Monday, November 16th, 2015 | 9 min read
Think it’s too late to start your holiday advertising campaigns? Think again. According to Twitter, 41% of consumers wait until the last half of December to finish their holiday shopping.
With stores putting up Christmas decorations before Halloween, marketers might feel like their winter ad strategies have to be ready in August. But here’s the secret: November is not too late to drive holiday sales on social media. In fact, with 81% of Q4 shopping growth coming from e-commerce activities, it might be just the right time to put your social strategy in action—particularly on Twitter.
This holiday season, Twitter projects that millions of tweets will be sent about holiday shopping on Black Friday (12.5M), Cyber Monday (6M), and two days before Christmas (5M), up 20% each year since 2013.1 And these tweets aren’t just 140-character posts blowing in the wind. Many have played and can continue to play a significant part in driving holiday sales.
The social network also found that, when considering purchase decisions, consumers are now influenced by social media more than almost any other element, with Twitter leading the charge at 61%. Additionally, 78% of users have taken action after seeing retail content on Twitter.
Evidently, if you’re feeling behind on your holiday social strategy, there is a simple solution: Start engaging your consumers on Twitter. That’s where they’ll be researching purchase decisions and tweeting about their choices. Still, what might not be so simple is figuring out just how to reach them and what to say once you have their attention.
Here’s what you need to know to boost your holiday ad strategy, one tweet at a time.
First, it’s important to pinpoint how your audience uses Twitter during the holiday season, as well as where Twitter usage falls in the buying cycle. This way, you can make the most informed decisions about how to execute your strategy.
According to Twitter, users come to the platform for different reasons each month. For instance, in November, people tweet about shopping experiences and tentpole events, such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. In December, users share their shopping statuses, including information about last-minute gift shopping.
Marketers would be wise to use this information to launch timely offers that will make last-minute shoppers’ lives easier, such as 72-hour sales and on-time delivery for people who complete their purchases online.
For instance, Kohl’s took the opportunity to promote tweets about Cyber Week deals, like this one:
— Kohl’s (@Kohls) December 6, 2014
Additionally, Twitter found that 54% of retail shoppers check their feeds while shopping in a retail store. By engaging Twitter users, marketers can be sure they’re speaking to their consumers not only before they purchase but also right up to the time where they make their buying decisions.
Now that you know why consumers come to Twitter before the holidays, here’s how you can position your brand to drive sales via the social network.
As the parent company of Vine and Periscope, Twitter knows a thing or two about engaging consumers with video. When it comes to driving sales, the social network found that customer recall and purchase intent increased 3.4x and 17% respectively among users who viewed a promoted video.
For marketers looking to reach holiday shoppers with video, best practices include adding an attention-grabbing thumbnail and aligning your broadcast media buy with the Twitter TV Targeting feature.
For example, Best Buy incorporated video into its holiday 2014 #HintingSeason campaign, which encouraged followers to use the hashtag and tweet about what they wanted for the holidays. Best Buy then granted the wishes of six lucky tweeters, and even filmed three of the special deliveries. The company also tapped tapped Vine stars like Manon Mathews and the Eh Bee Family to create funny videos for the campaign.
— Best Buy (@BestBuy) November 25, 2014
By using Twitter’s event targeting capabilities, marketers can join (and perhaps lead) the conversation around a major event that has people tweeting. Event targeting campaigns allow advertisers to size up the audience of participants, set a date range before launching a promoted tweet, and customize content to include relevant hashtags.
To be sure it was leading the social chatter around its annual Thanksgiving Day parade, Macy’s planned several tweets that promoted the TV program as well as online and in-store sales.
— Macy’s (@Macys) November 17, 2014
As the most customizable Twitter Ad feature, direct response campaigns allow marketers to drive website traffic, email signups, and online purchases with promoted tweets and Website Cards.
Want to track visits and conversions to shopping carts and holiday wish lists? Target Twitter users by interests, audiences similar to your followers, and subscriber lists. Once your message pops up in their feed, grab their attention with call-to-action buttons such as “Shop Now” and “Read More.”
For instance, Target drove foot traffic to its in-store sales with promoted tweets such as this one:
— Target (@Target) December 5, 2014
Shoppers spend more time online than ever before. And they’re not just browsing; they’re also buying. As Twitter found, 47% of retail shoppers used a mobile phone to make a retail purchase this year, up from 30% in 2013. In fact, 90% of retail consumers use multiple screens before completing the buying process. As such, marketers should be sure that their tweets and brand pages can catch users’ attention on all devices. One of the best ways to do this is to test campaigns separately on desktop and mobile to figure out what users respond to on each platform.
For marketers first launching their holiday ad campaigns in Q4, last-minute shoppers can be a goldmine. The best way to target these procrastinators is to give them what they need to cross off their shopping lists quickly and efficiently. For instance, the end of November and beginning of December is the perfect time to promote gift cards, in-store pickup, and same-day delivery.
By being open to your customers’ interests, concerns, and needs, you show that you hear them and that you’re committed to helping. As Twitter found, 92% of users who receive a response from a retailer feel more positive toward the brand.
Does a Twitter user have a question about a certain sale? Send them a tweet with what they need to know. Did someone offer a positive review of your product? Give them a shoutout. Is a customer having an issue with one of your services? Reach out to help.
In other words, you already know where your consumers are going to share their shopping experiences and make purchase decisions. All you have to do is be there when they scroll through their feed.
Whether you’re looking to engage last-minute shoppers, boost a big holiday sale, or meet your Q4 quota, it’s never too late to launch new holiday campaigns on Twitter. And with features such as event targeting and promoted tweets, sharing the perfect message with the right people doesn’t get much easier—especially during crunch time.
1. All statistics in this post, unless otherwise noted, come from a Twitter report titled “Twitter Official Partners Retail + Holiday Event,” published in 2015.
About the Author: Amanda Walgrove writes about content marketing, social media, and online entertainment. She has written for Advertising Week, The Huffington Post, Tablet Magazine, and The Content Strategist, among others.