It’s the most wonderful time of the year. There’s Christmas music everywhere, Santa is inescapable, little green elves are assaulting parents in malls all over the Western world, and your long, long, gift list is hopefully at least partially checked off, if not quite checked twice.
It’s also that magical time of the year when most retailers make their revenue goals. The challenge for mobile marketers?
With the season and the shopping comes intense noise. Marketing noise. Advertising noise. Every single retailer is in the same boat, and everyone is fighting for their share of the holiday e-commerce, m-commerce, and plain old bricks-and-mortar commerce.
So how do you stand out? Here are five key ways to kickstart holiday spending today, taken from our recent and freely-available analysis of 700 million mobile ads.
1. Don’t stop, believing
During big shopping holidays, ad-spend skyrockets. Big brands and major retailers double down on their bets, and the result is up to 9X more ads being delivered. In the face of that onslaught, the temptation for smaller retailers with thinner wallets is to turtle, and wait for clearer sailing. Don’t.
Even though there’s an onslaught of ads, there are also more clicks – at least 20% more. The reason is pretty simple: it’s a shopping holiday. At Christmas (or Hanukah or Kwanzaa) many people are in a buying mood. They’re ready to purchase if the right item comes their way.
Your job, therefore, is to bring that right item into their path. Don’t fail.
2. Rage against the machine
Warren Buffet isn’t the world’s most successful investor because he follows the crowd. Elon Musk isn’t every entrepreneur’s secret dreamboat idol because he takes the path more traveled. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone because he was looking to do what others had already done. So stop following and start leading.
When REI created #optoutside for Black Friday, it because part of a cultural backlash against over-commercialization of Thanksgiving that not only resonated with its core customer base, and not only fit perfectly with its we’re-not-really-discounters-anyways strategy, but also gathered 1.4 million fans and returns over 400,000 Google results.
How can you lead in a way that is brand-authentic, reaches your core constituency, and will result in more revenue? Figuring that out is why you get the big bucks. Get some help here.
3. Do the Superman reveal
In this area of cross-device targeting, mobile attribution, social marketing, ad exchanges, programmatic RTB, demand-side platforms, supply-side platforms, and more, there’s a lot of technology in marketing. But there should also be a lot of marketing in technology.
Now, during the busiest season more than ever, is the time to become who you really are and reveal your brand.
We asked possibly the world’s leading brand expert, Prophet’s David Aaker, about brand and noisy ad environments:
“In this world of cluttered communication driven by fast changing and fragmented media vehicles, brand is more important than ever. It provides stable credibility and a base-line associations.”
A strong brand that means something calms the storm, quiets the noise, and gives your deeper consumer promise room to penetrate, while also providing an anchor for your specific product features, advantages, and benefits. So reveal!
4. Connect for success
Typically, marketers think that advertising is something between them and their customers. And it is.
But that relationship is mediated by someone important. And that mediation becomes even more important during shopping holidays. Publishers are tremendously important, and not just for the audiences they deliver. They also deliver an environment and a context for your ad that adds or detracts from its noticeability, experience, and efficacy.
Strong relationships with publishers give you the right to earn their placements in busy seasons, when they’re oversubscribed. And investing in the right kinds of publishers who not only present your ad to the right potential buyers, but also do it in a way that renders them receptive to the right messages is just smart.
5. Be applesauce, not turkey
Let’s face it, not everyone is the main dish.
We saw some interesting things in those 700 million ads. Even though the big shopping items might have been tech toys and other goodies, social apps did extremely well, with 3X install rates in the holidays. Content apps did really well. And gaming companies advertised more and won more business over the holiday weekend. What was going on?
For one thing: real life continued. People still needed the basics and the normal even during the busy Cyber Monday shopping frenzy. For another, complementary products that were not the main course but accompanied it did very, very well.
You might be selling pickaxes for the gold rush, or you might be setting up a cafe for tired miners to get some go-juice in the morning, or you might be something else entirely. The important point is that just because you’re not the main dish, and just because your product isn’t one traditionally purchased during the holiday season … doesn’t mean you can’t do some serious business while drinking eggnog. (If, of course, you happen to like eggnog.)
Get the full insights report from our 700-million mobile ad study.
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Before acting as a mobile economist for TUNE, John built the VB Insight research team at VentureBeat and managed teams creating software for partners like Intel and Disney. In addition, he led technical teams, built social sites and mobile apps, and consulted on mobile, social, and IoT. In 2014, he was named to Folio's top 100 of the media industry's "most innovative entrepreneurs and market shaker-uppers.” John lives in British Columbia, Canada with his family, where he coaches baseball and hockey, though not at the same time.