Marin Software's official blog

4 Tips for a Successful Back to School & Holiday Shopping Season

Maria Breaux
|
July 20, 2016

Retailers know that the second half of the year is always more important than the first. The shopping season and back to school are crucial periods for brick-and-mortar and online stores—these are times when retailers need to capture consumers with sales and promotions, so that they’ll stay longer and buy more.

With advertisers over doubling their ad spend during the holiday season compared to the rest of the year, competition remains fierce. The 2015 holidays raked in over $100 billion for ecommerce alone. How can advertisers compete within this complex online marketplace?

Launch search shopping campaigns.


During the holiday season, we expect that shopping ad clicks will spike almost 400% when compared to the beginning of the year, and will account for one of every three clicks on a search ad.

By now, all retailers should be exploring shopping campaigns for their products. Not only do shopping ads perform better for search advertisers, they’re also competitive in price and particularly effective for mobile advertising. This is especially important since smartphones are now the device of choice for most shoppers.

While Google is the biggest player in the shopping ad market, be sure to consider Bing, which offers its own shopping ad format.

Expand into cross-channel advertising.


90% of social retail clicks come from mobile.

Although search is important, it’s not the only channel where retailers should advertise. Display and social are both vital channels to consider for how they interact with potential shoppers and audiences, and they're both much more heavily mobile than search. Combining search, social, and display allows advertisers to create a very powerful campaign that can target shoppers across channels more effectively and efficiently.

Play to device strengths.


About 40% of all retail advertising dollars will be spent on a smartphone this holiday season.

Understanding the strengths of each device is key to effectively spending advertising dollars. While desktop remains on top for converting an ad click into a purchase, the role of mobile devices in the conversion pathway is becoming better understood.

Many consumers treat mobile devices as a research tool, and while they may not convert directly to a purchase through a mobile click, there are ad types such as click-for-directions and click-to-call that contribute directly to an offline or later purchase.

Timing is everything.


Back to school clicks and conversions increased year-over-year by about 15% and 10%, respectively.

Timing campaigns appropriately allows you to reach the maximum number of people. For retailers, this is particularly important during the second half of the year. If you’re looking to reach the right audiences at the right time, be sure to take into account the day on which your campaigns go live.

The back to school click boost begins a month ahead of school, usually peaking about a week before school starts. For the holidays, it begins slightly earlier every year. We usually see consumer interest rise as soon as October ends or even slightly before, with steadily increasing impressions and clicks for retailers when compared to prior months until a peak in late November.

Read our full forecasts for this upcoming holiday season in our report, The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report.

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