5 Trends and Tips For Brands & Advertisers This Holiday Shopping Season

5 Trends and Tips For Brands & Advertisers This Holiday Shopping Season

Consumers are excited and Santa is out of quarantine: it’s time to plan for Holidays 2021! Brands and advertisers, below are the five trends and tips predicted for holiday shopping 2021. Here’s everything you need to know to make this your most successful holiday shopping season yet. BTW: download our onsheet at the bottom of the page!

1. Expect High Spend from Shoppers

The 2020 holiday season performed better than expectations, according to eMarketer‘s numbers. Total retail spending was up 6.5% to $1.064 trillion. Cyber Monday was the heaviest online spending day in history, pulling in $10.78 billion. That’s great news for this year.

This year will bring an even higher level of spend thanks to optimism, reunions with family and friends, and renewed travel. Vaccination rates across the U.S. are about 50%. Many are also returning to work. After a spike in layoffs and unemployment during the pandemic crisis, the unemployment rate is dropping again – which means more are comfortable spending money. As a result, now is the ideal time to make some modifications to your store. If you own a business and are searching for ways to attract more clients, consider using a music streaming service like Cloud Cover Music, which can be played on CloudBox or other similar devices.

The Stats:

  • The 2020 US holiday season surpassed $1 trillion in sales – a 6.5% increase (eMarketer).
  • Cyber Monday 2020 was the heaviest online spending day in history, pulling in $10.78 billion (eMarketer).
  • In June 2021, the national U.S. unemployment rate was at 5.9 percent (Statista)

2. Count on Heavy Ecommerce Holiday Shopping

Last year proved that consumers were just as – if not more – willing to spend money online while shopping for the holidays. Even with the ability to shop in-store this year, ecommerce will continue to grow, and forecasts predict record-breaking ecommerce sales this holiday season. That being said, it is still important to ensure that your physical store still looks inviting to customers who prefer to do their shopping in person. For example, why not invest in a new sign to tempt customers into your store? There are lots of fantastic sign making companies out there nowadays that can help you to create a sign that stands out from the crowd, but if you are looking for a houston sign company, then National Signs could be a fantastic option. Of course, there are other steps that retailers can take to improve their premises so do be sure to look into some of these if you want to maximise the potential of your physical store.

Retail ecommerce sales are projected to make up 18.9% of total holiday retail sales, up from 17.5% last year according to eMarketer. Thanksgiving Day ecommerce sales are expected to hit a whopping $6.21 billion, per eMarketer forecasts. (For reference, Thanksgiving Day ecommerce sales reached $4.13 billion just two years ago in 2019.) And as we mentioned, Cyber Monday was the heaviest online spending day in history, rising 15.6% to $10.78 billion. This continued through the end of the year, especially online, driving a dramatic 47% increase in ecommerce sales during the traditional holiday season, according to Facebook.

The Stats:

  • There was a 47% increase in ecommerce sales during the traditional holiday season in 2020 (Facebook via Adweek).
  • Cyber Monday 2020 was the heaviest online spending day in history, rising 17,5% and pulling in $10.78 billion (eMarketer).
  • Retail ecommerce sales are projected to make up 18.9% of total holiday retail sales, up from 17.5% last year (eMarketer)
  • Apparel/accessories will be the fastest-growing retail ecommerce category this year, as the subsiding pandemic unleashes pent-up demand for clothing, at 18.9% growth (eMarketer).
  • This year, Thanksgiving Day ecommerce sales are expected to hit a whopping $6.21 billion (eMarketer).
santa holiday shopping in a mask 2021 trends advertisers and tips

3. An Earlier Start to Holiday Shopping is Predicted

That’s right. The combination of pent up demand, higher ecommerce activity, and shifting sale dates from big retailers mean holiday shopping will likely start earlier this year (like last year).

Consumers are eager to shop and eager to celebrate. Retailers like Gap are predicting “customer exuberance” for back-to-school shopping, and the sentiment will likely carry over to the holidays. And while the traditional holiday period normally begins in late November or early December, last year Amazon postponed Prime Day to October, leading other retailers to introduce coinciding, earlier promotional events. Criteo found that one-quarter of U.S. consumers research purchases one month before their Black Friday buys. In fact, 30% of consumers will try a new online store because of early holiday deals, well ahead of Black Friday. A Facebook survey found that nearly half of shoppers started holiday shopping before-and often in place of-in-store doorbusters on Black Friday in 2020.

