It seems as if the holiday season begins earlier and earlier each year, driven by a must-have designer purse, the latest children’s toy, or the hottest new technology.
To keep pace with consumers, retailers are constantly evolving their strategy to include new and innovative campaigns. For this reason, mobile advertising was an important contributor to the holiday 2011 season, where we saw 38 percent of mobile shoppers make a purchase directly from their mobile device, and 46 percent conduct research on their device but visit the retail location to ultimately make that purchase.
Thanks to a flood of mobile device sales throughout the year, mobile is poised to play an even more crucial role during the 2012 holiday season. So how should retailers prepare?
Market Nationally, Shop Locally
The holiday shopping process begins long before shoppers enter a store. You can’t find the best gift without zeroing in on the best place to buy it.
According to a report by the National Retail Federation, 30 percent of mobile device owners utilize their device to look up retailer info such as location, store hours, and directions, while shopping during the Holiday season. Sure you can leave that process up to the user as they utilize search engines and local directory applications – but who’s to say they won’t stumble upon your competitor in the process?
A recent study conducted by xAd in partnership with Nielsen, found that 83 percent of mobile users are more likely to engage with advertising that is relevant to their current search needs and their expectations of proximity. So why not give holiday shoppers what they want?
Mobile ad creative should provide users with the information they want, while allowing advertisers the flexibility and performance they need. Mobile search and display advertisements should include relevant creative based on ever-changing factors such as a user’s location, time of day, day or week, daily specials and promotions.
This means that Randy in New York City will see an add promoting the season’s most popular hot coffee drink available just half a mile away, while Sally in Phoenix will see an ad for a free iced coffee with bagel purchase. (Because it’s impossible to bear the scavenger hunt and subsequent mile-long check-out lines that come with holiday shopping without being fully caffeinated)
Once a mobile holiday shopper has been driven to visit a retail location with dynamic mobile creative, 75 percent of those users will access their device while shopping in-store (Google), 59 percent of whom explored better pricing and 43 percent browsed product reviews (InsightExpress). This dreaded phenomenon, deemed showrooming, has been seen as a threat in recent years.
Rather than finding ways to inhibit the act of showrooming – a truly lost cause –retailers can instead guide the trend and users’ mobile research process back toward their brand.
By leveraging a combination of accurate location signals and mobile user search behavioral data, advertisers have the ability to exclusively target consumers currently in or within the proximity of their store locations, or those of their competitors. Therefore mobile ads should be relevant to the coupons, promotions, and product info available at each retailer location.
From these location-specific mobile ads, customers can then click through to the retailer’s mobile application or website where they can engage further, enhancing their entire in-store experience. By proactively giving customers what they want, retailers can take a much more active role in the mobile user research process and ultimate purchase decision of their holiday customers.
Whether ultimately transacting in-device or in-store, holiday shoppers expect a mobile-optimized experience when engaging with retailer advertising within their device – though many retailers are without mobile-optimized websites or landing pages to accompany their advertising.
Along with locally relevant ad creative, it’s imperative that advertisers develop mobile landing pages specific to each store location, special event, promotion, or any other location specific campaign message.
Effective, location-specific mobile landing pages provide users with quick and relevant information regarding their nearest retail location. But mobile landing pages also benefit advertisers by allowing them to track how mobile users prefer to interact with the brand or product, based on the multiple access points available within the mobile landing page (e.g., map and driving directions download, click to call, click to access coupons, product reviews).
Already have a mobile-optimized website? Then holiday ad campaigns should deep link to the appropriate product or location-specific pages within your mobile site, providing mobile users with a seamless transition from ad to info, avoiding the long process of accessing a store locator, or searching around for the appropriate deals and products.
For these reasons and more, a fully mobile-optimized holiday experience is an essential component of any holiday campaign and can truly guide users as they complete their path to purchase.
Santa spends all year getting ready for the next holiday – luckily the mobile industry has a number of tools and technology available to develop an effective, performance-focused campaign with a much shorter timeline.