Tis the Season for Programmatic Media Buying: Digilant Releases Holiday Shopping Insights Report

Boston – November 1, 2018  Today, Digilant, a programmatic media buying services company, released a holiday shopping report that presents noteworthy data and insights on consumer retail behavior. This holiday season advertisers and media buyers need to make informed and strategic decisions that yield increased returns on digital ad spend, and Digilant wants to help.

As shoppers prepare for gatherings and gift giving, marketers can benefit  from campaigns that reflect the evolving purchase locations and behaviors of digital consumers. Although consumers are expected to spend an average of $803 between Black Friday (Nov. 23) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 26), it’s important to keep in mind that the 2018 holiday season features the longest possible shopping calendar of 33 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. With more time for shoppers to research and make last-minute purchases, shrewd advertisers will be managing media buying campaigns well beyond Thanksgiving Weekend to take full advantage of this year’s predicted 15.3% increase in Holiday eCommerce sales that will last through the end of December.

Highlights From Digilant’s Holiday Shopping Insights Report

  • With the rise of online and in-store deals throughout the holiday season, Black Friday’s prominence is diminishing and more people are beginning to shop on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Mobile and in-app transactions will account for 50% of all 2018 holiday sales.
  • 75% of shoppers start online whether or not they end up converting there or in-store.
  • Emerging technologies, such as blockchain, will begin to shape more flexible loyalty rewards programs for retail consumers.

Download the full report here.

Who’s Buying?

As the year comes to a close, consumers hold a positive economic outlook and plan to express their optimism by spending their disposable income. Deloitte reports that 78% of consumers plan to spend the same amount or more as they did last year on holiday shopping.

Although many are expected to head to department stores and log onto their favorite brand’s sites to find deals and grab gifts, this year’s shopping will lean slightly heavier towards females (51%) and will continue to shift away from Baby Boomers and towards Gen X and Millennials, who combined, compose nearly two thirds of all holiday shoppers (64%).

Amazon’s Role in Online Holiday Shopping

As consumers look where to purchase gifts, online shoppers have made their preference for Amazon clear. 2017 was a huge year for e-commerce giant, taking 4th place for US display ad buying and coming in as the number one e-retail provider for holiday shoppers. As of December 2017, Amazon reached over 183 million unique visitors a month according to Statista and had accounted for 37.53% of all U.S. e-retail sales. During the 2018 holiday shopping season, their reach will continue its ascent and digital marketers should take note of the opportunity it could present.

Even brands that do not plan to sell their products on Amazon can benefit from its immense and constantly growing retail data, as approximately half of all product searches start on Amazon.

How to Use Digilant Holiday Shopping Report for Smarter Media Buying?

It’s key for brands to align their ad buying strategies and creatives with the increasingly multichannel behaviors of their target audiences.

A few tips to optimize your 2018 holiday media buying campaigns:

  • Define your Attribution Model: Holiday Shopping means multichannel madness, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re appropriately measuring the impact of every channel through which your brand advertises so that you can gain valuable first-party insights for future campaigns.
  • Leverage Geolocation for Competitive Conquesting: The separation between the online and offline customer experience is becoming increasingly blurred. As shoppers travel with their devices to brick-and-mortar stores, consider targeting users who have visited your competitors’ locations.
  • Invest in Search: 76% of shoppers change their mind after researching an alternative product, so bidding on competitive keywords is essential to keep your brand top of mind.
  • Diversify your Inventory: As mobile increasingly becomes the go-to channel for researching and purchasing gifts and engagement rates skyrocket with video, try combining the two with mobile video to lift holiday conversions.

In a digital ecosystem where media buyers have to navigate more platforms, technologies, walled gardens, and nuances in consumer behavior, it is essential to take a holistic approach to execute effective campaigns during the 2018 holiday season. Digilant is here to help marketers take the first step. Download the entire Holiday Shopping Insights Report on Digilant’s website here.

About Digilant

Digilant is a programmatic buying company, designed for both agencies and brands. We connect people and technology to create a perfect blend of strategy, insight and efficiency that will elevate any marketing team to find massive success. We also support advertisers who are moving towards programmatic self-sufficiency by aligning with and training them on the right set of programmatic platforms and technologies.

