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

1. 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.”

2. 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.

3. 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.

How to Become a Great Digital Media Buyer

Since the onset of the digital transformation, the role of digital media buyer has been one of the most in-demand jobs in the advertising industry. Although digital media buying in and of itself is nothing new, it’s a profession that’s constantly adapting to new digital channels, technologies and platforms.

As a key liaison between agencies and advertisers, digital media buyers support in the creation and implementation of advertising campaigns for different brands. Although digital media buyers may be involved in many decisions made throughout the campaign planning process, the most important decisions lie in determining which online media channels and what tactics will yield the greatest reach and be most effective in achieving campaign goals.

In order to successfully do this, there are certain attributes and competencies required from today’s digital advertising industry. Would you know how to identify the necessary skills needed to be a digital media buyer? What type of person does it take to get the job done? Several professionals have expressed their opinions on this subject and these are a summary the most requested characteristics and skill sets:

  • A digital media buyer must be curious and not be afraid of tackling complex problems.
  • A buyer must possess an in-depth knowledge of the industry in which its customers operate.
  • Also, they must be an interdisciplinary professional that can manage both traditional and digital marketing with ease.

What exactly is a Digital Media Buyer?

It’s commonly thought that a digital media buyer is simply responsible for laying out the plan for a brand’s digital ad campaign, deciding what online channels (social media, apps, search engines, site banners, streaming platforms, etc.) will set the stage for the most conversions, greatest brand recognition, or the generation of the most qualified leads. However, a digital media buyer’s role extends far beyond this.

They’re the people that come in contact with almost every actor in the digital advertising planning and execution processes, so they end up learning not only how to create the roadmap of a campaign, but also how to drive it forward. These responsibilities demand the digital media buyer to be a multifaceted professional in order to meet their clients’ needs.

6 Important Attributes Needed to be a Great Digital Media Buyer

If you’ve ever considered a career in digital media buying and want to envision yourself in the role, ask yourself if you possess the below attributes:

1. Team Player

Successful digital media buyers are always team players because they have to work with many people in a variety of contexts. Whether reaching out to a more experienced buyer for help in overcoming an unforeseen campaign obstacle, inquiring about how to use new programmatic bidding technology and submitting requests to the product team, or developing account relationships with the sales team, planning and executing a digital ad campaign is never a one-person job.

2. Digital Expert

Although a digital media buyer isn’t expected to start their first day on the job completely adept in all things digital, it’s crucial to always maintain an eagerness to learn about the constantly evolving digital advertising ecosystem. It’s to a buyer’s advantage to become an early adopter of new technologies and platforms, because more likely than not, they’ll eventually be incorporated into new forms of online advertising. A few examples of new online user tendencies that have since been integrated into digital advertising include:

Some of the most frequently used tools and resources by buyers to keep up and plan effective digital ad and programmatic campaigns include:

  • Scarborough, MRI, or other demographic databases that provide information surrounding the digital channels where a campaign’s target audience can be found and measures the impact different digital platforms can have on these audiences.
  • ComScore Data to see specific sites if your goal is to introduce a brand to a new market or target audience, digital media buyers can analyze data from ComScore and other internet market research companies like Nielsen, to determine where on the web they should be redirecting their ads.
  • Social Tools: Of course, advertising via Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram, provides incredible reach when campaigns are correctly implemented.

3. Natural Networker

If you’re a naturally extroverted and well-connected person, you might want to consider digital media buying. The job can be very social because it requires working with various partners and clients, often through networking and socializing outside of the office. High-energy people who aren’t afraid to reach out to industry experts for the solutions they need to make their client’s campaign plans a reality.

4. Skilled Negotiator

If you want to become a digital media buyer, you have to present your media plan, receive approval, and then follow through on the plan under the approved parameters. Familiarity with standard industry rates for ad inventory and having the ability to stretch a budget to maximize ROI on ad spend will both improve the client’s campaign results and increase margins for the buyer’s agency.

5. Resourceful Problem Solver

One of the most important feats for any digital media buyer to achieve is overcoming obstacles and implementing inventive solutions while designing campaigns from the ground up, almost like a digital media engineer. For example, if a customer requests paid search in their digital media plan, the digital media buyer needs to determine if an Adwords campaign is needed and how to select keywords that will help optimize the SEM (search engine marketing) element of the campaign.

6. Intuitive Analyst

Beyond organizing Excel spreadsheets with copious amounts of qualitative and quantitative data collected over the course of a campaign, digital media buyers should also be able to explain the reasoning behind why different users take different paths during their consumer journey and what needs to be done to drive conversions. With the increase in data that online publishers provide, a digital media buyer has to understand and analyze media and market data, as well as brand development indices and campaign performances by digital channel.

How to Become a Digital Media Buyer

You don’t need any special training or a graduate-level degree to become a digital media buyer. However, most agencies seek candidates with an undergraduate degree and experience in communications, PR, statistics, or marketing. Beyond this general background, digital media buyers are expected to have strong writing skills, the ability to effectively track and analyze metrics, and a passion for all things digital, including:

  • Ability to appropriately budget and report
  • Clear and succinct cross-departmental communicator
  • Knowledge of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
  • Capable of implementing Google Adwords
  • Experience using media planning and performance tools like Google Analytics, Comscore, DoubleClick, etc.
  • A genuine passion for technology

Once a position has been landed and the digital media buyer is assigned to a new account, the first question the new hire should ask him or herself is: “How can this client, regardless of size or industry, build and strengthen its brand?” From there the buyer will analyze the digital channels where this brand’s advertisements will have optimal impact.

Resources for Digital Media Buyers

If you want to take some first steps towards a career in digital media buying or sharpen your skills, it’s a good idea to get in touch with and stay engaged with top media professionals at ad agencies.

  1. AdAge Datacenter: A primary resource for business intelligence and media research, this database can serve as a great starting point to expand your media buying contacts from top agencies.
  2. LinkedIn Sales Navigator.: Digital Sales professionals use this tool to find contacts and get referrals to important brands and agencies.

A digital media buyer with all of these skills and attributes is essential to the success of any digital ad campaign.

Are you in need of proprietary programmatic solutions paired with exceptional digital media planning to make your next digital ad campaign a success?  At Digilant, we help brands and agencies uncover new audience insights to implement more strategic, better-target digital advertising campaigns. From educational institutions to CPG companies, to top automotive brands, our solution span across all industries. We make it possible for agencies to bolster expertise and services for media clients and for brands to scale media buying quickly. With channel supported across programmatic, search, and social, Digilant makes media buying simple. Learn more about how Digilant can take your 2021 digital advertising campaigns to the next level. Let’s talk.

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