According to Epsilon’s research, Brand Social and Retailer Social are the “Rising Stars” among Digital tools, mapped for behavioral impact and utility in a digital buyer’s journey as per the “Epsilon digital shopping tool impact study 2015”.
Though Social Media has a strong Impact, Search Marketing is important as a large number of purchases for holiday season (39 percent) begin with search and 78 percent of customers this year plan to purchase a gift card. Planning your Gift card strategy with Social Media and Search Marketing focus can bring in results for your Gift cards and Holiday campaign. Shoppers plan to buy gifts and according to Bing Insights, Gift Cards feature as the second most important gift that people plan to buy after Clothing or accessories.
Gift Cards are the number one gift that people wanted to receive and the Top Three Gift card categories are Department Stores (38 percent), Restaurant (34 percent) and Coffee Shop (21 percent). The phenomenon of self-gifting is bigger than earlier with users choosing to gift themselves over others. Nearly 60 percent of consumers plan to splurge on themselves.
Though search remains a key behavioral influencer for Shoppers, Brand and Retailer social are the emerging Stars for purchases as far as the Digital Tools Influence and Utility are concerned. Your Holiday Season’s Gift Card strategy can look at factoring in Digital tools that are likely to influence Shopper Behavior. Combining the customer identities with Deep linking of apps on Social Networks can provide newer ways for Retailers to engage audiences with Loyalty Programs and Referral Marketing as seen from the MasterCard and Subway offer. Include a Call-To-Action in the Social Media post, where possible.
According to Google Trends, Gift Cards start trending as early as the first week of November.The search queries for Gift cards according to Google trends start building in first week of November and are highest in the month of December in the week of Christmas.
However, Google Has restrictions on Promotion of Gift Cards.
Gift Card Buyer Journey
Segmenting your audiences can help designing promotions and using digital tools that are most likely to work for the audience segment. Gift cards and E-Gift cards combined with offers that are most likely to work for the segment is important to increase conversions for your program. Promote the offers clearly on your Gift cards landing page as can be seen from AEO’s Gift card. Design the customer journey post the landing page to engage audiences to create buzz for your cards. Clothing are a favorite gift with younger audiences and an engaging customer experience for gifting in a favorite category has a viral impact with a high impact “Friend social” Strategy. Build text messaging in your campaigns, as teenagers connect with friends and brands with texting.
For in-store shoppers, Beacons can remind audiences about Gift Cards. According to Facebook post, with Beacons customers can know more about featured products and offers allowing customers to check-in. Giving offers on Place Tips can remind audiences about your Gift cards and Offers.
Digital Tools and Visual Impact
As landing pages that communicate the offer increase conversions, use of Digital tools with visual impact engage audiences and are more likely to be shared on Social networks. According to Epsilon, Friend Social Posts are rated as highly in Tool Influence as Brand Social.
Epsilon’s online study of over 2,800 respondents on 16 digital shopping tools in 12 channels and 12 product categories. Friend Social has the greatest influence among Millennials. Brand and Retail social are seen as the top influencing channels with highest utility placing them in the star category for Digital tools. Shopping Apps, Price Comparison Sites and Mobile Payments are the other tools with greater utility.
Search Marketing Campaigns
Bing insights recommends promoting your gift cards in your digital marketing campaigns by including “gift cards” in ad copy, and capitalizing on the opportunity closer to Christmas Day when shoppers are looking for last-minute gifts, may have missed shipping deadlines, and are in search of a gift card to save Christmas. For Mobile Search Ads best practices for Google, click here.
Google recommends going with sitelink extensions, location extensions and bidding to maximum value to appear above the results and indicate mobile friendly landing pages to engage the mobile audience with the category they are likely to be shopping or searching for. If you are running social media campaigns, plan your posts and search campaign with Call extensions to get the best results for prime season shopping days.
Design a Brand Contest with a question for the audience “How will you be spending Christmas Holidays?” with a chance to win a Gift card. Papa John’s Gift card Contest gives a chance to win USD 50 Gift card with a question “Tell us what’s on your party playlist for a chance to win Just Dance 2016 & a $50 gift card”.
Content marketing for Gift cards makes audiences aware about your Gift cards, offers and any new program features such as bonus rewards points. Content Marketing for Gift cards can increase conversions by helping people discover your gift cards. Content marketing for gift cards can increase the engagement for your offers with simple content marketing tactics.
You could choose Content marketing Tactics, depending on your goals. Some of the tactics for engagement are designing quizzes, personalization of gift cards and customization of rewards. Presenting your Gift ideas in a Visual format has a greater impact.
With Bing’s Remarketing Ads, Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences on Facebook, Tailored Audiences on Twitter and Customer Match on Google, advertisers can retarget audiences who have visited your site in the holiday season or engaged with your gift cards creative and pages making them the most likely customers for a Gift card purchase.
Design a remarketing campaign that allows you to segment offers based on available targeting options. Retargeting with offers that are most likely to appeal to cart abandoners is the best way to re-engage audiences.
Social Media Posts
Plan your gift cards Social media posts for the holidays. Targeting audiences when they are most likely to be looking for a gift card, on the preferred social network is likely to bring in results.
Customers look for product offers from retailer social media and make social purchases whereas from brands they are looking for contests and relevant content that helps them decide on purchases. Retail Gift card promotion for a category that gives them flexibility to shop across brands is likely to resonate better.
Shopping Apps have a high impact score and shoppers are increasingly spending more time on Apps than on browsers. designing your gift cards strategy for the mobile audience for the shopping days where the mobile traffic is more than 50 percent is the category imperative. According to Loyalty360, “55 percent of consumers said they are interested in using a mobile app to store their gift card information. This demand for app-based gift card programs is an opportunity for retailers to gain key analytics about these consumers by promoting the registration of gift cards in mobile apps. In the mobile app format, gift cards are no longer anonymous, but rather are rich, powerful marketing tools with the ability to capture customer identities and preferences, purchase behavior and information, and even offer the ability to manage a loyalty program using information collected via the mobile app-based gift card platform”. Combining the customer identities with Deep linking of apps with Social Networks can provide newer ways for Retailers to engage audiences with Loyalty Programs and Referral Marketing.
Third Party Marketplaces
Amazon and Other Third party Marketplaces performed better than other channels fo Holiday sales last year. To get a response from digital buyers, Channel Advisor recommends Use Amazon Sponsored Products to highlight products and get visibility on mobile devices.
Announce special offers with an email to your target audience. Design emails for Gift cards with a link to the right landing page, allowing customers to fill out the form online. You can assess the feasibility of Lead Ads on Facebook and Twitter with features such as “Tweet A Gift card” with Pre-filled forms for submission.