#KatanaTalks on Twitter Live: Holiday Marketing Overview

An image of a person holding a brown shopping bag, with red and back shoes, designer outfit. First installment of #katanatalks.

Yesterday, we kicked off our new Twitter Live series #KatanaTalks, in which we sit down with the experts to talk about all things marketing: from tips and tricks to industry news and insights. With the holidays right around the corner, Executive chairman Andreas Roell spoke with Laura Wustoff, Katana’s Associate Media Director and Chris Dyer, Director of Client Services, about best practices for optimizing holiday marketing campaigns with programmatic.

The holiday season is typically quite saturated with ad campaigns from brands trying to capture new customers for one-time holiday shopping deals. Marketers have a limited window of only two months to make an impression, and face two prominent challenges: how to optimize campaigns considering timeline and budget, and crafting effective creative strategy to use for paid media and paid search campaigns. Lauren and Chris had some helpful recommendations for retailers and agencies gearing up for the holiday season, and we’ve compiled a quick overview of their key insights below.

Highlights: Budgeting and Planning with Chris Dyer

  • Don’t underestimate the holiday rush; your employees are likely to take PTO right when campaigns are under heightened pressure to succeed. We recommend beginning your planning months ahead of the season— by planning early, you won’t be scrambling to figure out your campaign strategy, and you’ll also have ample time to build and automate your retargeting pool.
  • Use Gantt charts in Excel to maintain an organized project timeline. What we love about this tool: it automatically changes dates of all deliverables in your project plan, so that you don’t have to do it manually each time. Great time-saver!
  • During the holidays, there is a higher overall demand for e-commerce, so we take this into consideration before we finalize the budget. If the demand increases, so does our budget.
  • Don’t skimp on budget; if you are not funneling as much money into your advertising budget as your competitors, you will be forgotten!
  • Before you finalize your strategy, make sure your holiday budget also accommodates testing different ad copy and keyword bids. This will definitely raise your budget, but it’s not a step we recommend skipping, as it could be the difference of a significant profit margin.

Highlights: Media Strategy with Laura Wusthoff (follow along @10:00)

  • Use testing to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Run different versions of your ads, sampling different fonts and visuals for effectiveness. Also, use A/B testing and PPC testing to test the effectiveness of both your landing pages and keywords in your paid search campaign.
    • Example: Katana had a high-end client that used low-funnel keywords (i.e. keywords used to target customers who are on the brink of buying) like “discount” in their promotion packages. This tactic works best for brands with customers that need an extra incentivized push before converting— but it doesn’t work as well for a higher-end brand that has customers with disposable income. Those customers aren’t as likely to be enticed by incentives. So in this case, testing their ad copy with and without the word “discount” revealed that offering a lower price was not only ineffective, but it reduced the prestige of their products. This testing was an extra step, but a necessary one.
  • E-commerce shopping typically peaks during the first week of December, so give your ads a boost during this time by using low- and mid-funnel keywords.
    • Good keyword examples: discount, coupon, buy now, promo code
  • Do a demographic analysis of your consumer base and increase your bids according to your strongest targets.
  • Prime your audience before Thanksgiving. Run ads for upcoming products launches so that they are more prepared to purchase when the time comes.

Main Takeaways:

  • Build an organized and detailed timeline of your ad campaigns specifically for the holidays, at least two months ahead of Thanksgiving.
  • Use good project management tools to ensure deadlines/deadline adjustments flow seamlessly.
  • Increase your holiday budget to maintain a strong, competitive online presence.
  • Test, test, test. Try out different keywords, landing pages, images, ad copy, and targeting categories. Include this into your budget so that you are ready to execute to your key audience by the time it is November-December.
  • Peak traffic time is the first week of December, though this varies depending on your brand.
  • Do thorough research on your audience demographics.

Audience exclusion: Do research into the audience you don’t want to target as well, so that you can differentiate messages you craft for your past customers vs. new customers.

Want to watch the Live session? Watch below!

Do you have questions for the experts about your upcoming holiday campaigns? Mention us on Twitter @katana_media and we’ll get back to you!