Online Marketing for the Holiday Season 2012

The holidays are almost here!    Yes, it’s early October but before we blink it will be that time of year.

Google forecasts over $540 billion in holiday sales for 2012, a record for eCommerce revenue.  The competition for online holiday shopping continues to increase as more organizations focus on web sales and vie to capture these new dollars.  This means that whether you are an eCommerce-only enterprise, or a brick-and-mortar store selling on the web, you need to get ready for the holiday season.

October 31, 2012 is an important date.   Why October 31st?  Well, a recent study from Google indicated that 40% of all consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween.   The study also showed that Internet users continue their online holiday shopping well after the holidays are actually over (In 2011, 10% of Internet users finished shopping after Christmas and those numbers are expected to increase in 2012).

With this in mind, start your holiday planning now by developing a 2-3 month online marketing campaign that spans from October 31st and into the New Year.

Consider your audience

Google forecasts an average consumer will spend $732 during this holiday season, a 4% increase from 2011.   These consumers have high expectations and demands when shopping online.  Take a look at these statistics:

  • 55% of online shoppers expect Free Shipping
  • 37% expect coupons/discounts for holiday shopping, and
  • 59% of consumers indicated they would actually cancel their purchase if they were not offered free shipping during checkout (this is especially true for the ‘post-holiday’ shoppers)

While online shoppers are certainly “a demanding bunch”, they are also “on the move”.  Online shoppers will be purchasing from all devices (PC, Laptop, Mobile Device, or Tablet) this year. This means your marketing campaign has to be specifically targeted to reach your customers where they are shopping.   In 2012, more than 25% of shoppers used more than one device to make a purchase and a mobile device initiated nearly 15% of all online interactions for retailers in 2011.

Conclusions

It is essential that you adapt your online marketing strategy to account for the changing landscape during the upcoming 2012 holiday season.  Remember these key points:

  1. Start planning now!  October 31st is right around the corner.
  2. As competition increases during the holidays, you need to monitor your budget closely.   Most retailers spend 50% of their online budget during this period so you must increase your ad spend to handle the surge in online traffic and do not “cap out” which will result in lost opportunities to capture sales during the critical shopping times (i.e. end of day).
  3. Make certain to have strong “calls to action” in your ads that speak to the holiday consumer and meet the expectations of shoppers looking for simple purchasing and online deals.
  4. Prepare your campaigns for every device.  Set-up new campaigns that target mobile and tablet users.   This is a key for every campaign today, not just the holidays.  Additionally, make sure you have a mobile-friendly website to provide the best shopping experience for every customer.

The holidays are coming fast – so get moving!

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