertisers, it also allows them to play a new pivotal role in the special day.