Are you ready for the 2018 holiday season?


Are you ready for the 2018 holiday season?

Written by: Stefanie Beach - Founder & CEO SMB Media Consulting


The 2018 holiday shopping season is upon us. Walk into any store and you will see decorations, deals, and holiday music already in full swing. It is said that shoppers typically shop in-store when they're researching large expensive items or when they need to look, feel, or interact with the product before purchase. Which means the majority of holiday shopping is taking place online (no surprise).  Online shopping offers consumers comfort and convenience. You beat the crowds, skip the lines and can take advantage of online only deals all while never leaving your couch.


Last year, the 2017 holiday season was said to be the biggest in history.  Combining this with analyzing spend trends over the past decade, it is anticipated that 2018 is going to be even bigger! Billions of dollars are going to be spent on digital advertising, and the competition is going to be aggressive. As a result, how retailers use their advertising dollars will be a major factor in influencing shoppers' buying decisions.


Taking a look at some of the statistics from 2017, as well as digital behavior trends during the first half of 2018, there is no surprise where digital ad dollars are going for this year.


Cyber Monday 2017 generated $6.59 billion in revenue, the largest online-only sales day ever. It was also the largest shopping day in Amazon’s history, far outpacing Amazon's annual Prime Day. Black Friday saw $5 billion in online sales, with customers spending more than $1 million per minute online. WOW! Online sales were up nearly 5% from November 1 to Christmas Eve, the largest year-over-year increase since 2011. This is insane, right?!?! But wait, there is more.


Mobile continues to be a driving force for ecommerce growth. The average American adult checks their phone every 12 minutes, for a total of 80 times a day. It should come as no surprise then, that mobile shopping is huge. US retail mcommerce sales were up more than 40% in Q4 2017, according to comScore. eMarketer expects total US retail mcommerce sales to grow even further, 32.7% in 2018. I know some of the most used apps on my phone are Amazon and Target. We need something and it’s ordered within seconds without another thought and arrives at my doorstep in 2 days or less.


Beyond mobile, social is the next driving factor in holiday advertising. 42% of digital spenders said Facebook would benefit from the majority of the budget, followed by Google at 28%, Facebook-owned Instagram at 18%, and Amazon at 12%.


Tech tools such as location-based marketing, geo-fencing, audience buying, purchase intent and retargeting are a driving force in creating positive customer experiences, personalized messaging, increased efficiency, and ensuring every dollar spent is doing exactly what the marketer wants it to do, which is to help drive sales. These tools are at a marketers fingertips, unlike traditional advertising tactics, making digital a no brainer for this holiday season. Knowing which tactics to utilize when is key.


Personalization is a game changer. Creating a total experience drives customer loyalty and can help increase ROI by 6x or more. 83% of shoppers are willing to share personal data to enable a personalized experience, while 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience. Those are big numbers. No surprise the biggest shopping days during the holiday season are on the weekend, making up approximately 40% of all traffic. This insight can be powerful for marketers to implement dayparting and ensure they are maximizing their ad dollars as much as possible. Marketers can also review historical (personal) traffic trends and use their own data to daypart as well. As we all know, 1st party data is the most powerful and informative. The insight you collect from your customers is beyond important for many reasons. Not only does it keep your current consumers happy, but it also helps with finding future customers as well. The information you have from last year’s holiday season can help plan for 2018’s holiday season. It would be in your best interest to take a look at what your audience cares about, and then make sure you deliver what they need/want. Use everything at your disposal; Page views, social media analytics, email sign-ups, products sold, coupons used, etc. are a great way to give you an advantage for the 2018 holiday season.


So, are you ready?


(Sources: emarketer, comscore, DCR strategies, retail dive, mobile marketer)

Stefanie is the founder and CEO of SMB Media Consulting. Being in digital advertising since 2006 and working on the buy and sell side of the business has given her a unique approach to clients business. She lives in the Bronx with her wonderful husband Nick and 6 year old daughter Audrey.