3 Most Important Questions for Holiday 2017

The holiday season is officially upon us, and for many brands, it’s a critical time for their business. The pressure is on for marketers to deliver not just impressions and brand lift, but maximum conversions and direct sales revenue.

We asked the leadership team at AdColony, the largest independent mobile ad platform, about what needs to be top of mind – and what actions need to taken – during the 2017 holiday season.

Why are the holidays such a critical time for brands – and how must marketers’ mindset shift during this period?

Q4 is such a ‘make or break’ time for so many brands, not just traditional retailers. With as much as 40% of of business occurring during this time – and about a third of total holiday business occurring digitally, if brands do not have a strong mobile presence, they’re leaving significant opportunity on the table.

  • Ryan Griffin, SVP Strategy

The holidays are just a crazy time – there is no other way to put it. It’s really about volume, reaching as many people as you can. Consumers are being bombarded with brand messaging, and direct response advertisers in every vertical, not just retail, are running in high gear. With so much competition, it’s all the more important to cover your bases. Are you taking every single opportunity, every mobile touchpoint, to reach your customer? If you’re not, your competition surely is.

  • Jude O’Connor, VP Brand & Agency Performance

What are some new, innovative advertising experiences that you’re seeing this year?

Interactive video ads have opened up a whole new world for retail. Rather than having to rely on targeting to serve ads for, say, men’s shirts from Target strictly to men (for themselves) or women (who are buying presents for men) we can scale the campaign to both genders and let them choose what they want to see. So, a guy could be watching a video and choose to tap on a button-down shirt to get product information, or switch over to the women’s clothing or jewelry section to shop for his wife or girlfriend. It’s not just more efficient for the advertiser, it also provides a stronger sense of choice for the consumer.

And, going into 2018, with the arrival of the iPhone X and its augmented reality capabilities, I think we’ll see progressive brands lean in to AR experiences. Brands will be able to lay their own filter over the real world and provide value-add information and relevant products to the user depending on where they are. A mobile user on a camping trip, for instance, could get tent-building instructions from an outdoor brand like REI or LL Bean, or pan the scenery and read weather signals to pop-up just the right jacket for that environment.

  • Doug Manson, VP Creative

 What should brands do to avoid the post-holiday sales drop?

This year, there’s been a clear trend toward programmatic buying in Q4. While many brand performance advertisers are pleased in the short-term about what programmatic can do for them to achieve Q4 goals, I believe that there is still value to be had in developing more strategic direct-response campaigns going into 2018.

For the first time, smartphone and tablet visits to retail sites will eclipse desktop – Adobe predicts as much of an 8% difference in favor of mobile. Now that mobile is the majority, I think we’re going to see even retail brands that were late to digital start to prioritize their mobile presence, not just over the holidays, but throughout their entire annual marketing and sales cycles.

  • Jude O’Connor, VP Brand & Agency Performance

If you carefully study the ups and downs of the market in and around the New Year, you can leverage the rise or fall in demand – and competition. I’ve seen many performance marketers, for instance, successfully scale their campaigns up in the weeks before the big holiday push, and then pull back their campaigns for the last week or two – while others throw everything they have into advertising, only to come back with a vengeance in the early weeks of the New Year as many other advertisers are winding down their holiday spends. It all comes down to testing and discovering what works for their specific needs and ROAS goals.

  • Tim O’Neil, VP Performance, North America