Continuing our Holiday Advertising Series, we’re walking you through each week of the holiday season and how to adjust your advertising strategy accordingly. From budgets to messaging, learn what to keep in mind this holiday season.
As the dust settles from the retail whirlwind that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday, advertisers look back and measure the success of their strategies. However, time to dwell on the past is a luxury that few in the ecommerce world can afford to take—December, and the opportunities that accompany the run-up to Christmas, loom large. It’s more difficult still to predict consumer behavior in a rapidly changing world of online retail. If being past Black Friday and Cyber Monday has left you saying ‘Now, what?’, then use this article as a roadmap for Amazon advertising tactics during the month of December.
Determining an Appropriate Ad Strategy based on Category and Historical Performance
It is crucial to consider two elements when determining what the advertising strategy should be leading up to holidays—namely, the product category and historical performance.
The category will determine whether now is the right time of year to be pushing advertising for products. For example, it would be an unreasonable time of year to sell flip flops, and it wouldn’t make sense to advertise such a product aggressively when demand is low. Instead, categories like ‘toys,’ ‘jewelry’, ‘clothing,’ etc. generally see an uptick in sales going into holidays as these are viable gifting options. For proof of this, one only needs to look at the graph from Statista below, which ranks the most relevant holiday categories.
Next, if someone is unsure of the relevancy of their category in relation to Christmas shopping, they should look at historical performance for their brand and specific products to identify if there was an uptick in sales during December. If so, customers likely viewed the product as relevant to this time of year, which means it could be a winter-based product or a good gifting option.
Past performance as it pertains to advertising will be imperative as well. Review which products performed well in past years as well as what keywords drove the most qualified traffic. Utilize past metrics such as search impression share, click-through rate, cost-per-click, and conversion rate (to name a few) to have a benchmark going into this year’s holiday season.
This exercise will also help determine past mistakes, so they won’t be replicated this year. For example, if RoAS was high but the search impression share was low for certain campaigns, there’s an opportunity to be more aggressive by increasing bids and campaigns budgets on high performing products and keywords.
Advertising Best Practices for Select Holiday Products
Now that the question of relevancy has been addressed, the next logical step would be to consider how to advertise specific products to maximize sales for a brand. Read a few quick tips below and apply these to the brand.
Build campaigns around top performers
Build specific temporary campaigns that contain top performing seasonal products—not all products are created equal when it comes to the holidays. Select the top performing products that have established seasonal relevancy—these are most likely to perform well within campaigns. By separating top seasonal products from the remaining catalog, you also have more control over the budget behind these specific items. Make sure to set aside enough money to keep the seasonal campaign on 24/7, if possible.
Use seasonal assets
Plan to create and use seasonal assets and content in campaigns. Seasonal ad copy like “Buy the Perfect Christmas Gift” in Sponsored Brands headlines can drive holiday purchases. These campaigns provide maximum visibility through their premium real estate property on Amazon’s search pages.
This time of year is also an opportune time to launch seasonal Sponsored Brands Video campaigns that feature the product being gifted to someone. This helps the customer to visualize what it would be like to receive or give the featured product to someone. You can also Include custom images in Sponsored Brands, Sponsored Display, and DSP campaigns that illustrate the product as a gift.
Include specific holiday keywords in the seasonal campaigns. Shoppers are likely to depend on Amazon to recommend them with gift ideas when they search for generic phrases like “Christmas presents for her” or “holiday jewelry on sale.” This is an opportune time to insert your product as the right gift choice depending on the relevancy of the product in relation to the keyword.
Consider increasing spend
Last year, Pattern’s ad spend increased by 6% month over month on average in December. This signifies the competitive landscape during this time but also the opportunity seen by brands to capitalize on holiday sales. The result of this was a 3% increase in ad sales and 9% increase in total sales. Furthermore, impressions rose at the same rate as spend (3%) during this time but clicks increased by 11%, improving the click through rate significantly. All these metrics are signs that December offers more serious and interested buyers than previous months, and is worth the extra spend.
Overall December advertising advice
Product specificity and utilizing seasonal campaigns cannot be understated; however, there is not a one-size-fits-all recommendation for December advertising. Products that are off-season during Winter should avoid burning a budget when the chance of reward is lower, along with products that see excessive holiday cost-per-clicks for their product category.
By contrast, products that fit into a ‘gifting category’ should maximize the traffic wave of December to reach their goals. Similarly, additional budgets should be dedicated to campaigns that include seasonally relevant creative content and keyword/product/audience targets. Applying the concepts of this article will help bring you closer to your December sales goals as you learn to consider holiday trends and past performance that will allow you to make informed strategic decisions.
Looking for more insight? Pattern’s advertising experts are ready to partner with your brand and drive marketplace sales. Interested in learning more? Get in touch today.
For more holiday advertising tips, check out the rest our our Holiday Advertising Series:
- Your Guide to Pre-Holiday Advertising on Amazon
- How to (Effectively) Advertise During Black Friday Weekend
- How to Keep Driving Holiday Sales with Amazon Advertising (current blog)
- Should you Advertise on Christmas Day?
- Amazon Advertising Post-Holiday: Where to Focus Now (coming soon)