What Makes a Successful E-commerce Christmas Digital Marketing Campaign?

We asked our experts to summarise 6 elements shared by our best performing campaigns.

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Mariah Carey is blasting on the radio; advent calendars have been on sale for weeks and festive lights now grace every high street…

The world is certainly gearing up for the most wonderful time of year, but is your online campaign Christmas ready?

After last year’s challenging Christmas, many consumers are looking forward to the holiday festivities and have started their online holiday shopping early.

The recent fuel and freight crisis has created uncertainty around the availability of consumer goods this Christmas, and according to a survey conducted by Google with BCG (Boston Consulting Group), 31% of shoppers started their holiday shopping as early as the summer and 44% started in November.

This supported by the fact online searches for “Christmas Gift Ideas” have been steadily growing since September in the U.K.

christmas gift ideas trends chart

As a result, online retail have once again seen a record Cyber Monday and Black Friday to +26% more purchase +15.1% (£9.15B) forecasted sales year-on-year.

So, with heavy eCommerce competition, what can you do to ensure your Christmas online campaign is a winner this year? Our team of experts believe the following 6 steps are key to success:

1. Set goals and start as early as possible

Holiday seasons represent the peak period for online sales for many retailers, so it is never too early to start planning your Christmas campaign.

Early campaign planning and set-up ensures a competitive advantage in reaching those early shoppers that have been looking for gifts since October.

It is important to translate your business and marketing objectives into clear channel and stage goals for your online e-commerce campaign and set relevant KPIs for each activity.

Securing enough budget to start early and scale it to get visibility all day during peak dates such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday week will allow you to reach your sale goals.

Most brands are now investing in month-long offers. Extended black Friday is now the norm, and the entire month of November is considered the key moment for Christmas buying.

An extended online Black Friday for many businesses means easier logistics as orders are spread across a longer period. Early buying also guarantees the certainty of the delivery as shoppers will receive their gifts well before Christmas.

Confusion around the black Friday exact date generates a phenomenon in the U.K. called “Fake Black Friday.” Searches for “when is black Friday” tend to peak the week before, so it is wise to be running a campaign already to catch this early traffic.

2. Invest in great visuals

High quality, product-centric, scroll-stopping assets are one of the best tools to effectively engage with your audience.

Thinking creatively, but sustainably is key: be sure to create variations for different channels and have enough to test your audience behaviour, but don’t tweak visuals too often, plan for creatives that you can use for the duration of the campaign as these types of ads need time to build up data and have the ability to show the best performing images.

Tip: test your visuals on your organic social media channels and use the best performing in your paid campaigns.

3. Think omnichannel

Create an omnichannel campaign and reach your consumer at every touchpoint of their conversion path and be sure to be visible where and when your users are looking for you.

The holiday purchase conversion window this year is longer than ever, and consumers are taking their time researching products and offers before buying.

The best performing Christmas campaigns are structured to reach users while they browse – engaging target audiences and converting them with shopping campaigns just when they are ready to buy.

According to Google, 64% of existing customers, on average, engaged with a digital touchpoint during their shopping journey, while 80% of new customers, on average, engage with a digital touchpoint during their shopping journey – and differentiation is key to reaching them all.

Make sure your campaigns on each channel work in synergy and that each campaign type is pursuing a clear engagement goal and it is measured with the appropriate KPI.

4. Campaign type and channel diversification

When it comes to Christmas e-commerce campaigns, shopping is king across all channels,.

The best performing Christmas campaigns should be structured to ensure points of engagement at every stage from brand awareness to conversions.

Users that previously visited your site are 50% more likely to re-convert, so ensure to use re-marketing and re-targeting campaigns to help re-engage shoppers that haven’t converted yet. Data has also shown that it’s important to add relevant audiences at each step of the conversion path based on behaviour or interest.

Visual heavy display and video campaigns [both on social and YouTube] will drive your brand awareness efforts, with research revealing 70% of viewers bought from a brand after seeing it on YouTube.

5. Measure

Sales are the goal, but not the only conversion. We measure our best performing campaigns with a range of different soft and hard conversions specific for each stage of the purchase path.

For example, how is your audience engaging with your brand awareness content? What assets are performing the best? What message has driven consideration?

Our suggestion is always MEASURE EVERYTHING with the most relevant KPI. The more data you collect, the more data you will have to evaluate your strategic decisions for your current and future digital marketing campaigns.

Remember that Christmas sales are now a marathon, not a sprint and being present at every touchpoint and influencing your audience decisions is key. If you are present only at end of funnel, your only true competitive move is price.

Your lessons from this year’s campaign can be then used to shape your success for festive periods to come.

6. Timeline

According to Google after Cyber Week, 35% of the shoppers will still need to purchase one or all Christmas gift, so if you can, keep the lights on and continue to push offers until your cut out date to go after those last-minute shoppers.

Moreover, delays in shipment might be a real issue this year, so encouraging early purchases can help to avoid any disappointment for your customers.

Shipment options and key dates such as the last day to buy your products to receive them before Christmas (cut-off date) should be clearly stated in your campaign and website.

If you can, extend your return window to accommodate for delays.

Finally, we often suggest to our e-commerce clients to create gift cards as they can be purchase as gift after the cut off day and the search and interested in it has been growing steadily year on year.

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