The holidays shopping season is almost here. Last year, online sales grew 13.9% during the holiday season and that number is poised to grow exponentially this year. Retailers must put a plan in place now to take advantage of this surge in shopping.

To help, the AdRoll retail team has prepared a list of 10 holiday planning tips every digital marketer can use to crush it this season:

1. Perform a Systems Check-Up

Nothing will stop a stellar digital marketing campaign in its tracks faster than a glitch in your measurement, tracking or conversion tags. Make sure your team performs a thorough Q/A of your conversion tracking tags before the inevitable year-end code freeze.

2. Stay Competitive with Budget

The holiday season is when CPMs are at their highest. Prices can skyrocket by up to 50%. Make sure you’re prepared to increase budgets across all inventory sources. You don’t want to miss out on serving the right impression to the right customer. A good way to calculate your weekly budget is to take $0.10 x (monthly unique visitors). Plan to set aside more if you’re hoping to make a big holiday push. 

3. Define Your Creative Game Plan

At AdRoll, we’ve seen increased performance when advertisers leverage holiday themed imagery, promotions, and landing pages. Don’t get snowed in by not planning your holiday imagery and messaging early. Something as simple as adding festive snowflakes to your ads can help to connect with gift-givers in the holiday spirit.

4. Start early

CPMs are highest during Thanksgiving weekend, but you can take advantage of lower costs in October to get in front of shoppers who have already started to research online for holiday purchases. In fact, many consumers have already started their holiday shopping, and are looking for the best deals this season. Start scaling your campaigns in October to get in front of these users.

5. Increase Cookie Durations for Maximum Reach

Extend the reach of your ad campaigns and cast a wide net by increasing cookie duration. You will want to reach as many shoppers as possible during the holidays – including past purchasers who bought your products earlier in the year, that will now be looking for gifts. Loyalty campaigns are among the highest-performing we see at AdRoll. Increase cookie durations to 180 days reach these customers.

6. Increase ROI by Diversifying Inventory Sources

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 7.30.56 PMConsumers are cross-platform and cross-device. They go where they please, when it pleases them. This means you stand a greater chance at reaching them by extending your campaigns across all platforms and devices, with ads on Google, Facebook, Twitter, tablet and mobile.

7. Connect Email Audiences with CRM Retargeting

CRM retargeting lets you connect your CRM data (customer and prospect contact information, email lists, etc.) to online campaigns. Take advantage of your email lists to reach in-store shoppers online, engage users who signed up for a newsletter in a new way, or reconnect with last year’s holiday purchasers to share your latest products.

You can easily create a new CRM retargeting segment by uploading a .csv file in your AdRoll dashbaord.

You can easily create a new CRM retargeting segment by uploading a .csv file in your AdRoll dashbaord.

8. Mobilize Your Strategy

Last year, nearly one-half of online shopping traffic came from mobile. 56% of in-store sales were influenced by mobile activity. Be sure you are reaching your smartphone-first customers by toggling on Safari, Facebook mobile, and mobile app install ads in your campaigns.

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9. Get Personal with Dynamic Product Recommendations

Personalization gets attention: dynamic ads boost click-through rates up to 115% and provide up to 44% lift in ROI. Use dynamic creative to serve personalized ads across devices and feature previously viewed, recommended, or top products based on what an individual user has expressed interest in.

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10. Plan Ahead: Don’t Go Dark in January

The holiday season may end in December, but consumers will still have a lot of returns, gift cards and holiday bonuses to spend. With low CPMs in January, extend your holiday plan into January for additional ROI.

As the holiday shopping season continues to migrate from a “brick and mortar” to a “click and mortar” opportunity, you need to make every ad impression count. Use the tips above to ensure you’re prepared for the holiday rush.

Get in touch with us for more holiday planning tips to optimize your advertising campaigns this year!