Using MAIA – Marketing, Artificial Intelligence and Analytics – the harmonious combination of machine power and human expertise behind all things DIGILANT, we intelligently navigate massive data sets. MAIA enables marketers to use data as a currency to generate more efficient media buys, make better informed decisions, optimize and drive performance across all digital channels and campaigns.

Digilant is an ispDigital Group Company.  For more information, visit us at www.digilant.com, read our blog or follow us on Twitter @Digilant_US.

2018 Holiday Shopper Insights Infographic – Part 2

At Digilant we are getting into the holiday spirit, and want everyone else to join us.  We have put together an infographic and report that gives predictions and highlights trends around consumer behavior for the 2018 holiday shopping season. This report will help advertisers and media buyers gain additional insights for their digital marketing strategies.
Every year it seems as though the holiday sales and promotions start earlier, spending increases and people shift their purchase locations and behavior. All these changes at such an essential part of the year can become overwhelming. Digilant has outlined all the 2018 holiday shopping predictions – from when people are shopping, how to reach them on mobile and how Ecommerce powerhouse Amazon is going to affect this year’s sales and advertising for other retails.

Download the infographic here.

Online Shopping Habits

Online shopping has completely changed everyone’s perception of the purchasing process. Online shopping continues to evolve making it essential for advertisers and marketers to understand the latest trends for each holiday season.  In 2017, between the months of November and December consumers spent $108.15 billion online alone. Consumers also spent more than $1 billion online within the 58 days of these two months; a significant increase from the year before. This year, there is the most days possible between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 33 days, making it essential for advertisers to effectively use everyday of the holiday season.

According to digialcommerce360, advertisers should focus their efforts on the “Cyber 5 stretch”, the days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. These days are key to driving incremental holiday dollars. They also stated that 12% of online visits and 14% of transactions for the entire holiday season occurred the week before Christmas. This makes it essential for advertisers to continue their advertising and messaging throughout the entire season as well as make sure that they are targeting the right person in the right place, when they are ready to buy.  

Amazon is a DSP platform to consider when planning your holiday media spend. Last year, the online marketplace accounted to 37.53% of total U.S. e-retail sales from November-December. They have dominated online shopping during the holiday season, with expected increases this year – Amazon signs up approximately 200,000 new Prime members per month.

Amazon has not only been successful in dominating the online shopping space, but has also taken attention away from search engines. About half of all product searches now start on Amazon. Their success is not expected to slow down anytime soon; in fact, Amazon is expected to generate 50% of all ecommerce sales by 2021. Sellers on Amazon also benefit from the tools put in place by the marketplace to stand out in the clutter of purchasing possibilities.
If their domination over the holiday season was not impressive enough, this year, Amazon is expanding their product offerings to include full-size fir trees – of course, delivered right to your door. They are not the first brand to start doing so, but such a large scale company selling trees is sure to get consumer attention. This leap by Amazon will elevate their potential for even more growth during the holiday season.

Beyond having product offerings on Amazon, gaining consumer attention through their advertising is essential.  Digilant offers Amazon marketing solutions to help clients optimize digital advertising ROI and capitalize on new opportunities that the rapidly growing Amazon advertising platform affords. Reach out to us here to learn more about our Amazon offering.

Want more? Check out part 3 of our Holiday Shopping Insights series here.

2018 Holiday Shopper Insights Infographic – Part 1

At Digilant we are getting into the holiday spirit, and want everyone else to join us.  We have put together an infographic and report that gives predictions and highlights trends around consumer behavior for the 2018 holiday shopping season. This report will help advertisers and media buyers gain additional insights for their digital marketing strategies.

Every year it seems as though the holiday sales and promotions start earlier, spending increases and people shift their purchase locations and behavior. All these changes at such an essential part of the year can become overwhelming. Digilant has outlined all the 2018 holiday shopping predictions – from when people are shopping, how to reach them on mobile and how Ecommerce powerhouse Amazon is going to affect this year’s sales and advertising for other retails.

Download the infographic here.

