Setting Up Your 2017 Holiday Campaigns for Success

To help you gear up for the most competitive season of the year, SocialCode compiled insights from dozens of campaigns launched on behalf of retail clients during the 2016 holiday season. These campaigns span over 6,200 ad combinations and 13 billion impressions across digital platforms. Here are some key takeaways to integrate into your holiday marketing strategy:

1. Prioritize your high-value shopper list

Brands should be tapping their first-party data year-round, but more so than ever during the holiday shopping season. SocialCode recommends segmenting your CRM lists based on key differentiating categories. There’s so much you can learn from your CRM list beyond the fact that someone has once made a purchase on your website. There are previous holiday shoppers, high lifetime and average order value customers, in-store shoppers, and full-price shoppers; these should fall under your high-value customer shopping category and allow you to expand your reach beyond your current customers using lookalike targeting technology. To scale your retargeting efforts, we recommend utilizing your brand’s CRM lists of website visitors in the last three months, people who visited specific product pages (known as DPA audiences on Facebook) in the last 30 days, and cart abandoners.

Segmenting and understanding your customers based on their behavior will allow you to tailor your messaging to each audience within your CRM and reach them with the creative and deals that speak most to their needs. Audience segmentation also allows you to scale your campaigns with lookalike targeting technology.

2. Leverage lookalikes to drive prospecting

Your current customers, especially those with the highest order value, will be pivotal to your remarketing, lower-funnel efforts this holiday season, but brands can’t stop there. You need to start prospecting and nurturing new customers over the winter holidays when people are more likely than ever to make a purchase from a new brand. Lookalike targeting products allow you to not only reach your customers on a variety of platforms, but to find people similar to them. Marketers can upload their CRM list or a list of people who have engaged with their ads and then create new audiences of people who resemble the audience in question.

As you can expect, the quality of your lookalike audience (as measured by propensity to make a purchase) is a direct result of the quality of your seed audience. If you build a lookalike off your highest value customers, then the algorithms of the digital platform you use will find high-quality prospects. If you build a lookalike off a list of people who “liked” your brand on Facebook, then this audience will be less likely to convert off your ads. During a recent online sales campaign on Facebook, SocialCode drove 2x higher ROAS for a retail client when targeting lookalikes of the brand’s known high-value customers, compared to when targeting lookalikes of homepage visitors, male shoppers and online purchasers.


3. Stay ahead of ad auction surges

Competition intensifies as every major retailer bids for limited inventory on digital platforms during the winter holidays. This flooding of competition is reflected in ad-serving costs. Brands should expect ad auction costs to inflate 20-40% this holiday season. In 2016, SocialCode retail clients advertising on Facebook and Instagram saw a 40% increase in CPMs on Black Friday. The cost of serving ads during the holidays peaked on Cyber Monday, when CPMs increased by 80% compared to CPMs in October. However, the increase in advertising costs over the holidays is worth it, as brands consistently see higher-than-average conversion rates. One of SocialCode’s largest retail clients saw a 25% increase in conversion rates and 33% increase in return on ad spend in November 2016 of last year.

To drive efficiency and balance rising costs, SocialCode recommends launching holiday awareness campaigns in early to mid-November to take advantage of efficient inventory costs before competition increases. To drive consideration, brands should increase spend during Thanksgiving week, targeting early shoppers with teasers/smaller deals and building retargeting audiences for peak days before CPMs spike. During Black Friday, Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday, brands should make their highest holiday investments to retarget audiences and drive conversions at scale. Market efficiencies open up again in December as CPMs level off, but they increase again closer to Christmas, when last days for standard and rush shipping approach. But December doesn’t mark the end of your holiday campaign. In fact, your brand would be missing out by not catching eager January shoppers with post-holiday promotions. According to Facebook, 46% of users say they shop in January to take advantage of additional holiday sales, and the National Retail Federation says 65% of shoppers plan to keep shopping after Christmas.

Contact us if you’d like to learn how SocialCode can help you drive business results this holiday season.