Three Holiday Social Media Planning Tactics to Drive Results

You may be thinking it is too early to discuss holiday planning - September just ended! What about Halloween?? However, consumers are likely already thinking about the upcoming gifting season, and brick and mortar stores have begun adding holiday decor items to the shelves. If your brand is not already thinking about holiday strategy and media planning now, you may find yourself behind. Media planning should begin earlier than ever this year, and Code3 Social Strategists are offering tips on how your brand can prepare for and orchestrate a successful holiday marketing campaign.

The list of holiday best practices and do’s and dont’s is a long one, but the most valuable use of any brand's time is the big hitters, those strategic moves that offer the most bottom-line impact. While they can look different for your unique brand, we’re sharing some of our most tried-and-true tactics that can drive sales and set your brand up for Q4 success. 

Run a Full-Funnel Campaign with a Strategic Timeline 

Let’s start with the basics: While brands may be most concerned with driving the maximum amount of purchases possible, especially during the holiday season, it’s crucial to not forget the importance of events leading up to a conversion. Prospecting efforts are arguably even more valuable during the holiday time-frame, as more people are in-market looking to purchase, resulting in a much larger potential customer pool. Additionally, during the holiday season, there is also an increase in consumer willingness to be more open to new brands and willing to splurge on new products they typically wouldn’t for either gifting purposes or the desire to self indulge. 

According to a Google study, half of consumers who were planning to shop for the holidays said they were open to shopping with new stores or brands this holiday season. Looking at the big picture, the holiday season is a time where brands can experience large growth and move consumers down the funnel more than ever. Holiday shoppers can become repeat customers, creating long-term profitability and growth. This is why running a full-funnel campaign is important when planning your holiday marketing strategy.

With running a full-funnel campaign comes the importance of identifying a strategic - and strict - timeline based on the average consumer's purchase journey surrounding the holiday season. According to Insider Intelligence, half of consumers expect to start their holiday shopping before the calendar turns to November. Something brands should also consider are the increased ad costs associated with the high level of competition during the holiday season. Code 3’s internal research indicates that CPM’s rise in an upward fashion from August to December, with an average total increase of 30%.

It is important to keep this in mind when planning the timeline of holiday marketing campaigns. If you want a lower average cost, it may be more beneficial to spread your budget over a longer period of time to mitigate those higher costs we see particularly in mid-November to December. Do your research and look at your brand's historical costs to decide what is best for you. 

Leverage Gifting & Holiday Messaging, Content and Targeting

The holiday season is tied to many emotions and the messaging and content you run can make all the difference in influencing a purchase. At Code3, we recommend incorporating all of the fun, holiday vibes in your holiday marketing campaign. At Code3, we have found that running campaigns with specific holiday content such as seasonal-themed imagery and sound has proven to bring an increase in return compared to re-purposed assets. It plays towards the current emotions of your potential customer and increases the likelihood of conversion. During this competitive time, content creativity can go a long way in acquiring customers and driving sales.

Despite whether you have unique content or are using repurposed assets, best practice for your campaign would be to have clear messaging tied to the holiday season. Keywords like “holiday,” “gift,” “joy,” etc. should be used to convey your message and appeal to the consumer's current mind-frame.

Lastly, consider targeting users who are in a gifting mindset or have interest in the holidays to capture those who are most engaged and in-market. However, it is important to remember that these audiences may be quite broad and heavily targeted by many brands during this time-frame and can increase your costs. Thus, you may want to use caution and find other qualified audiences to also layer in to targeting.

Stand Out Against the Competition and Build Ad Recall

The holiday season can cause advertisement channels to become saturated with ads, as brands are pushing their highest budgets of the year competing to reach consumers. Thus, it may be hard to create a true impact and build ad recall amongst your target audience. This is where marketing strategy needs to be creative. As we previously discussed, content creativity is a big component to standing out during the holiday season. However, there are a few other strategies you can use to set your brand apart:

  • High impact premium activations  - These premium placements are a great way to make a lasting impression on your target audience. They typically come with high visibility and impact. A recent study conducted by ad platform Adnami and attention technology specialist Lumen Research found that high impact formats drive up to 72x more attention than standard display units and that attention is directly linked to brand recall. While these premium high-impact activations can be a great idea and will make a splash, they come with a high price tag, require a larger budget, and a great deal of lead time.
  • Influencer marketing - Another unique way to get in front of consumers is by working with an influencer, which can be beneficial for a few reasons. They have niche communities you can target, offer a great deal of credibility and influence over their followings, and their audiences tend to be highly engaged. Working with influencers does not always have to come at a high cost as research has shown that micro-influencers can have a strong impact. According to data collected by Upfluence, the larger the following, the lower the engagement rate. Micro-Influencers boasted engagement rates nearly two times higher than celebrity influencers, and they typically come at a lower rate.
  • Run an integrated campaign that is cross-channel and placements. Reaching your target audience across multiple channels will aid in building ad-recall so your brand is top of mind when consumers are ready to take action. According to a study conducted by Google, shoppers who used at least five channels to inform their decisions and complete their holiday shopping reported making two times more purchases and spending twice as much, on average, compared to those who just used one or two channels. 

The clock is ticking and it’s time to start getting strategic for the critical holiday season! Don’t waste any more time. If you’re ready to perfect your holiday marketing plan for the upcoming season, contact us today.

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