Who Will You See Spending This Season?

Last year, the National Retail Federation reported $691.1 billion in consumer spending. With this much opportunity, it is essential for advertisers to understand the shoppers – who’s shopping, when they’re shopping and where they are making purchases. Having a strong grasp of this information, enables advertisers and media planners to use programmatic tactics that will drive sales sales.

Who’s Shopping?

There are slightly more women than men that will be shopping this year. Within this group of shoppers, nearly half (47%) of shoppers fall between the ages of 25 and 44. There are a multiple reasons that this age range is dominating shopping this season, however the popularity in toys is greatly influencing this demographic. Obviously toys have always been a gift-favorite, however last year the toy category had  highest conversion lift during the holiday season, with a 605% increase. People in this age demographic are purchasing toys with video games included, for themselves, their significant others or their children. It is important for advertisers to not only look at demographics during the holiday season, people’s searches and research for products may not only be for themselves, but other people. Expanding advertising beyond the general demographics can be a successful tactic to explore during the holidays. 

When Are They Shopping?

As stated above, it seems as though the holiday season starts earlier every year. This year will be no different, as Black Friday is projected to dominate the shopping timeline, as the day with both the highest sales and highest online traffic. However, Thanksgiving has become a very popular day for people to shop, so much so that Thanksgiving now sees more revenue than Cyber Monday. Surprisingly, in 2017, Thanksgiving saw the highest day of mobile sales of the season, at $624 million and the highest order value. This season has the most possible days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. With a longer timeline than usual, advertisers need a detailed, organized, reliable plan to ensure that the season has no advertising blemishes. Even though the days around Thanksgiving see a significant amount of shopping, 32% of people continue their holiday shopping into December, creating an entire holiday season of opportunities.

Where Are They Shopping?

Online and traditional retailers will again be the two most popular places for shoppers to make purchases this season. It is essential for advertisers to track both consumer journey paths and how they cross with one another. This will ensure that advertisers are reaching consumers at the right moment, propelling them to a purchase decision.

Digilant combines both people and technology to create a perfect blend of strategy and insight for advertisers. We create efficiencies in media buying, enabling marketers to use data as a currency to make better informed decisions, optimize and drive performance across all digital channels and campaigns. Interested in learning more? Reach out to us here.

Want more? Check out part 2 of our Holiday Shopping Insights series here.

2018 Holiday Shopper Insights with Media Planning Infographic

Fall is upon us and family and friends are preparing for gatherings and gift giving, which means marketers need to prepare to launch effective digital media buying campaigns that maximize ROAS during the 2018 Holiday Season. eMarketer predicts that Holiday eCommerce sales will increase by 15.3% from last year and advertisers need to be aware of the evolving purchase locations and behaviors of digital consumers to take advantage of this annual spike in retail spending.

Your Guide to the 2018 Winter Holiday Season

Digilant’s Global Analytics team, combined industry consumer data together with intelligence from last year’s media buying trends and campaign performance results, to determine best practices for advertisers ramping up their 2018 Winter Holiday digital media campaigns.   In this infographic, you’ll learn:

  • Consumer shopping patterns during Thanksgiving weekend
  • Consumer media consumption and research methods during this same weekend
  • Key dates for media spend and online shopper conversions
  • How to better reach your target audience using geolocation and other advanced tactics this winter season?
  • How to best leverage walled-gardens like Amazon to drive conversions during peak online shopping days?

Download the COMPLETE HOLIDAY SHOPPER INSIGHTS INFOGRAPHIC to uncover insights to kick-start your Holiday Media Planning!


Defining the Impact of Programmatic Buzzwords over Brews In Kansas City: AI, Blockchain, Attribution, & More

On Wednesday, October 3rd I attended Digilant’s gathering of digital marketers at Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City for a lunch panel around the topic of “Defining the Impact of Programmatic Advertising Buzzwords.”

While guests tasted a variety of brews and ate a delicious lunch, CEO of Digilant, Raquel Rosenthal, moderated a panel with:

–       Claire Bishop, VP of Marketing & Engagement at Children International
–       Carrie Gill, Digital Media Supervisor at InTouch Solutions
–       Beau White, Digital Commerce Lead at MARS

Below is my summary of the events.  This is my version of the events and is not word for word of what was said nor is it my opinion of what was said.

