Key Insights From Holiday Shopping Research

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Based on research among tens of thousands of shoppers, carried out in December 2015, here are the key insights for marketers and advertisers for Holiday season 2016.

  • Promotions play a role in influencing purchases – As high as 38 percent consumers sign up for retailer’s newsletters and as high as 35 percent search on the retailer’s website for discounts or coupons.

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Takeaway – Ensure that you have a sign up form for newsletters and your offers and coupons are advertised prominently as well as discoverable on your website. Given the high incidence of Mobile traffic, target deals and coupons for mobile searchers and optimize your emails for mobile audiences.

  • Free Shipping and discounts are the biggest draw, however Free Returns Shipping is a big draw too.

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Takeaway – Free returns shipping will help you target first time purchasers and risk averse audiences.

  • On-Time Delivery is important for Customer satisfaction. Delivery Delays lead to a decline in satisfaction and diminish likelihood to recommend.

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Takeaway – Do not over-promise as delays in delivery can lead to an overall decline in satisfaction and negative word of mouth can hurt your brand.

  • One-day and two- day shipping orders were the least likely to be delivered on- time. The brands need to be prepared for expedited delivery options.

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Takeaway – Offer “Order online and Pick Up In-store” as an option to shoppers so that their plans are not hampered by any unnecessary delays and prevent any remorse and negative word of mouth.

  • Bizrate Predicts nearly 40 percent of orders will be made on Mobile.

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Takeaway – Prioritize a Seamless mobile checkout experience. Optimize browsing experience across devices. Advertisers can also plan for cross device targeting and offer seamless experience across devices.

  • Mobile users compare  prices and read reviews in addition to making purchases.

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-1-46-08-pmTakeaway – Make Prices and product and store review visible for Mobile users with Mobile responsive designs. With a mobile optimized experience, brands can target cross-device users throughout the buyer journey.

  • Nearly 58 percent of Holiday Shopper use a phone that is capable of accessing Apple Pay (36 Percent) or Samsung Galaxy (22 Percent).

 

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Takeaway – Support Mobile payments  for mobile users intending to use newer payment technology.

For more information, Click hereBizrate Annual Holiday Study was conducted among N=18,009 online shoppers in the US and Canada, collected between Nov 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015

Source: Connexity

Bing Ads Key Insights For Holiday 2016

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The US retail sales for Holiday Season 2016 are likely to hit USD 868 Billion with a surge in e-commerce volume, that accounts for nearly two-thirds of the season’s Year over Year growth. According to Bing Ads Insights Report, Search Engine Marketing and Organic searches account for more than 50 percent of all sales and acquisition. Online Search is also termed as the “Preferred Channel” for Gifts Inspiration. Nearly 50 percent of the  planned budgets were allocated for Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization by Retailers in 2015.

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With the high search volume, during the holiday season advertisers need to be ready with their campaigns as early as the first week of October.

According to the Insights report, shoppers search categorically with terms like “handbags,” “dresses,” and “mens wrist watch”. Additionally, nearly half of the top searched keywords included gender keywords “mens” or “women.”

For Electronics and Electronic Gadgets, the top ten searched keywords, according to Bing’s Internal data for 2015, included: “TVs,” “TV,” “headphones,” “wireless headphones,” and “beats headphones.” Additionally, more than 80 percent of searches were non-branded, however 45 percent of clicks  are accountable to  branded keywords.

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The search volume for leading categories varies with Gift Cards and Clothing or Accessories  accounting for more than 50 percent of all queries for finding the right gift, according to NRF report.

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Black Friday Week saw click volume double on mobile, however the clicks declined by 21 percent in Cyber Monday Week. The Desktop/Tablet volume continued to increase by 42 and 8 percent for the two consecutive weeks. The CTR sees two distinct peaks. coinciding with online sales during the Black Friday Week and a in the preceding weeks accountable to the early sales announcement. The CPC on the other hand rises at a slower rate during the preceding weeks with a distinct peak during December, as per the Bing’s internal data for Toys Category.

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Holiday season shoppers plan their purchases early, making retailers plan for an extended Holiday Season Shopping.

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According to Bing Ads Insights report, Shoppers are by and large Channel Agnostic. The choice of channel depends on value, convenience and reassurance. Shipping, Price-offs and ease of return with an assured quality are key considerations. Though consumers who search on Mobile and Online, anticipate spending 75 percent more while shopping, in-store.

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To optimize your campaign for the Omnichannel shopper, here are the key considerations.

