Marketers Must Master These 4 Things to Win This Record-Breaking Holidays Sales Season

December 1, 2021 — by MediaMath    

The last 18+ months have accelerated certain digital trends that will impact this holiday shopping season in a major way. Marketers must be prepared with strategies that help them stay agile and adapt. Built for this moment and the next, the MediaMath platform can help you execute your holiday campaigns with stability and flexibility in mind.

The Shopping Landscape for Holiday 2021

After more than 18 months in and out of lockdowns and quarantines, US consumers are ready to spend like they’ve never spent before this holiday season.

Even with supply chain issues, shipping delays and an uncertain economic forecast, retail and e-commerce sales are expected to reach between $1.1 trillion and $1.3 trillion in the US this Q4 shopping period according to Deloitte. This trend will extend globally: more than a quarter of Australian shoppers and more than half of UK shoppers are planning on spending more this Christmas. Download detailed holiday guides to help with campaigns in each of these markets: North America here, EMEA here and Australia here.

Call it “revenge shopping” or the YOLO economy or whatever you’d like — taking advantage of this return to pre-pandemic shopping requires a data-driven, omnichannel approach to keep your brand top of mind in the month ahead.

Find the Right Shopper as They Search for the Right Gift

The path to capturing your share of this year’s massive holiday spending begins with your own data. Onboard whatever first-party CRM data you have, such as email addresses, to target seasonal shoppers that bought last year. To reach shoppers in the research phase, target audience segments based on what they have looked at on your site or the ads with which they have engaged. You can then model out those audiences to find shoppers with the same characteristics as those who buy from you most. Keeping your audience segments fluid is key as shoppers will browse, cart and purchase rapidly. As users move in and out of segments, reach customers based on what they intend to buy and drive awareness before targeting them with specific promotions.

Whether you are activating first- or third-party data, MediaMath’s identity graph can expand the reach of audience segments in privacy-first and probabilistic ways. Utilize our identity graph to ensure you can control ad reach and frequency at a person level and extend reach to mobile devices and high-quality video this holiday season.

Keep Your “Presents” Strong Throughout the Funnel

COVID-19 has accelerated two main trends in consumer behavior: use of mobile and adoption of CTV. Mcommerce will continue to gain share of total holiday e-commerce, jumping 18.8% to $97.15 billion and accounting for 8.5% of holiday retail sales. CTV households will increase to 115.2 million by 2025, from 106.4 million in 2021.

For holiday performance-based campaigns, you want to target at the user or device level to drive performance across all OTT channels — that is where you will see conversion. CTV is designed for awareness, so you can follow up from this channel with sequential messaging to drive engagement down the purchase funnel. As holiday travel ramps up, consider emerging channels as well, such as audio or DOOH. A unique approach not to be missed this holiday season is social display, in which you can use the same social media creative across quality inventory for engagement and creative at the scale of traditional display. Advertisers using social display see 5x improvement in brand lift and consideration on average.

Here is the best breakdown of channels to pursue for each buyer stage this holiday season:

  • Awareness: OTT formats, social display, audio, mobile video, DOOH
  • Action: OTT formats, social display, online video, native, contextual, behavioral, retargeting, audio
  • Interest: Display, contextual, behavioral, retargeting, audio, social display
  • Conversion: Retargeting, display, audio

Measure True Business Outcomes

It’s critical to have a measurement strategy in place that fits your business needs, whether it’s on-site engagement, in-person footfall traffic or CTV measurement. Leverage footfall traffic data to inform attribution and Brain optimization in our platform. Automate as much as possible by utilizing MediaMath’s data connections to import your data into our platform so that campaigns can automatically optimize towards your most valuable users. Increase your media efficiency and bid accuracy by ingesting your third-party attribution data to inform optimization in our platform and have it available in data export reports. Go deeper into your supply path optimization strategies through publisher revenue reporting and working media percentage calculations.

Select Supply that Sleighs

The content your ads run on is more important than ever in this age of dis- and misinformation. Our SOURCE ecosystem is the best way to guarantee brand-safe inventory and transparency into how holiday campaigns are performing. We see advertisers committing to programmatic guaranteed, private deals and marketplaces to secure inventory across all channels that reach holiday shoppers. Additionally, targeting options via custom contextual segments help you reach valuable audiences during the holiday crunch. Check with inventory partners, especially on PMP deals, to see if they will still have available inventory as you move through the quarter. Also consider diversifying supply vendors as well as possibly moving deals to programmatic guaranteed.

A final note: If possible, attempt to extend holiday campaigns through the New Year to take advantage of lower CPMs and increased scale. This past January, there was a record-breaking number of returns for 2020 holiday gifts during what has become known as “National Returns Week.” Be prepared to attract those shoppers looking to swap out their wares for something better to put the final bow on your holiday sales performance.