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ROBERTSON: 'It's the most wonderful time of the year'

As the classic song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Each year, some folks get stressed, especially when it seems the holiday season gets here faster and ads appear as early as September.

Realizing many people don’t like to have their holiday season rushed upon them, K-Mart launched an ad campaign in September poking fun at this idea. K-Mart’s fun, yet effective ads have shown consumers the economic benefits of saving money on purchases without having to wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday,

Ads can be fun, sentimental, strange and more.

Think of some iconic holiday ads over the years: the Coca-Cola print ad from 1931 featuring the Santa image that set the stage for future Santa images appearing today in electronic and digital media; Budweiser’s Clydesdales in the snow; M&M’s “they do exist” campaign; and Target’s tribute to a frenzied Black Friday with its crazy lady shopper.

In contrast to a hectic Black Friday, some brands, such as REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) are making a name for themselves by marketing the opposite. REI is closing its stores on Black Friday, encouraging consumers to “#optoutside,” a viral social campaign that has ultimately brought more attention to the brand.

It’s no secret we live in a fast-paced world with increased demands on our time and more methods of communication competing for our attention. The same holds true for business owners and consumers. After all, aren’t we all consumers in some form or another? Let’s take a look at some purchasing highlights.

Recently, the National Retail Federation predicted November and December sales (except for restaurants, autos and gas) would increase 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion, with holiday sales making up about 19 percent of retail’s annual sales. The federation also forecasts online sales to increase 6-8 percent, up to $105 billion.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Green Monday are creating even more purchasing opportunities for consumers. Perhaps that’s why some experts think shopping moments will replace marathon-shopping adventures. That is, rather than setting out for an exhausting day of shopping, shoppers may turn to their mobile and other devices to make holiday purchases.

Marketing Land featured a study with helpful insights for businesses preparing for this busy season. Examining a year’s worth of Facebook advertising and corresponding same-day purchases across more than 100 e-commerce brands, the study’s findings are noted below.

In 2014, purchases from mobile devices rose 140 percent from non-holiday levels. Fifteen percent of mobile purchases made between January and October 2014 were completed the same day a user viewed or clicked on a Facebook ad; that number jumped to 36 percent from November through December.

Studies show shifts in the amount of purchases made from consumers’ desktops. Purchases made from desktops rose 182 percent for females and 233 percent for males during the holiday season.

The highest percentage of purchases is noted between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. This time slot holds true during the holiday season and other times.

During the holidays, weekends are the most active purchasing days. As for the rest of the year, weekdays are the most active. The rationale is that outside of the holidays, purchasers are usually getting items for themselves and in doing so, purchases are more likely “impulse-based.”

Before the holidays, test your creative content, ad focus and bid strategy to see how you can get more customers to purchase from you during those morning hours. Use what you learn in advance testing. Then, leverage those insights to help focus on similarly timed purchases when the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear.

 

This column was compiled by Karen Robertson, director of Public Relations and Client Development at Robertson & Markowitz Advertising & Public Relations Inc. She can be reached at karen@robmark.com or 912-921-1040.

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