The event kicked off with the following question:

What digital buzzwords and shifts that have been trending in the industry this year, such as Transparency, Attribution, In-Housing, Influencer Marketing, etc. do you see having a big impact on your 2019 marketing budgets?

Claire Bishop was the first to answer by saying that attribution is critically important to them as a brand that uses multiple channels for acquisition. Children International is a child and youth development organization and their primary fundraising model is child sponsorship. It’s a very effective model with monthly continuity and in effect they have a loyalty marketing program. Attribution and having as much visibility as possible into the channels driving acquisition value for them has been important since she joined the organization three years ago.

It was of even greater importance when she was on the agency side working for travel clients, because of the significant LTV of the acquisitions. You don’t want to make decisions on the last touch model, you want to understand your attribution among the different channels. It’s not one of the things they nailed, so they just selected a new agency and part of the decision was based on the attribution partner that they have, Visual IQ. They have, as many clients do, a ton of data and data issues.  As they plug this together, digital display, search, social, native and some offline channels that they are using, they will really be able to draw a more complete picture through attribution.

Influencer marketing, is also a very big buzzword for them.  With charitable giving, people want to have a sense that this is a credible and transparent organization.  Most of the time they are not making a decision on their first encounter with the organization, so they want to create warm leads and leverage referrals from influencers that are credible to the audience to move them down the funnel. This can lower acquisition costs and create affinity and credibility off the bat.

Carrie Gill was next to answer this question.  Her company is in the pharmaceutical space and they tend to be more cautious in adopting new technologies, however, attribution is important because they really need to understand how everything makes a impact. How does one consumer journey differ from the others? She works from a really unique perspective where she can have two drugs in the market that treat the same disease, so attribution is really important to understand how one consumer journey is really different from another to eliminate cannibalization across brands. It seems somewhat shocking, but digital influencers are trending in pharmaceuticals, they are looking to activate it for some of their brands. People like first person opinion and knowledge.  From an efficiency standpoint, it’s going to be very important for them because people are talking about the efficiencies in programmatic media buying. Lifetime value is very high, so are they always have to ask if they’re putting in enough to get the return that they need to make social a more efficient channel.

Beau White chimed to say that Mars Wrigley will be challenged to reach the same online share as offline. For them, in ice cream, they have to achieve higher share online than offline, because new market entrants are small companies that can easily create products. These competitors don’t have to worry about the same financials as big companies like his. The walls are coming down and they can be very fluid with their budgets. At Mars ice cream they spend a lot of time setting expectations from a budget perspective, with all the buckets that he needs to spend money needing to be clearly laid out, but he will likely come back and want to switch it around. Influencer marketing in the cosmetics industry as a whole category is moving online and large stores will begin to remove their cosmetic departments altogether.

Raquel then joined that conversation to say that what Beau had just said was quite true. For example, Mac by Estee Lauder is coming up against new brands that have no overhead, go online and do a video on YouTube and especially if they are a big star, they can take market share away from a big brand like Estee Lauder. This is a real challenge; the large companies have to rethink how they are doing business to deal with this changing landscape. She thinks that is the social influencer marketing that they are talking about.

Moving on to a different topic –  as more marketing teams move towards an omnichannel approach to improve the customer experience, people also want their programmatic partners to be omnichannel. What has changed for you in your company based on breaking away from the marketing channel silos and being more holistic in your approach?

For Claire she said that nonprofits focus on many offline channels; while digital is an important part of the mix it’s not the entirety of what they are doing. Children International has a full production facility at their headquarters for direct mail.  It might be more expensive, but it is still viable. We are printing out a vast amount of direct mail not only to prospects, but also to lapsed clients. Being able to tie the direct mail to the digital that they are doing is a new frontier they’ve embarked on since she joined. Just recently they performed several tests in which they tied IP addresses and home addresses, so when prospects receive direct mail they also receive social and native ads on mobile devices from partners like Digilant. They like to think of this as the 360-degree view.

