3 Key Digital Media Consumption Trends for the 2017 Holiday Shopping Season

  • Mobile Devices

Mobile devices are now driving a boost in Thanksgiving weekend e-Commerce with more conversions now happening on phone.  People use their phones to to preview products and prices; retailers like Best Buy and Toys ‘R’ Us encourage shoppers to test the product in-store but skip the huge holiday lines and crowds by buying from their web site. It is bringing us one step closer to frictionless commerce.

Shoppers now research products on their mobile devices even earlier, with some of the largest “converted cart sizes” occurring weeks before Black Friday. Thanksgiving Day has grown into an e-Commerce holiday as some retailers are making a statement – inspired by negative consumer sentiment about stores being open on the Holiday – by being closed to allow their own staff to celebrate the day with their families. This has pushed a higher volume of shoppers online also creating a big spike in shopper activity after 4 pm on Thanksgiving, just after the average eating hours.  With these statistics in hand, digital media buyers can plan their programmatic campaigns using specific time of day targeting for their mobile campaigns, and also creating mobile specific messaging and creative for the “window shoppers” who start shopping on their commutes to and from work much before the actual Holiday.

eMarketer is predicting that digital holiday sales will increase a record 11.5 percent this year, compared to a 17-percent increase in 2016. What’s more, large traditional retailers like Walmart are trying to boost e-Commerce sales in order to compete with Amazon, possibly pushing more shoppers online.  eMarketer also predicts that an additional driver of  “e-Commerce will be the continued growth of m-Commerce sales — particularly smartphone commerce, which will rise by an estimated 57.8% in 2017 overall.”

  • Video Advertising is on the Rise

“In 2015, U.S. agency and marketing professionals said they spent, on average, $5.6 million on digital and mobile video advertising,” according to eMarketer, “A year later, they spent an average of $6.8 million, and this year [2017] they anticipate spending an average of $9.4 million.” Consumers expect content to be available in video form, with 50% of consumers who look for a video of the product before visiting the online store. Studies show that a user is 25% more likely to lose interest in retail content if it isn’t in video format. 51.9% of marketers say that video offers the best ROI (return on investment) and that consumers themselves much prefer video content to any other type.

Knowing the trend in video investment and consumption, it’s important for programmatic media buyers and marketing teams to implement platform pixels with their social and paid media buys and begin building audiences way ahead of the holidays, which can then inform the remainder of a Holiday media buying strategy.   Another tactic to consider is extending campaign durations to start way before the Holiday period. More than half of users who clicked on Cyber Weekend sales ads usually had a first touch prior to Thanksgiving, so it’s important to ensure that retargeting efforts during the 2017 Holiday Season are reaching users who may have clicked far in advance of the actual Holiday promotions.

  • Social Media Will Have a Big Impact on Gift Buying

Social media will have a real impact on what people buy for their loved ones this year. One-third of all Americans will be influenced by social this year, and 30 percent of people surveyed by Sprout Social said that they planned to post about gifts they received on social media. In addition to people posting about their presents on social, Sprout Social also predicts that the average retailer will receive more than 3,000 social messages during this holiday season–approximately 30 percent more than last year.  According to the report, 56 percent of the messages retailers receive in 2017 will require retailers to take action, a 15 percent increase compared to the 2016 holiday season. Regardless of the increased customer service type postings through platforms like Facebook and Twitter, response times and rates on social remain stubbornly low.   Brands and retailers should consider investing more heavily in resources for social customer-service efforts to keep more happy users and spenders on their site.

To find out more about when and where we predict people will be shopping this 2017 Holiday season download Digilant’s Holiday and Consumer Shopping Report.

Peaks and Valleys, Getting Ahead of Black Friday & Cyber Monday Media Buys

NRF research data tells us that more than 50% of holiday shoppers start researching gift ideas in October or earlier, so when planning your media spend for Black Friday and Cyber Monday it’s important to plan ahead and start early.  Some retailers start leaking their Black Friday promotions in October! The big spike in Black Friday ads that consumers usually keep their eyes on starts at the beginning of November. Last year retailers such as Best BuyWalmart, and Target all leaked their promotions on November 9th.  Knowing when consumers are going to begin their search for Black Friday deals is key for making smart decisions about when and where to target media spend.

2016 A Record Year for Black Friday Spend and Traffic

In 2016, online retailers experienced a huge traffic peak on Black Friday, with 220% more sessions than an average shopping day. And even with the additional discounts, Black Friday sales still totaled $3.34 billion spent online (a 21.6% increase from 2016 spend).  Cyber Monday sales in 2016 also broke records, bringing in $3.25 billion and a 155% traffic increase becoming the biggest day in the history of U.S. ecommerce.  These numbers are inclusive of the top retailers like Walmart and Amazon, but plenty of smaller businesses also benefited.

Knowing the peaks and valleys of last year’s retail calendar and traffic is key in creating the right media plan for the 2017 holiday season.  With more Americans spending time browsing for retail items on their phones it is also important to factor in mobile creative and spend into a media plan; as most people will shop around on their devices, and either make a purchase, or move to their laptops and desktops to checkout.

To find out more about when and where we predict people will be shopping this 2017 Holiday season download Digilant’s Holiday and Consumer Shopping Report.

Insights on How to Pace Your Holiday Media Budget

More and more Americans plan to get an early start on their holiday shopping. And they also plan on spending more.  The big question for advertisers and media buyers is when?  Figuring out how to pace your media buys to optimize both time and budget is tricky.

Nearly half (45%) of Americans plan to start holiday shopping before November, with one in four starting before October. Retailers are capitalizing on this earlier start: Nearly 80% indicated they will begin holiday marketing efforts earlier this year.   So how do you distribute your ad spend, without missing out on any revenue opportunities?

 

Three Buying Periods that Advertisers and Media Buyers Should Plan for.

Early November through to Cyber Monday.

During this time period, shoppers are looking at larger purchases, to make sure they get the “big gift” like a gaming system or a trendy toy before it sells out. This year retailers plan to start their Black Friday deals a week or 2 before Thanksgiving Day, expanding into 2 weeks of deals. Consumers plan to spend an average of $743 during the Black Friday (Nov. 24) to Cyber Monday (Nov. 27) shopping weekend, up 47% from last year’s average of $505.  Advertisers need to get in front of consumers even earlier than past years to make sure they are top of mind for those big ticket items as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer single-focus days.

Early December to the third week of the month.

Shoppers are out shopping for smaller-ticket, higher-volume items for family, friends and co-workers. Cyber Monday allows for “Bounceback Tuesday”: with accumulated cookie pools from shoppers who weren’t yet ready to purchase their big-ticket items, make Tuesday an amazing data day for retargeting.

The final week before Christmas.

The last-minute scramble to find the right gift and have it be delivered on time. Amazon’s promotion of two-day and even same-day shipping is pushing that deadline ever later as retailers like Target match their speed.  This year’s holiday season gives shoppers an extra Saturday before Christmas Eve for last-minute shopping. It would be wise to set aside a media buying budget for last-minute promotional activity to encourage impulse buys during that final week.

To find out more about when and where we predict people will be shopping this 2017 Holiday season download Digilant’s Holiday and Consumer Shopping Report.

Like what you see? Join the 500+ clients that have partnered with Digilant.