The holiday season is coming soon, but the time for advertisers to gear up for their holiday campaigns is already upon us. For the retail and eCommerce marketers, it’s your time to shine—we can’t overemphasize the importance of putting together a detailed plan for your campaign.

Starting early is key, as the potential for online sales is huge.

According to a recent report from eMarketer, eCommerce’s total share of retail sales will reach a record of 11.5 percent in 2017. In parallel, Mobile eCommerce is expected to grow by 38% to account for 34.5% of all ecommerce sales in 2017.

With potential like that, you should be planning your online marketing campaigns early—but more importantly, it’s important to optimize your campaigns as you go so they run smoothly.

Paid social media and search campaigns are likely to already be a part of your holiday mix. Discovery is the channel you need to be focusing on for scale—Taboola can help you target both an audience that you know will be interested in a purchase, as well as those new audiences that scale.

Now is the time to start.

Last year in November and December, we saw lead generation content convert at over two times the yearly average. The click through rates (CTRs) for content at this time of year were 12.5 percent higher in December than the average for all 2016.

That’s a lot of potential cheddar. In this blog series, we’ll discuss how you plan, create and execute on these campaigns quickly for a successful holiday season.

The Ultimate Holiday Marketing Playbook (Broken Down by 11 Industries)

Understand your potential for success.

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You know that your potential for holiday sales are big, but just how big? Mapping out this potential is the first step towards budgeting and planning your content distribution strategy.

To show the potential change, we ran an analysis to show the difference in conversions on the Taboola network before and after the holiday season.

We compared the non-shipping season—before the holidays, August 24th to November 24th, and after the holidays, January 2nd to February 2nd—to prime shipping season, November 24th to January 2nd.

During these time periods, we looked at 6,775 campaigns with strong calls to action (CTAs). Here’s what we found:

During shopping season, there was a 52% increase in CTR.

The biggest increases happened for the following verticals:

  • Fashion: 226% increase
  • Pets: 181% increase
  • Auto: 146% increase
  • Home: 51% increase
  • Tech: 45%
  • Lifestyle: 25% increase

Knowing the extent of the scale you can generally hope to see allows you to effectively plan your conversion and revenue goals for the upcoming holiday season—the first step is making sure those goals are realistic.

Build a budget based on your most important metric for success.

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When you’re planning your holiday campaign on Taboola, you’ll want to first define your leading KPI—this is the metric, or metrics, that will be most important to you in your measurement of success.

Set this goal with at least a two-step budget in mind.

If your goal is sales, you’ll want to first allocate more budget to a wider audience to collect as much data as possible for insights on your best converting audience.

Second, you’ll want to optimize with targeting options like Data Marketplace or Retargeting to get the maximum value from your campaign.

Time your campaign around promotions, if relevant.

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A lot of retailers offer promotions or have sales during the lead up to the holidays. When planning the dates your campaign will run, you’ll want to determine your ability to offer certain promotions in that time period.

In addition to planning your campaigns around your promotion dates, tell your audience—add your promotion’s end data to the end of your creative for better performance.

If promotions will need to adjust in real-time, plan to build these creatives beforehand for easy adjustment as your campaign runs.

One last thing to build into your timeline—Don’t forget to plan for shipping.

We’ve seen some eCommerce companies make one simple mistake; they forget to stop running their campaigns in enough time to make shipping deadlines.

While of course there’s no harm in trying to drive sales after your holiday shipping date, your conversion rate could drop as people visit your site and realize they won’t receive gifts in time for the holidays.

Calculating your goals, planning your budgeting and building your timeline is just the first step. Next, you’ll need to build the creatives and landing pages for your holiday campaign. We’ll explore this in part two in our holiday series.

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