For things like ice cream it might be a more immediate decision, but there is a long lead time to make decisions for big things like child sponsorship. It’s a big commitment and therefore they need to permeate the consumer experience through multiple touch points. Consumer journey mapping and omnichannel approach are tightly interwoven for them because they want to understand at what the micro-moments people are making the decision to sponsor. People might have encountered Children International at an event with one of their favorite performers and then they saw an ad geo-targeted to their mobile device, so they are starting to consider them as an organization but need to validate their decision to give. Claire has to then consider what kind of experience they can give consumers on their website to get them in that state of mind. Being smart about the way their consumers are using media to support their decision for this process and providing relevant information about that process ultimately drives what content is distributed across their channels.

Carrie answered this question by saying that historically when they looked at a demand side platform (DSP) they siloed it as a display only channel. Everyone is now looking for DSPs that can offer more turnkey optimizations. DSPs can actually be a great source for starting an omnichannel approach. Channels are planned in silos, because that’s just historically how it’s been done, but sometimes these channels are not even working towards the same objective. She thinks people just need to get in a room and make sure they are working towards the same goal, something that sounds simple, but they are still working through it. They have had different CTAs and goals across an array of channels, so now they just have to make sure that they are working in unison towards the same goal.

Beau responded by saying that they are looking at omnichannel, but his marketing department deals with the majority of it. In digital commerce, people are focused on shopping, so they need to make sure that their customers are aware of the omnichannel experience. Consumers can’t just be familiar with the brick and mortar experience, so Mars needs to look at its content, create context, use shopper marketing, and ultimately find a way to take in-store activity and activate online. From a consumer’s perspective, it’s an impulsive category. Over the course of the day people are constantly being interrupted with messages from brands, so they have to be very consistent with their message so when they come by their product, they’ve seen it a bunch of times and will hopefully choose them over the competitor.

Raquel wrapped up the question by saying that a lot of agencies that Digilant works with have gone from a siloed approach to an omnichannel approach. They’re integrating teams and bringing offline together with online as way to embrace the new omnichannel environment, and in the case of certain brands, even hiring for customer experience roles so that they can integrate the different experiences across the brand, which used to be a CMO’s responsibility but now can go either way.

Can any of you talk to the role of customer experience?

Claire said that customer experience is a huge thing for them. At the top of their priority list at the beginning of 2018, they identified that they needed to develop the capability to map the consumer experience and then to deliver and execute a really integrated and cohesive experience across multiple touchpoints in their organization.  Being able to identify the journey and being able to execute on it well are two different things. The first step in achieving successful execution was their capability roadmap which required technology and expertise to support it in their organization. They re-launched their website in 2016 allowing for the ability to integrate multiple inputs and data points, relying on their CRM provider to make sure everything is captured so that they can begin thinking about a more holistic customer journey.  

A major takeaway for her from a recent CEB event about personalization – cast vision and get buy-in from the technology and the experience that is needed in order to stand this capability up. Personalization is useful to consumers when it’s helpful to them, so if you are not helping but know a consumer’s name it is not doing anything for them. If you are not making their experience any easier in any way, then you’re actually hurting your brand because it takes away from what you are doing. Depending on what kind of brand you are, help can take shape in different forms. Help me save money, help me be fulfilled as a giver, help me validate my decision, help me communicate to my spouse, etc. Those are some of the things Children International thinks about in the consumer journey.  The name and demographics are less important than what they are trying to accomplish in that moment. If they can pinpoint those micro touch points and deliver something of value that truly helps consumers do what they are trying to do it can lift affinity, that relationship between the consumer and the brand.

Carrie had a recent example of personalization her agency is currently working through. They’re trying to reach an extremely targeted and generally cautious audience, so they’ve developed an AI driven banner bot that adds value to the consumer. It asks people about their symptoms, if they are experiencing relapses, and provides some more information about how to treat them. Users are looking for a different relationship with brands beyond get more information from them, they can do that anywhere. AI is a real world thing, it is happening. The pharmaceutical brands she works with want true meaningful engagement with consumers and they want to establish a lifelong affinity to their drug with them by using a solid value proposition and serving as partner in their conversations surrounding the decision making process.

