November 7, 2018 Ana Cristina

14 Marketing Tips and Trends for the 2018 Holiday Shopping Season


Marketing tips for holiday season

While many brands go heaviest on marketing campaigns in December, the holiday shopping season has already started!

Consumers are beginning their holiday shopping earlier in the season. According to comScore, the core holiday shopping season will have 33 days, but the most prominent consumer spending will happen between the first six days (Thanksgiving and Cyber Tuesday), as this period remains most strongly associated for American consumers with deals and special sale periods. This is an exciting opportunity for brands to get a jump on the prolonged holiday rush and start promoting their products earlier.

Holiday Marketing trends

Is your holiday marketing strategy ready? If not, it’s never too late to start planning. We’ve gathered the most relevant 2018 marketing tips and trends for your holiday campaigns:

1. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are your holiday allies

As we said above, this is when the holiday shopping REALLY begins. This year retailers are expected to net $23 billion from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Don’t focus only on Christmas campaigns- you MUST plan marketing around the “supersale week” to maximize your holiday profits.

2. Define your goals

First things first. Defining your marketing goals is the first step to planning your holiday campaigns. Well-defined, concrete goals are essential to setting up meaningful metrics later: otherwise, you won’t understand whether your campaigns are working, and you won’t learn and improve fast enough to make the most of this most profitable of seasons.

To create your goals is recommended to use the SMART methodology: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-sensitive. An example of a SMART goal is: “increase overall sales by 20% between November to December compared to the same period in 2017.”

3. Be careful with your holiday advertising budget

During the holidays, marketing competition heats up; it’s not unusual to spend from two to five times more on ads than typical months to stand out from the crowd. Planning for this extra need in advance in your budget will help you make the most of your holiday ad spending.

You should be paying attention to advertising BEFORE your holiday campaign- split test what messaging, audience and creatives have the best performance. Split testing on Facebook Ads allows you to simultaneously test different versions of your ads so you can see what works best, and thereby understand how different strategies will impact your ad performance.

Another great tactic is to plan an email marketing campaign. Emails can often generate the most significant return at the lowest cost. Keep in mind to divide your email list into segments to target and personalize your email campaign.

4. Wow your customers with a campaign to remember

How are you going to stand out from millions of others Black Friday promotions? During the holiday shopping season, customer’s inboxes and social media feeds are going to be slammed with holiday offers. You need to differentiate yourself. What can you do?

The simple answer is be personal. This advice applies to all your channels, whatever your business. Hopefully, you’ve taken the time this year to learn your audiences and segments. Breakthrough the white noise of the holiday by being personal and targeted- speak more directly to your audience segments.  Take the risk of doing something that your competitors won’t do.

As you build your campaign, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my content memorable? Will a viewer think of it after they’ve watched it?
  • Is my content disruptive? Will a viewer stop scrolling, look closely, and say, “wow, I need this”?
  • Is my content emotionally resonant? Does it touch on the target viewer’s pain points, acknowledge their problem (finding the right gift, keeping a budget, purchasing ethically, pleasing diverse tastes) in a relatable and personal way?

If the answer to these questions is yes, your campaign will have the impact you crave.

5. Personalize your holiday selling experience with canvas ads

Whether or not you’ve got an online shop, Facebook canvas ads allow you to create a mobile-exclusive and immersive full-screen experience designed to capture the complete attention of your visitors. Canvas ads create an integrated experience enabling people to watch videos, swipe through a carousel, browse through a collection of items, and more. It acts as a landing page to create a better user experience.

With canvas ads you’re also able to play with gamification, giving a different twist to your brand and differentiating it from the competition.

6. Keep in mind your mobile social media users

According to Statista, the number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019. Consumers are using their phones for pretty much everything, so brands are shifting to offer a responsive user experience. Additionally, smartphones have become the most popular means to consume social media.

