Standing Out in the Marketing Holiday Frenzy


Halloween is fast approaching, which only means one thing: The holiday shopping season is upon us! ‘Tis the season for increased revenue for many retailers, especially since Nov/Dec are often the busiest and most profitable months all year long. For brands looking to stand out during this season, I recommend that you drive holiday sales with…banner ads.
That’s not a typo.
Display advertising.
Contrary to popular belief, prospecting and retargeting campaigns are an effective method for driving online traffic. In fact, users who are retargeted with display ads are 70 percent more likely to convert1.
That being said, there’s a major difference between an effective display ad campaign and one that falls flat. Below are a few tips to help you create the former.


Look-Alike Modeling

Almost 92 percent of holiday shoppers plan to research gifts and / or make purchases online this holiday season. With almost 100 percent of holiday shoppers online, it’s an ideal time of year to reach a larger audience2. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through look-alike modeling. This audience generation tactic unearths new audiences who behave like your current customers, but haven’t purchased from you yet. By combining data on your best customers – consumer preferences, transactions, demographics and behavioral patterns – you can put together a detailed shopper profile. This profile may include preferred device, browsing activities, price affinities, price sensitivities, etc. Once you have a profile, your provider can match it with a relevant prospective audience and target these prospects with highly relevant display ads.


Look Alike Modeling


So what does a look-alike model actually look like? Let’s say a sports equipment retailer is planning a holiday sale and wants to increase online orders. A tracking pixel placed on the order confirmation page would analyze buyer behavior elsewhere across the web (all anonymous) to reveal the most common behaviors among potential customers.
Remember that it’s crucial to start with a clean, quality data set. Your look-alike models won’t be effective unless they’re based on a true representation of your best customers.


Targeting Relevant Audiences

Marketers and advertisers can now customize every aspect of their buyer’s journey to make it more relevant. Why not do that with your display advertising? While you can still allocate a small portion of your budget for general ad networks, you may want to consider allocating the majority of your budget for publishers that allow you to engage your ideal customers online. There are various ways to target depending on the network you use, including: demographic, topic, placement and keywords.
For example, if I’m a winter sports gear retailer and I wanted to target people who booked holiday ski trips, I may specify that I want my ads shown on websites that include content about Utah, Colorado or Nevada winter tourism / ski resorts, ski and snowboard apparel and other winter tourism topics because those are likely holiday ski trip topics.
Quality traffic means finding relevant prospects as those types of visitors are always more likely to convert. If you’re unsure which type of targeting is best for you, your provider will be able to recommend the best campaign strategy.


Frequency Capping

Prospects want to be pursued, not stalked. A major waste of budget in display advertising happens when ads are displayed to prospects who see them more than necessary, or too infrequently to make an impact. Unlimited ads lead to decreased CTRs which affect your overall ad rank and campaign performance. Nobody wants that. Frequency capping will minimize the potential for both overexposure and obscurity by limiting the number of ad impressions. You can set the parameters using days, months, ad group, campaign, etc., to fit your campaign needs.


Frequency Capping


Here’s a quick example. Let’s say you’re creating a campaign for a men’s winter apparel line. You create three ad groups, containing ten ads (side note: buy your copywriters and designers a glass of wine this holiday season). Then you set the frequency cap – two ads per day from each ad group. Now, users will see no more than six ads per day.
Frequency caps vary depending on your campaign goals so work with your provider to determine the best limits. Just like everything else in marketing, it’s important to test, test and test again!


Want more tips for surviving the holiday shopping craze? Join Ve Interactive for our holiday webinar series “Surviving the Holidaze” Oct. 28th at 1 p.m. EST.


1Digital Information World

2Marketing Profs

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  • Chad Waite

    “Prospects want to be pursued, not stalked.”

    Amen to that. Also, if I’ve bought a specific item for my wife, don’t retarget the item to me, especially when she’s using my computer. There needs to be much better logic in place for ending retargeted display ads after a customer has completed the purchase.