Beau said that for customer experience they are in an interesting spot because they are influencing without authority. They partner with different retailers who have different websites, so rather than focusing on personalization, they are focusing on consumer journey. One of the things they see and do a lot of work on in brick and mortar is understanding needs, states, and motives of shoppers through the consumer journey. Everyone knows that 95% of search starts in the search bar, so they do spend a lot of time looking at how customers set their websites up.  How easy it is for people to find the categories they need and add items to their cart. They evaluated that and partners with different retailers to optimize that. They don’t have their own site but they do spend a lot of time making sure they are on top of the consumer journey.

There are different types of personalization on a website like CMS, content, colors, DCO but specifically what were you talking about Claire?

Claire said that Children International is really focused on the website and the digital experience, linking up all the data points between social and email to deliver the best experience. DCO is hugely relevant for them as well, especially in the digital ad space where you can get access to info for whatever on your website you can’t plug into.  Being able to use and access that and use that information and then serve relevant info is important as well.

Attribution: For your organization, does attribution happen at the client level or the agency level or both? If you are investing in attribution which platforms are you investing in? Have the recent changes made by walled garden platforms like Google and Facebook impacted your attribution?

Carrie started by saying that they are partnering with C3 for their clients, because they have a heavy digital focus. Additionally, they talk to partners like Visual IQ that are great if you have broadcast spends or if you have offline metrics to pull in.  Attribution has to have buy-in from both the agency and the clients. Before introducing these partners, most clients didn’t really understand attribution, but most of them thought they had it because they saw reporting so they had to sell attribution to our clients and they importance, especially from a franchise perspective how one brand can support the other.  Biggest conversation that we have with our client, who should own attribution, they day to day management of it. They think it should be owned by an analytics team. Ongoing conversation they have that it’s important to have someone in there to analyze the patterns of what is changing. One of the opportunities that they have with pharma clients is often clients come to them in Q4 with incremental spend one thing we hope to achieve is that we want to show them which channel is converting faster.

Claire responded that for them agencies are viewed as the resource to help them inform their approach, measurement as a whole and attribution specifically. She hopes that clients have gotten smarter over the years and are coming to the table with agency partners prepared to have a meaningful discussion about attribution. Client has to buy into the formulas and the models you being created. Every client is so unique, like snowflakes, and they have to understand the data and strategies that are represented in an attribution model. Data is should be married to individuals with brains in their heads. Her experience with folks like Digilant is that they have the data and the tools but also the people that know the data really well. Individuals that bring human perspective, to help ingest the data and iterate towards the ideal attribution model. It takes smart data, AI, tools and algorithms but also really smart people who are committed to digging into that data.

Raquel said that she has been hearing about measurement and attribution in the market quite a bit. Digilant always felt that data and analytics are important, and we’ve had account managers to dig into data for clients and give them the insights. As the market evolves, more and more clients want this service to understand their data and insights.

Carrie responded that we talk about big data and data all the time, but what is more critical is how we apply the data and insights and you need to have the right people to adjust it and really dig into it the data is lost and a mute point.

So does anyone have an opinion on walled gardens?

Beau touched upon Amazon, saying that it is interesting for Mars. Amazon perceives itself really as a media agency, they really see themselves as the biggest media agency and they think you should invest all your media dollars in them. 55% of all searches start on Amazon, but why would you give the biggest retailer all of your ad dollars?

Raquel added that Estee Lauder didn’t want to be associated with Amazon because they didn’t think it worked in their favor as a luxury beauty brand, but the traffic is there and they can’t avoid it.

According to Claire, recent trends, especially with Facebook have cracked that walled garden shell. GDPR is exposing them to the needs consumers have on how their data is being used; they want to understand it. As marketers, they are doing what they can to understand how their data is being used. Demanding more transparency for their ad dollars at stake is crucial. She concluded by stating that if we work together as an industry to create a unified set of demands and make those real we might be able to get somewhere.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our event or took the time to read this summary. Stay tuned for next year’s calendar of Digilant events.

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