Mobile Matters This Holiday Season: Best Practices for Your Ad Campaign

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The holiday shopping season is kicking into high gear, and retailers are looking for ways to get a bigger piece of the holiday pie. This year, mobile is the star ingredient: A recent
NRF survey found that a record 56% of consumers plan to shop online for holiday gifts this year. And new Yahoo research revealed that 76% of smartphone owners plan to use their device for holiday shopping.

It’s clear that mobile must be an integrated part of any holiday advertising campaign this year, but brands also need to understand how to do this effectively. Mobile often serves as an awareness and research tool for consumers. In fact, four out of five people research products on their mobile devices at least once per week, but consumers often return to a desktop computer — or head into a store — to complete the final transaction. Why is this? Research we conducted in April with Kenshoo found that consumers described shopping on a computer as “fast, trustworthy, and uncomplicated.”

Still, mobile plays an important role in the path to purchase. It’s essential for retailers to incorporate mobile throughout the research, discovery and purchase process. To ensure your advertising strategy is optimized for the holidays, here are three best practices to reach and engage your customers in the moments that matter:


  • Think personalization and native ads. Only 30% of smartphone users say they’re being served ads that are relevant to them, which means there is still a huge opportunity for brands to leverage targeting effectively during the holiday season. Targeted native ads can help deliver the kind of relevant content that mobile users expect, while being a seamless part of the experience on a smaller mobile screen. Native is one way for brands to capture consumers’ attention with a brief message — and easily extend it across screens — to help drive to an in-store purchase. Ads that include information on discounts and free shipping often resonates with holiday shoppers who are on the lookout for the best deals. Our studies show that native ads deliver higher metrics in awareness, purchase intent, and likelihood to recommend a brand or product.
  • Stay top of mind with search advertising. Engage more consumers with ad extensions, which can extend the effectiveness of basic search ads by providing valuable information for searchers when they need it. For example, retailers with brick and mortar stores can use location and call extensions to drive shoppers to their stores. E-Commerce sites can create seasonally-themed sitelinks that can promote in-demand items, sales and deals. Our research shows that a search ad with extensions sees on average a 14% higher click-through rate than a standard text ad. And don’t forget the opportunities for search retargeting to reach in-market consumers across devices so that you can provide a continuous shopping experience and close the sale.
  • Don’t forget: It’s also about the timing. As holiday retail campaigns kick into full gear, brands can enhance their ongoing advertising efforts by focusing spend around specific dates — to move customers from awareness into stores or even online to make purchases. There is a big opportunity for brands to double down on their mobile strategies at key times such as Thanksgiving week. While people have more down time during this week, they are also spending leisure time on their mobile devices. Take advantage of this chance to connect with a large number of engaged shoppers, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as they head into stores or online to make their final purchases. And for those that are late to start their holiday shopping, don’t forget about your ad efforts on the last shipping day before Christmas. Overall, the retail brands that can connect with mobile users at the right time will have more success influencing their purchasing behavior.

If you’re looking to make this retail season merry and bright, don’t overlook the role mobile plays in the path to purchase. The most successful retail marketers will find ways to interact with consumers across multiple devices and screens in personalized and compelling ways.

 David Cleary is the Vice President and Industry Lead of Retail at Yahoo. David joined Yahoo in 2007. Previously, he worked in various lead sales roles at CNET, Ziff Davis Media and Data General. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Advertising Federation. He is a graduate of Marquette University.


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