Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 | 13 min read
There’s no place like Twitter for the holidays. It’s where consumers go to research purchase decisions, talk about their shopping experiences, and interact with brands. Last year alone there were over 280 million tweets about holiday shopping, and 61% of users say Twitter impacts their holiday purchase decisions more than other platforms like television and magazines.
Like shopping patterns themselves, the hot conversation topics on Twitter vary by month. 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.
Ready to start engaging your consumers on Twitter? Here’s what you need to know to boost your advertising strategy for the holidays, one tweet at a time.
Twitter sorts its suite of campaign types by objective. It’s up to you to choose what you want to accomplish with your holiday advertising. Let’s take a look at the options.
Drive conversations on Twitter by optimizing your ad for engagements, such as retweets, favorites, and replies. This is a great tool for building buzz around your holiday offerings and encouraging customers to interact with your messages.
For instance, Kohl’s took the opportunity to promote tweets about Cyber Week deals, like this one:
— Kohl's (@Kohls) December 6, 2014
To help brands drive even more engagement, Twitter recently announced its new conversational ad feature, which lets users answer questions from brands and share their responses with customizable hashtags. Once a user clicks on a button, they can choose to send a pre-crafted tweet about it to their followers or write their own tweet. This new tool allows brands to generate more earned media at no extra cost. By asking the right questions, marketers can also gain a better idea of which audiences are responding to certain products.
With these ads, anyone who clicks on the content of your tweet (such as an image) will be taken directly to your website. Want to drive sales on your online store and get people browsing through your holiday catalogue? This might be the best solution for you.
Your business may have an app that helps customers make purchases or get the most out of their product experiences. If that’s the case, you want to get your app in front of as many people as possible, especially during the holidays when many are overwhelmed with buying gifts. By launching an app install campaign, you can invite viewers to click on your add and be taken directly to a page where they can download your app.
You have 140 characters with which to promote your Twitter account: Go. Whether you choose to offer customers exclusive updates, discounts, or product offerings, running this campaign will help boost your follower count and build your Twitter community. This can be particularly helpful if you’re using your page to launch holiday contests, share special sales, and make important announcements about products and gifts. You can also run an always-on follower campaign to keep engaging your target audience even after the holiday shopping sprees are over.
Twitter recommends keeping these ads simple and to-the-point. Include the word “Follow” (to drive action) and avoid using links, hashtags, or other usernames.
With Lead Generation Cards, you can collect emails from your target audience directly on Twitter. These ad units include an engaging image, description, and call-to-action button, such as “Sign Up Now,” “Learn More,” or “Get Our Gift Guide.” With a simple click, users can submit their information and help you build that growing list of leads.
You can also create Website Cards to give users an easy way to visit your brand site. For example, retailer MVMT Watches launched Website Cards during the competitive holiday season to boost sales among Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers.
MVMT 15% Off Black Friday Sale! Save on our Entire Collection for a Limited Time. https://t.co/HdLRLi8qwk
— MVMT Watches (@mvmtwatches) November 26, 2015
Twitter recommends creating a sense of urgency with your Website Card: “Let shoppers know you’re having a 24-hour holiday sale or that you’re running out of your best sellers. You can even countdown the days left until a major holiday to remind them that it’s time to shop!” Take this ad from Sam’s Hot Sauce, for instance, which tells people they only have 15 days left to order gifts at 40% off.
Only 15 shopping days left! Are your gifts spicy enough? Shop our best-sellers; 40% off. https://t.co/XfuzV8J6Js
— Sam's Hot Sauce (@SamsHotSauce) September 8, 2015
In addition to the Website Card, Twitter provides Video App Cards, which let marketers promote their apps with engaging videos. There are also Instant Unlock Cards, which offer users exclusive content after they tweet about your brand. For instance, in exchange for tweeting #OneDayHolidaySale, you can give your customer a special 20%-off coupon or a first-look at your gift catalogue.
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 native Twitter video, best practices include adding an attention-grabbing thumbnail and aligning your broadcast media buy with the Twitter TV Targeting feature. Twitter also recommends including branding early in the video so users get the most important information in the first few seconds.
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 (@BestBuy) November 25, 2014
Best Buy then granted the wishes of six lucky tweeters and even filmed three of the special deliveries. The company also tapped Vine stars like Manon Mathews and the Eh Bee Family to create funny videos for the campaign.
With a strong lead generation strategy, you can drive customers to make purchases and establish the ROI of your ads. This is especially crucial during the holidays, when marketing competition is fierce. To that end, Twitter provides tools, metrics, and analytics to help you make the most of your ad campaigns.
Through Twitter’s ad platform, marketers can target their audiences by gender, language, device, service carrier, keywords, interests, behaviors, and users similar to their followers. They can also create tailored audiences of people from their own email lists and databases.
Advertisers can even target by events through Twitter’s events calendar. Maybe there’s a big holiday show coming up that you know your customers will watch. You can create targeted, timely ads to reach them as they tweet during the event.
To connect with customers who have already interacted with your brand, tap into Twitter’s retargeting tools. For instance, you can get your message in front of people who have visited your website, used your app, or signed up for your newsletter. This way, you can deliver personalized messaging and give customers a nudge to complete the buyer journey.
Yellow Shoe Shop, for example, boosted online holiday sales by targeting users who still had items in their shopping carts.
Traveling home for the holidays? Put your best foot forward with new heels.https://t.co/0PI13S6IZn
— The Yellow Shoe Shop (@YellowShoeShop) September 11, 2015
In order to run retargeting ads or track users who convert to your website, you’ll have to set up online conversion tracking. You can do this by planting a conversion tag on your website page of choice. Then, Twitter can simply track users who visit that page by clicking through your ad. This not only lets you see how successful your ads are, but it also lets you isolate that group of converted customers and deliver more personalized messaging just for them.
If you’re not sure where to start with your targeting, try Twitter’s audience insights tool to learn more about your followers’ interests, buying styles, and even household incomes.
Once you have your campaigns set up, you can measure their success through Twitter’s analytics dashboard. Based on the type of ads you’re running, you’ll be able to measure a combination of link clicks, influencers, installs, retweets, engagements, and impressions. You can also segment your results by targeting criteria to see which demographics responded best to your messaging. With these metrics on-hand, you’ll be ready to optimize your campaigns for peak performance and reach customers in the most effective ways.
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 last 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 how users respond to each platform.
According to Twitter, 41% of consumers wait until the last half of December to finish their holiday shopping. This means that last-minute shoppers can be a goldmine for marketers. 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.
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 feeds.
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 like event targeting and promoted tweets, sharing the perfect message with the right people doesn’t get much easier—especially during crunch time.