by Gemma Robaczynski, VP of Marketing at Lunio
The run-up to the festive season is always the most intense period of the year for marketing teams. But this year, there’s additional pressure to achieve. New research from Deloitte suggests that consumers will be increasing their holiday spending compared to last year. And since retail sales have fallen due to high inflation, causing the cost-of-living crisis to wage on, businesses will want to grasp the opportunity to recoup profit margins and make up for lost time.
As businesses go ‘all in’ on marketing activity for festive season sales, competition will become more aggressive. Advertising costs are already projected to hit record levels. As such, the margin for error will become narrower. Nobody will want to miss revenue opportunities due to low spend, misplaced budget, or invalid traffic that has no chance of converting. Instead, marketing teams will need to be nimble.
So, here’s my four tips for optimisation strategies ahead of the sales season.
Utilise AI to bolster personalisation
Marketing teams can use AI to increase the personalisation of their festive season sales campaigns. Generative programs like ChatGPT can be used to rapidly translate copy, create targeted campaigns, and instantly test ads for the optimal chance of conversion. As such, running final A/B tests using AI tools can help encourage impactful last minute improvements.
However, marketing teams must be wary of over-reliance. Generative AI platforms can be hugely helpful, but must be monitored and checked. There’s also great value in human creativity. If everybody relies too heavily on LLMs, ads will only start sounding the same, rendering the technology pointless and alienating customers.
Maximising your omnichannel strategy
Omnichannel marketing is one of the most effective ways to get more buyers on board. Estimates show that customers now reach up to 50 touchpoints before they buy.
Using multiple marketing channels makes it more likely that customers will engage with your brand and buy from you, especially at highly competitive times like Black Friday or during Boxing Day Sales. Research suggests omnichannel campaigns raise order rates by almost six times (from 0.4% for single channel campaigns to 0.83% for omnichannel).
Ahead of the seasonal sales, setting up enhanced conversions on Google Ads is key in tracking digital touchpoints and can help make sense of customer’ journeys, providing key learnings for the future. Using local inventory ads, showing customers stock levels and allowing them the option of buying online or collecting in-store, will also help maintain a competitive edge.
PPC Automation is a must
2023 is the definitive year of PPC automation. Platforms like Google’s Performance Max and Facebook’s Advantage Plus have been around for a while, but more and more advertisers are now embracing them as key elements in their standard operations. By being goal-based, as opposed to keyword-based, PPC automation algorithms decide ad placement and timings based on more than just keywords – helping bolster conversion rates.
This has led some agencies to increase their Performance Max spend to almost 50% of total spend – almost as high as their spend on standard and smart shopping campaigns.
Automation will be crucial for advertisers who want to scale their campaigns faster and support rapid business growth – making it important for optimisation. Google Ads scripts, for example, can streamline managing accounts and budgets quickly.
Preventing wasted ad spend
The festive season creates an influx of invalid activity – causing advertisers to waste more ad spend on traffic that won’t convert. Bots, automated scripts, and fake clicks become rife as advertisers spend more and competition in the ad marketplace increases during the ‘shopping season’.
However, the impact of invalid traffic is felt all year round. In fact, Lunio’s recent 2024 Wasted Ad Spend Report analysed 2.6 billion paid ad clicks over the course of 12 months and found that 8.5% of all paid traffic was invalid. By applying average invalid activity rates to forecasted ad revenue earnings reports for major ad platforms, it revealed $71.37 billion in ad spend is set to be wasted on IVT in 2024.
In order to protect your brand from wasting money on invalid traffic it’s worth investigating ad engagement verification software, capable of performing cross-platform checks, identifying invalid activity, and preventing it from entering CRM systems