Chris "Coz" Costello, Senior Director of Marketing Research @ Kenshoo
New from ClickZ, in partnership with Kenshoo, is the Digital Advertising Trends for the 2018 Holiday Season white paper, a comprehensive report based on a survey of more than 300 marketers identifying specifically where brands will be spending, how this spending differs from last year’s, and what new media formats are being utilized.
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The holiday season is upon us!
For most people, this is when we spend time with our families, reflect on the past year, and eat eat eat. But for marketers, this is one of the most stressful and crucial times of the year. Q4 can be the make or break quarter that can determine if a year is successful or a failure.
By now, all of your holiday planning is done and it’s all about execution mode. But, before we get into the biggest shopping days of the year, you might want to check out how your peers are reporting their plans to see how your efforts align with the industry trends.
It doesn’t mean you need to change everything…but you might find some nice nuggets of research in the new Digital Advertising Trends: 2018 Holiday Season report that could help you with some final campaign and budget tweaks that could have a positive impact on your quarter.
At a time that can make or break a company’s year, advertisers are understandably standing by what worked for them last year. 78% of responding brands will run ads via Google Search, while 72% will invest in Facebook ads. That said, new opportunities still arise within these platforms. Search advertisers are shifting more budget towards remarketing and audience-based targeting, while visual search continues to emerge.
50% of brands advertising on Facebook over the holidays will increase their budget from 2017, and just 8% plan to spend less. 45% of all responding brands will spend on Instagram ads. Of those who spend on Instagram, an overwhelming 94% will also run ads on Facebook. The Facebook / Instagram coverage of the social landscape is compelling for both users and advertisers.
Where search may once have been viewed as the core sales driver and social the queen of engagement, advertisers now see both as vital components of an acquisition strategy. 36% say their conversion goals will be the driving force behind their social strategy this holiday season, compared to 30% for search strategies. The interplay between the two will help advertisers both create and capture demand.
Brands who plan to run Amazon ads will dedicate 21% of the overall budget to this channel, second only to Google Search at 33%. Moreover, 82% of these advertisers will create Christmas-specific campaigns, and 67% will run dedicated campaigns for Black Friday. For retailers in particular, holiday advertising means investing in Amazon this year.
Of the new advertising opportunities available in 2018, advertisers are gravitating towards Facebook Stories (38% will invest in this format) and Instagram Stories (37%). Facebook has long extolled the virtues of Stories and advertisers appear to be listening. The possibilities are not lost on our survey respondents, many of whom view new ways to tell stories as the key to connecting with consumers in the coming months and years.
Although advertisers may be drawn to conservatism at such a pivotal time of year, many are still leaving room in their plans to try something completely new. This is notable among brands with annual digital marketing budgets of $5 million or more, 19% of this subset will spend on Pinterest, compared to 9% of brands in the full survey set. Nonetheless, some smaller advertisers say they will set aside “roughly 10%” of their budget to try to go where their audience is active and their competitors are not.
73% of responding brands believe mobile will be “more important” or “much more important” than desktop for sales this holiday season. Just 10% believe desktop will be the primary device for sales. However, these purchasing patterns are affected by numerous factors including time of day, item price, and product category. Savvy advertisers will pace their budgets accordingly and look into their data before prioritizing one device over another.
Last year’s performance data offers vital insight into how this year will go, but it offers no guarantees that the same series of events will occur. Advertisers need to look beyond their analytics dashboards to understand the current climate and project how it will affect consumers. Next, they must use the right technology to respond to real-time increases in impressions across platforms and devices. This precise and agile approach will allow brands to maximize the sales potential of such a crucial period.
Have a happy holiday season!
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