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Approaching Seasonal Selling for Advertising Effectiveness That Lasts

A look at how to counter the noise and sustain the wins of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Following the mad rush to the mall on Black Friday (that I wouldn’t ever consider doing unless I was given a free GoPro that I used to make a first-person mockumentary that won an Academy Award that subsequently launched a successful filmmaking career), Cyber Monday then is the time when consumers stuffed with research find the best deals by holiday shopping online. Digital traffic surges on Cyber Monday, as morning reports today will once again show, so the question becomes how can marketers stand out of the clutter to take advantage of this flow and sustain the benefit to the period beyond the target day itself?

Those who are successful not only will have landed huge sales, but also seized the opportunity to build customer engagement. With continued growth in mobile usage and plentiful opportunities to advertise to consumers, here are a few advertising ideas that allow marketers to take advantage and extend the life of holiday seasonally driven traffic.

Mobile Drives Research and Purchases

Even before we address the power of mobile video during this period, it’s impossible to ignore the prevailing value of mobile itself. It is easier, faster, and much more convenient for consumers to shop from their smartphones or tablets than stationary devices. Mobile is a powerful research tool, allowing consumers to investigate before going online to make direct purchases. Apple Pay will only further this trend, allowing armed consumers to compare, browse, shop, purchase, and ship all from their connected devices. As we make note of the trend, marketers need to thoughtfully tap into this influx of shopping on connected devices. Reaching consumers requires that we diversify our methods, all while staying brand consistent, in order to catch their attention and stand out from the clutter. In-app commerce activity is also at a hilt, with more consumers comfortable engaging and executing purchases here. So interactivity options are ever more important, with social media sharing and a clean path to purchase that does not distract from consumer experience also becoming expectations.

Press Play on Video

Video is a strong vehicle to increase awareness around specific Cyber Monday sales and promotions—something we saw a lot of this year. Short videos of product demonstrations, behind-the-scenes snapshots of your company, teasing upcoming deals, and holiday preparation are proving to be effective ways to engage your target audience. Mobile video is the ideal forum for interactivity and learning. We saw more advertisers take advantage of mobile’s unique capacity for sight, sound, and motion, through video product demonstrations that capture attention and product engagement amid the noise and draw attention to deals. YouTube has an entire channel dedicated to people unwrapping presents, so it’s safe to say that retailers and product makers have taken notice.

When creating videos, successful marketers keep socialization top of mind. Video sharing can achieve extreme scale beyond an advertiser’s paid media spend, driving earned media value. This year, we cannot help but note through the entire period surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday that mobile video is at the fore, powered by stronger tech than ever before, bringing an even greater capacity for engagement. Social media turns regular consumers into brand advocates, which helps others in their networks cut through the clutter through virtual high-velocity word-of-mouth.

Leverage New Ad Products and Formats

The best way to stand above the fray is through impactful, differentiated creative executions. Gone are the days when consumers are moved by banner ads, which have been supplanted by big splashy rich media units and custom video executions. Videos with customized interactivity buttons, bold overlays, social sharing, and intriguing end cards are key to maximizing return on investment (ROI). Regardless of the chosen advertising, winning creative communicates the message clearly in both form and content.

A few words to the wise for any format…Holiday imagery and large text are a powerful combination for communicating a sale, amid the noise. This is no time to be cute. Advertisers are going bold during this period, and will sustain the benefits of gained attention for time to come. Those who succeed and sustain, will have captured attention and gotten people tapping their fingers. Limiting the timeframe consumers have to act is also another effective method. Highly appealing, limited-time offers don’t give consumers the ability to do endless research and potentially find something more compelling.

Cross-Platform Retargeting

Retargeting during this period increases the likelihood of people returning to your site and eventually making the purchase. As consumers move around the Web, over the remaining key weeks to come, they will be reminded of your product and your offer, and be more likely to convert. Cross-platform marketing allows advertisers to be everywhere that consumers are, all day long, a capacity that affords us constant opportunity to make contact at influential moments within the mix.

Always Add Value for Consumers

The best way to stand out of the clutter of course is to deliver value. The most popular way of doing this is to provide a quality discount and a unique value proposition, as to why consumers should choose a certain brand amongst the endless options. This is an extremely effective strategy given the rate of comparison shopping that takes place leading up to and through Cyber Monday. It’s simple: consumers choose the best deal.

While Cyber Monday has been used historically to describe the online side of the retail shopping surge, the rise of connectivity and mobile devices is quickly blurring the lines between traditional retail-focused Black Friday and online-focused Cyber Monday. Many consumers even use mobile devices to comparison shop within retail environments. Today’s shopping experience is now becoming a unified channel where innovative retailers are creating seamless shopping experiences across mobile, desktop, brick-and-mortar, and television. Marketers endeavor to execute offer, message, and creative in a way that increasingly rises above the rest, driving more engagement and profitable sales. As for me, because my GoPro promotion didn’t come through, I will follow my usual routine of shopping on Christmas Eve — a peaceful time when the shops aren’t crowded, good deals abound, and the whole process can be completed in about 45 decisive minutes including travel time.