Preparing Your Social Media Campaigns for the Holidays

Social Media Campaigns, advanced audience segmentation

Holiday marketers can take a page from this year’s presidential campaign, learning from the various media strategies pursued during the primaries and general election. The 2016 presidential media campaigns welcomed a new era of media strategies fortified by the efficiencies of programmatic buying, and the tenor of this year’s election unearthed the power of earned and paid media, cross-device targeting and advanced audience segmentation.

According to The National Retail Federation (NRF), there are $655.8B on the line for the upcoming 2016 holiday season, begging the question – how is your marketing strategy preparing campaigns for the holidays?

Paid Social Influencers

Social media campaigns played an influential role in the 2016 election, and this trend will continue throughout the holiday season. The eruption of paid social influencer marketing invites an unorthodox spin to earned media; earned media is traditionally minted through aggressive PR, but influencer marketing has proven to drive the same ROI as “free” earned media. Influencer marketing taps into a niche audience of social followers through partnerships with influencers who’ve organically grown loyal, authentic (and large) audiences. The conversations between an influencer and their audience nurtures an honest and intimate relationship that a brand can use to amplify or reinforce paid media placements.

Playing to Mobile

The 2016 presidential election has only reinforced the importance of shifting towards mobile as consumers demand instant access to information and content. The 2016 election rapidly adopted mobile technologies to solicit donations, target voter segments and distribute campaign advertisements, stimulating smartphone usage from 42% in the 2012 election to a projected 70% in the 2016 election. Applying this data to the holiday season, the NRF has forecasted mobile sales to increase an estimated 7-10% to as much as $117 billion, accentuating just how promising mobile advertising and branded apps will be.

Online purchases have bested in-store purchases 51% to 49%, highlighting the importance of cross-device targeting in order to convert consumers – especially in Millennials and Gen-Xers. Political advertisers have leveraged the benefits of programmatic media buying in the 2016 presidential election, successfully reaching multi-device, “always on” voters. As the holiday season quickly approaches, media strategists alike should be taking advantage of programmatic advertising’s ability to implement cross-device targeting.

Programmatic offers heightened consumer reach, and with more eyes on your ads, the creative component must be high quality and engaging. Consider implementing interactive in-stream video and rich media for mobile/desktop as part of your holiday programmatic media buying strategy.

Analyze Past Trends

Taking a cue from the 2015 holiday season, we can assume consumers will continue to spread out their holiday spending over an extended period of time (generally between September through December). Last year’s trends conveyed that online purchases climax until December 15th, the final day for stand postal service shipping. As you’re planning your holiday campaign, consider which holiday shopper you’re trying to target: the early bird, the last-minute or the belated. Practicing with advance audience segmentation will lead to better results.

Tips and Tricks from Katana Experts

“With all of the sales and promotions that occur around the holidays, it’s imperative to stand out and create a sense of urgency amongst customers. Implementing countdown paid search copy is a proven strategy for creating that sense of urgency, giving consumers a reason to go to your website. Also, retargeting customers who have purchased from your brand in the past is a good way to know that you’re targeting a highly qualified, likely-to-convert audience.” – Tyler Dushay, Katana Media Manager

The holiday season is a significantly shorter selling season than the presidential campaign, but a healthy and strategic combination of earned media, cross-device targeting and programmatic media buying can help advance consumers down the funnel. The shift to digital marketing has fostered an environment that allows marketers to track and measure online behaviors, and media strategists can use historical trends as a proxy for future holiday campaign executions.