According to Jeremy Hull, director of paid search at digital performance marketing agency iProspect, this year is especially interesting because marketers are constrained by the 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas (the shortest shopping season in 10-plus years.)
Additionally, consumer behaviors have changed such that Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which used to be a signal for businesses to drop their prices, now are “bleeding into the days around them,” according to Hull. Today’s marketing campaigns must be more nuanced to account for cross-channel behaviors. “The combination of the shorter shopping season and customers interacting with a lot more channels means that they’re not just behaving as predictably in previous times,” Hull said.
According to a recent eMarketer report, digital ad spending in the retail vertical is expected to continue its upward growth pattern, hitting an estimated $9.5 billion by the end of the year. A majority of that spend is attributed to marketing to holiday shoppers with an estimated 23.5% of ecommerce sales expected to occur in the months of November and December.
Echoing Kenshoo’s data was eMarketer’s prediction that key retail marketing investments will be in mobile advertising, “particularly search,” as well as mobile display and targeting through platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
With increased mobile penetration, mobile ad networks are ramping up exchange-based buying capabilities, which will open up more mobile inventory to marketers. Millennial Media’s team-up with AppNexus to form mobile ad exchange Millennial Media Exchange, as well as Twitter’s acquisition of mobile ad exchange MoPub, are just a few examples.
Mobile RTB will only heat up and clear differences between types of mobile device are emerging. Accordant Media, for instance, found tablet ads outperformed handheld ads to the tune of six times in reaching cost-per-acquisition goals.
Although iProspect’s agency heritage is in search, increasingly, mobile, social and programmatic display are viable areas of adoption as well, evidence of marketers’ shifting budgets. The agency has seen “significant growth in participation and interest” from retail clients with regard to programmatic media buying, Hull said.
“Quality is becoming more important than quantity and it’s not [sticking to] behavioral buying or lookalike targeting,” Hull said. Retailers “who are really performance-based [are going programmatic] because it’s more quantifiable and controllable than just the ‘get your ad in front of a bunch of eyeballs.’”