Halloween Tricks and Treats for Digital Marketers

The back-to-school shopping season is coming to a close and with that begins the most important time of year for marketers everywhere: the holidays.

While it’s not quite time to start decking the halls, it is time to stock shelves with candy and a costume or two in time for Halloween, which kicks off the holiday season for advertisers. In 2014, more than $7.4 billion was spent on Halloween: costumes for everyone from kids to pets, candy, parties, decorations, and do-it-yourself projects. That’s a 6 percent increase over the previous year, with the average shopper spending about $78. Also, what was once a kids-only holiday is no longer: two-thirds of adults celebrated Halloween in 2014.

While most Halloween shopping takes place in the first two weeks of October, almost a quarter of shoppers start as early as September, and another quarter waits until the last two weeks of the month. Keeping this in mind, you need to have a solid plan for your ad spend this year.

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The Spookiest – and Sweetest – Shopping List of the Year

Halloween may conjure up visions of kids in costumes; really, candy is at the heart of it all. A full 95 percent of shoppers plan to spend an average of $29 on candy this year. That’s $2.5 billion spent on candy alone. Sixty-nine percent will spend about $23 on decorations, and 67 percent will spend about $21 on costumes.

For marketers, it’s especially important to make sure your Halloween items are easy to find and buy. You may want to consider adding sitelink extensions so shoppers can go straight to the Halloween-specific items on your site. Product Ads are another great way to showcase your Halloween-themed products in a fun and creative way.

In Search of the Perfect Costume

Though candy may be the goal, the means to that end is a fabulous costume. By “fabulous,” I mean classic. The top five costumes for kids are princesses, animals, Spider-Man, Frozen characters, and any other superhero. Disney’s Frozen was so popular last year, 3 million costumes were sold.

Themes for adults costumes trend a bit more to the scary side, with witches being the most popular, followed by animals, Batman, pirates, and zombies.

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Humans aren’t the only ones dressing up. Shoppers spent an astounding $350 million on pet costumes in 2014. Top pet costumes included pumpkins, hot dogs, devils, bumblebees, and cats.

Make It Mobile

Mobile search is expected to play a big role this Halloween, so plan your strategies accordingly. Last year alone, Halloween related mobile searches grew 1,052 percent from the year before on Bing Ads.

Visitors using mobile devices spend half as much time on a website as those coming from a PC. Therefore, you have half the time to get them the same information as you do for desktop visitors.

Design and organize your Halloween webpages accordingly. Try navigating your mobile site with just your thumb, and put your most important content in the middle of the screen for maximum engagement.

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Words That Work

As always, words are powerful. Ensure you are choosing the best copy combinations that work for your vertical and by device. Ads containing the words “kids costumes” for apparel and accessories retailers worked well across devices. To get an advantage when it comes to PC and tablet ads, highlight the word “selection” in your ad description: “huge selection,” “great selection,” and “selection,” are some effective examples. On smartphone ads, highlight costume-related terms such as “outfits,” “costumes,” and “shirts.”

Candy, gifts, and greetings brands’ ads with a combination of “online” – as in “online free” – with “percent off,” “free,” “save,” “save percent,” or “percent” in the title were most effective on PC or tablet. On the other hand, what enticed smartphone searchers to click were ads with titles that indicated quality, like “premium,” “custom,” “specialized,” or “guaranteed” and had orders in the description.

And for other retail groups, ads performed best with “party” – “party decorations,” “Frozen party,” “party rental” – in the ad title, regardless of device. However, accessory related terms – “bags,” “hats,” “temporary tattoos” – in the description can give you an edge in PC or tablets. Calls to action like “now save,” “order today,” “hurry,” and “ends soon” in the ad description also trigger clicks on smartphones.

Make Your Halloween Campaign a Treat

Although it’s on the smaller side of the “big” holidays, the $7.4 billion spent on Halloween is worth getting a piece of. Make sure to plan your budget appropriately, as searching takes place from September through the day itself. Choose your keyword combinations to work best for your vertical and for each device, anticipating for substantial mobile searching. With these tricks in mind, your Halloween ad campaign results are sure to be a treat.

Homepage image via Shutterstock

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