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Ad Extensions in Search Ads are proven to bring forth results over and above Organic search.

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Checklist For Your Campaigns

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You Can! Sweet Spot Search and Social

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Advertisers spent 47 percent more year over year on social ads in the second quarter of 2016, as per a research study by Kenshoo.  The study was carried out for campaigns with 550 billion impressions, 11 billion clicks across 20 categories for an estimated advertising spend of USD 6 billion spent during the last five quarters. Smartphones and tablets that are at 64 percent of the total spend make for 92 percent of all advertising spend. Smartphone advertising grew by 63 percent and product ads grew by 71 percent, leading to a total increase in search advertising spend of 10 percent year-over-year. Kenshoo’s study reinforces previous research showing that Facebook advertising makes search campaigns work harder. Adding Facebook Ads to search campaigns boosts campaign performance. Facebook ads are known to increase conversion rates and lower the cost of acquisition.

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Key Insights

There was a 19 percent average increase in total conversions among the people who saw Facebook advertising compared with those who saw just paid search advertising. Advertisers looking at increasing campaign reach with Mobile first audiences should build social media advertising in their campaigns.
Among people who saw the Facebook ads in addition to the paid search ads, there was a 10 percent average decrease in cost per acquisition due to the increase in conversions.
Conversions increased as spending on Facebook ads rose, but there was a “sweet spot,” or minimum and maximum spend level on Facebook, to get the strongest performance at the least cost. Finding the Sweet Spot for your social ad campaigns can help advertisers maximize ROI from search and advertising campaigns.

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Content Marketing Tactics That Move The Needle

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Brands view Content Marketing as a priority for Digital, as it engages audiences beyond discovery and increases the conversion rate, as can be seen from Adobe SEM benchmark performance where Click through rate for Mobile and Desktop has increased over the last year. While search marketing Click Through Rate was higher, Social Media interaction rate was lower across verticals except Media and entertainment as per the ADI Best Of The Best benchmark for Top Quintile advertisers in Search and Social Media.

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Retail was one of the Verticals where Facebook delivered a better than average performance. For Marketers prioritizing content marketing, a review of post types and formats that drive results is imperative, to get the best results from their advertising spend. Facebook

According to OneSpot, Brands may prefer re-engagement as the tactic that works better creating repeat visitors and generating referrals.

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For retargeting or planning content for new audience. here are some content marketing tactics that will leapfrog your content from being ordinary to fabulous.

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Use A Popular Saying 

Today’s Food Facebook post for Oreo’s introduction of Strawberry Shortcake flavor, uses and evocative line about audience’s love for Oreo with a caption ” Oh Oreo. we love you just the way you are. you don’t need fancy flavors to win our hearts”. Social Media post content has a similar appeal as the creative messaging that often becomes popular as it resonates with a larger audience.

As the movie quotes work well with message recall, the images have the same effect with imagery that resonates with the audience with the memorability of a popular scene.

Give Audiences A Chance To Feel Special

Featuring a preview of a limited time flavor in your post makes audiences feel special and forges an emotional bond with your fans and social media followers.

The posts from Ben & Jerry’s gives customers a chance to choose the flavor on free cone day. By making the audience feel special, with a free cone offer, Ben & Jerry’s has successfully built an affinity with the audience as a brand that has introduced new flavors and has now provided a chance to sample one of the flavors. With an engaged social media audience, posts on social networks remind audiences about all that s new from their favorite brands.

 

 

Create Product Introduction  Posts

Starbucks tweets and posts new product introductions, engaging the Twitter followers. Social networks are the way the audience and customers alike choose to find expressions in their every day lives. promoting your collections and products on social networks works best for re engagement. Customers looking for new ways to find value or choose the best way to express themselves turn to social networks, making them ideal for any brand or publisher to connect and engage the followers.

Brand Resonance With a Context Increases Engagement

Posts that center around a context helps brands create resonance and reach a wider audience as the users are likely to engage with the topic of interest. Including interest tags gets your content discovered with users interacting with offers that they find useful.

Enliven Brand Mascots and Spokesperson On Social Media 

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KFC has enlivened Col. Sanders with  advertising where Col. Sanders is a comeback hero making it possible for customers to enjoy their favorite chicken in newer ways. Using Col. Sanders as the brand spokesperson. KFC has created social media posts that take customers and fans through a virtual journey of  different montages as Col. Sanders introduces new offers, contests and takes part in national events. As simple as it sounds the social media posts go a long way in creating an emotional connect where audiences are more likely to return for newer posts featuring Colonel Sanders.