This holiday season, pandemic-driven online shopping behaviours will shape how marketers approach their holiday campaigns. With pandemic restrictions evolving across North America, many consumers are sticking with their newly established online shopping habits. Consumers are increasingly spending time on their smartphones, and m-commerce sales are expected to grow 15.2% by the end of 2021. As a result, in-store retail sales are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels.
With less time spent in-store for product discovery, brands need to ensure they are found online this Q4. Brand awareness campaigns will be key to keeping your brand top-of-mind during this digitally crowded time. With programmatic audio, connected TV (CTV) and new rich media display formats, you can stand out to shoppers in a competitive, saturated digital environment.
Speak to Your Audience With Programmatic Audio
An audio ad quite literally speaks to the audience, which makes digital audio a great channel for building brand awareness and conveying brand personality. Use this channel during the holidays to reach new consumers in moments when they are receptive to brand discovery.
Digital audio commands the listener’s full attention. Listeners feel intimately connected to the content they are hearing, which allows for a better connection between a listener and a brand. When an ad comes on, a listener is more receptive, which creates the opportunity to drive engagement.
Audio listeners also have buying power. Nielsen recently reported that the average household income of podcast listeners was $80k+. If implemented across the correct show categories, users will view ads as authentic and unintrusive, which in turn creates a positive customer experience.
Because of programmatic audio’s engaging nature, it’s the perfect channel for discovery. Listeners will be receptive to hearing about products or services that they haven’t encountered or purchased before. And, the personal nature of audio also results in ads having a lasting and memorable effect, which means a higher rate of ad recall.
Targeting on programmatic audio is very similar to channels you’re likely already familiar with. It uses the same audience targeting parameters from your native, display, video and CTV campaigns, but with the option to fine-tune your targeting even further. You can use data from audio partners to target specific genres, niches, and demographics, which allows you to match your ads to a mood, a genre, or topic, allowing you to reach the target audience of your holiday campaign.
Reach Active Viewers with Connected TV
CTV is a valuable channel because it allows you to reach your audience in moments that they are highly engaged. When watching streamed content on a CTV device, a viewer has made the active choice to watch the programming, and in most cases they don’t have the option to fast forward or skip the ads. Similar to audio, CTV captures the full attention of your audience, making it the perfect channel for discovery during the holiday season.
CTV ads come with other benefits, too. They provide a way to reach cord-cutting households, which are a quickly growing market. In 2020, over 6 million US households cut the cord with pay-TV, bringing the total number of cord-cutter households to 31.2 million. Now, 80% of US households have at least one CTV device. With the adoption of CTV accelerating, now is the perfect time to onboard this channel and experiment with using it for your holiday brand awareness campaigns.
CTV is a valuable addition to your holiday campaign strategy because it provides access to the open internet, and enhanced targeting and inventory selection. You can deliver ads to audiences that are generally hard-to-reach, as well as highly specific audiences. Ultimately, this will improve audience quality this holiday season.
By increasing ad relevance to match consumer preferences you can also help bridge the gap between other online and offline behaviours. Additionally, CTV ads will be a great prospecting tool for e-commerce, as it allows brands to further distinguish themselves and reduce banner blindness.
Use Interactive Ads in Your Holiday Campaign
During the holiday season, make use of creative ad formats that are interactive in your holiday campaign to capture attention from your target audience and build awareness for your brand. An interactive ad invites the user to perform an action in order to have something revealed within the ad itself, or to navigate towards a specific landing page.
This interactive element adds a level of precision and complexity that isn’t achieved through static display ads. Whether the action is hovering or clicking—the audience is typically given instruction to explore the ad for more details. This interactive viewer experience is a unique way to uplift and complement your digital strategy during the holiday season.
These are some interactive creative formats that can benefit campaigns during the holiday shopping season:
- Discovery ads: Pose a question to the user to determine their interests or opinions, based on a topic you’ve chosen. All clicks can be tracked to create retargeting pools and products in the carousels can click out to unique product pages to reduce the path to conversion. As data privacy becomes more mainstream, brands are going to look for information volunteered from shoppers to make educated decisions and improve the customer experience.
- Shoppable video: This ad format showcases products in use while allowing the user to browse right in the banner. Shoppable video ads reduce the steps that a user must take between awareness and conversion. Products can click out directly to their individual pages for a frictionless shopping experience.
- Dynamic countdown ads: The holiday season is busy with many important dates. With countdown ads, you can make sure your audience is aware of your sales. And, a dynamic countdown unit will help create a sense of urgency for your audience to perform an action. Consider adding an “Add to Calendar” button, which allows users to save the date directly from the ad to Google, iCal, Yahoo or Windows Live.
Interactive ads like these help to boost brand awareness during this season of brand discovery, and bring extra benefits too: They provide much needed convenience for consumers. As product discovery moves online, creatives can be leveraged to guide shoppers closer to a purchase, while also providing insights on the customer journey.
Interactive ads can also help you to find out exactly who your prospects are and what they are looking for. This will help increase your scale and also allow you to discover your target market in a more specific and individualized way.
‘Tis the Season to be Discovered
During the holidays people are open to exploring new products and services. As they shop for family, friends, and themselves, shoppers are looking to discover new brands, and are more willing to give them a try. These channels and formats are ideal for helping you to reach those shoppers who are in a receptive frame of mind.
Once you’ve run your campaigns across audio, CTV, and using interactive ads, you can leverage a retargeting strategy to move your target audience through the marketing journey. For example, retarget users to serve ads that feature the exact item a user viewed on your website as a result of your brand awareness campaign. Along with custom messaging, this retargeting strategy reminds the user of the product they showed interest in throughout their online journey.
Download our Holiday Guide to to learn about the trends that are top-of-mind for advertisers this year and actionable recommendations to consider when planning a winning holiday campaign.