If you want your holiday campaigns to succeed, you must not only have a responsive website but also, take a responsive approach to your social media content. To do so, you have to adjust images and text sizes to be legible on smartphones, create content in a vertical format to adapt to social networks like Instagram, and Facebook, and add subtitles to videos with audio elements.

Shifting to responsive user experience is also crucial for mobile eCommerce which it continues to grow more and more. And let’s be honest, during the holiday season, when there are non-stop plans with family and friends and shopping time is shortened, people will make purchases from their phones to take advantages of holiday deals.

7. Create a gift guide

Creating a gift guide gives you the exposure you want while doing your audience a favor- helping them make convenient, organized gift shopping decisions. For your customers, it’s a value add- you’re taking some hassle out of holiday shopping. To create a guide, you can showcase your products in a landing page or create a catalog on Facebook ads and promote it with a carousel or a collection ad format.

8. Promote your festive deals with social media only deals

There’s a fantastic feature on Facebook where you can easily promote deals, called ‘Facebook Offers.’ This feature allows you to create coupons and discounts right from your business page! They can be redeemed online or in stores. This is an excellent way to promote your holiday deals.

Taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday with discounted products is an excellent opportunity to grow your email list.

9. Update your imagery with holiday creatives

How do we know it’s the holiday season? For most of us, it’s the changes we see around us- the color scheme (heavy on the red and green), the accents (silver and gold), and holiday imagery- trees, candy, Santa Claus, snowflakes, and so on. You already know what we’re talking about- and that’s the point. Thematic imagery puts your audience in the mood and lets them know that this content is holiday (and holiday shopping)-focused; not your usual stuff.

In your social media profiles, you should update the header and temporarily swap your art to create a timely call to action for your campaign. You should also add links at your profile bios that redirects to your holiday promotions.

10. Leverage video content on social media

Did you know that retailers plan to focus 14% of their budgets on video ads on this holiday shopping season? It’s no secret that video marketing is a significant trend with 50% of consumers looking for a product video before visiting the website.

Using videos instead of single images is a strategy most brands are using. Although your approach will vary depending on your content, in general, videos are more eye-catching than text and still images. For this season, make holiday-inspired videos to keep your audience engaged.

11. Spice up your social media content with stories

Spice up your content is a markenting holiday trend

Stories create a direct line of communication between the brand and their followers. Rather than seeing only the branded content in the profile feed, people get to look at a more human, natural and friendly side of the brand where they are able to peek “behind the scenes.”

Actually, for some brands, the best approach is to use Instagram Stories. And with the “swipe up” feature, you’re able to link a URL to the story content, which is a fantastic way to promote your holiday’s deals. So, don’t forget to include some stories in your holiday campaigns and prepare to engage your audience!

12. Take advantage of holiday hashtags

During the holiday season, take advantage of the impact of social media hashtags. Include in your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts some holiday hashtags to ensure your content appears in the holiday searches all season long.

marketing tip: Use holiday hashtags.

13. Use seasonal PPC words

During the holidays season, a great strategy is to adjust your Adwords campaigns for seasonal keywords. During these days, the way people are searching on Google is different depending on your products and services. But remember that to have a successful PPC campaign is to do some research and testings first.

14. Give back to your community

The holidays season is a time to give back. Partnering with a charity is an excellent way to generate brand awareness and build your network while helping others in need.

You can start a fundraiser on your Facebook Page by creating a “Support Nonprofit” post. You just need to choose a cause or organization and share the post with your fans. Remember that American consumers are increasingly concerned with the social impact and ethical profile of their spending; aligning yourself with positive social movements connects your brand to that same prosocial theme in your audience’s mind.

Get Going!

If you’re looking to make an impact this holiday season, you need to stand out from the crowd. Focus on the channels and tactics that work best for your brand, stand apart from your competitors, and give these tips a try.

If you’d like to consult a team of skilled and passionate experts- or you’d like us to be your marketing department- please, say hello. We’d love to talk to you about how to build your marketing strategies – and beyond!

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