Holiday Season Digital Marketing Gets Smarter in 2017

The 2017 holiday season is looking to be APAC’s largest yet as markets such as India, Malaysia and the Philippines see surging year-on-year growth in disposable income. This is driving a record increase in spending, both offline and online – ecommerce in APAC is projected to break past US$1 trillion this year, while overall retail spend closes in on US$10 trillion. For marketers, the challenge is to capitalise on this growth by thinking long-term.

Q4 consumer spending in the region typically rises sharply. Malaysia leads with 88% higher spend than other quarters, while Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines see an increase of 30% to 70%. As a result, platforms such as Snapchat, Google and Facebook see competitive spending in the quarter as advertisers look to promote their holiday season offerings. However, purchases and conversions can continue into the new year. In January 2017, online purchases grew 17%, which suggests an opportunity to grow sales further with strategic ad spend. The customer journey continues long after the holidays are over, and so should digital marketing activity.

Holiday shopping goes omnichannel

Holiday season consumer behaviour is channel agonistic. Between key dates: Singles’ Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Pre-Christmas and Pre-Lunar New Year, buyers alternate between online and offline retail, with purchase intent shifting from gift-buying to personal use. On Google, markets such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore see a spike in searches which lead to sales in November to December. Similarly, Snapchat reports users are 31% more likely to search online for holiday shopping inspiration.

While the average time to convert is 7 days, the multitude of touch points along the holiday shopping period presents an opportunity to re-engage and grow customer loyalty. Learn each customer’s preferences early in the holiday season to progressively personalise their offers and leverage that data to drive repeat purchases.

Facebook Canvas ads get smarter

We’ve previously shared how immersive mobile formats such as Facebook Canvas boosts performance. Lead Ads being available on Canvas lays the foundation for more personalised engagement in future. Using Lead Ads on Canvas, viewers can seamlessly subscribe to a brand in one click. This enables future engagement with customised offers based on their preferences with the aim of boosting sales. For instance, a pre-holiday season Lead Ad can be shown to a lookalike audience based on existing repeat buyers, to create a larger pool of potential consumers for a holiday season campaign. After a consumer subscribes, various ads can then be tested to hone in on their preferences and increase conversion.

Advertisers can also run Facebook Collection Canvas Ads to creatively feature multiple products. To support the omnichannel shopping experience, Collection Canvas Ads can lead people to either start shopping with a call-to-action, or use a store locator to buy offline. Based on the product that led the viewer to the call to action, advertisers can also use data to better understand what works and apportion marketing budgets accordingly.

Data-driven upselling to existing customers

Regardless of platform, one way to better understand audience preferences is value-based optimisation, targeting ads towards audiences likely to convert at a specific price point. By testing multiple creatives for different price ranges, advertisers can segment out high spenders. These high-value customers could be open to upselling, for instance with ads offering exclusive closed-door sales or loyalty bonuses. At the same time, ads can also be optimised for price-conscious buyers to drive efficiency, such as retargeting them during the post-Christmas clearance period.

On Facebook specifically, advertisers can also target Value-based Lookalikes, which can help acquire more high-value customers. Value-based Lookalikes can be used in conjunction with creatives based on the motivations of existing high-value customers – whether they buy based on a product’s advantages, or for exclusivity, to engage prospective new buyers with a more compelling offer. Early bird customers in the holiday season can therefore be used to acquire new customers during Black Friday, 12.12 and beyond.

Plan ahead for 2018

As platforms become more integrated and data-driven, personalised marketing becomes a necessity. Features such as Lead Ads and Value-based targeting enable precise segmentation of audiences based on intent and behaviour. When customers interact with your brand throughout the holiday season, each touch point provides even more data to understand and customise offers for existing buyers, or target entirely new audiences. For marketers, the holiday season may still be about ending the year with a bang, but increasingly, it is also about preparing for further success in coming year.

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