The new iPhones are here! The new Galaxies are here! The new Pixels are (almost) here! From a consumer standpoint, mobile phones are once again going to be the story of the holidays. But not only are shoppers going to be buying smartphones as gifts this year, they’re going to be buying gifts with smartphones this year, in ever-increasing numbers. And marketers will follow, increasing both the amount and the share of holiday advertising spending devoted to that device in your pocket.
This, of course, is not a new trend. Digital advertising has been increasingly a mobile affair ever since our industry declared the first “year of mobile” over a decade ago. And then again the next year. And the year after that. It’s been pretty much the year of mobile every year since, but sometime during all of this, it became the empirical truth.
Consider that, according to the latest Skai Digital Marketing Snapshot, paid search advertising on smartphones finally comprised the largest share of total search spending, and is likely to become an outright majority when the third quarter numbers come in. This milestone has been a long time coming, as share of both impressions and clicks have been mostly mobile for some time now, but spending has lagged behind.
For social marketers, mobile has been the device of choice from the beginning, and innovations like Dynamic Product Ads have extended that dominance over time. After debuting in 2016, holiday advertising spending on mobile in November doubled the following year. This holiday season will be the third time with these product-level ads, and it will definitely be a charm.
All of this mobile activity is transforming the way we shop during the holidays. Cyber Monday owes its very existence to the fact that consumers waited until they were on high-speed connections at work to make online purchases after Thanksgiving, but that was back when the alternative was a text-only phone screen and a 56K modem for your home computer. Now we’ve got higher speeds and better mobile experiences, and shoppers can buy online whenever they want.
When it comes to the trend in holiday advertising spending, what this means is that we tracked higher year-over-year spending growth on Thanksgiving (for Social) and Black Friday (for Search) than the other days in the “Cyber 5” period that runs from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.
What does this mean for marketers? A few items to add to your holiday advertising prep checklist:
- Don’t wait until Cyber Monday to start your core online holiday advertising campaigns. Instead, make your presence known earlier in November, before the last of the Halloween candy is gone.
- Thanksgiving Day can be big for both browsing and shopping so don’t forget about the holiday itself. Consumers will have plenty of downtime while watching football games or recovering from a big meal, and they’ll likely be on their phones in addition to visiting with far-flung family and friends.
- Black Friday, traditionally a huge day for brick-and-mortar retailers, saw a surge in online sales last year, making it a must for mobile marketers. And even if consumers do venture out into the crowded malls, many will turn to mobile for showrooming – be sure you’re there to capture these opportunities.
The bottom line is that we always want to be present when someone is looking for those presents, and that means continuing to focus on the mobile side of your holiday campaigns. Are you ready?