All this means that brands and advertisers should start connecting with both loyal and new customers across digital and mobile channels now, and offer deals and incentives to start holiday shopping early. In order to attract new customers, lead generation is critical.

The Stats:

  • 30% of consumers will try a new online store because of early holiday deals, well ahead of Black Friday (Criteo via Mediapost, 2021).
  • On average, U.S. consumers start researching Black Friday deals 14 days prior, as they look for discounts and to avoid sellouts for products such as video games and toys (Criteo via Mediapost, 2021).
  • One-quarter of consumers research purchases one month before their Black Friday buys (Criteo via Mediapost, 2021).
  • Nearly half of shoppers started holiday shopping before-and often in place of-in-store doorbusters on Black Friday in 2020 (Facebook via Adweek).

4. Maximize an Omnichannel Approach for Holiday Shopping Success

“Click and collect” grew vastly in popularity last year for its safety in the midst of a pandemic, but consumers have grown accustomed to its convenience. Who wants to wait in a line at 4am for a sale when they can order from their home and pick up from their car? Especially since retailers proved over the last year that they can duplicate much of the in-store experiences digitally by offering the same discounts online.​​

More and more, consumers are blending the best of online and in-store to create their ideal hybrid shopping experience. Shoppers are discovering products on their phone, researching online at their desktop, checking out products in store etc. They then return to online sites to buy, and so on because of which it’s extremely crucial to make use of a responsive web design. Firms like Hooked Marketing could help with regards to designing a website that is user-friendly.

It’s essential to create convenient, frictionless, omnichannel offerings. Advertisers need to reach consumers at the point of research and purchase across all devices. In the US, omnichannel shopping has grown by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Nielson.

The Stats:

  • There has been 1.3X growth in mobile purchasing, globally, for the holiday season since 2018. (Facebook)
  • Adobe found that over half of digital Christmas revenue in 2020 came from smartphones (Adobe via Adweek)
  • US shoppers spent $72.46 billion via click and collect last year, a 106.9% growth rate over 2019 (eMarketer).
  • Click and collect will account for 9.9% of all retail ecommerce sales this year (eMarketer).
  • Over 150 million people will make at least one purchase via click and collect this year in the US (eMarketer).
  • In the US, omnichannel shopping has grown by 50% since the beginning of the pandemic (Nielson via Facebook).

5. Help Holiday Shoppers With Online Discovery + Context

Half of all shoppers polled by Facebook experienced some difficulty knowing what to buy for others, while 63% of global shoppers surveyed enjoyed discovering items they weren’t actively looking for. Call it Discovery Commerce, online discovery, point of intent, content marketing – the point is the same: consumers want a bit of help when it comes to shopping, and there’s no shame in that.

Creating digital ads – discovery aides – that help shoppers determine what to buy based on what they are likely to love (thanks to context clues and audience groups, for example) is crucial to success. Maximizing contextual targeting and context-driven optimization will ensure your ads and content find your target shoppers. Make your consumers’ holiday shopping job easier. Don’t just meet them at their needs; anticipate them.

The Stats:

  • 63% of global shoppers surveyed enjoyed discovering items they weren’t actively looking for. * (Facebook)
  • Half of all shoppers polled experienced some difficulty knowing what to buy for others, highlighting the need for discovery aides-especially during the holidays (Facebook).

Read more: 3 Tips to Keep Your Campaigns Safe With Bidtellect & IAS Thanks to Context Control, Brand Safety

Brands and advertisers, we hope these 2021 holiday shopping trends and tips help you feel ready – it’s going to be a great year! For more tips, check out our creative best practices: the naughty and nice list.

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A+ Back to School 2021 Advertising Trends and Tips for Your Campaigns

A+ Back to School 2021 Advertising Trends and Tips for Your Campaigns

Could Back to School 2021 be the year that kids rejoice MORE than their parents? While families around North America gear up for what could hopefully be a “normal” or close-to-normal school year, retailers and advertisers are eager to jump at the chance to be the first to catch their dollars.

These are the trends advertisers and brands should keep in mind to reach students (and parents) navigating back to school shopping this year.

High Spending Predicted Thanks to Combined Excitement and ‘Back Log’

That’s right. Rightfully so, retailers like Gap are predicting “customer exuberance” and subsequent high spending as students and their grown ups look forward to returning to school in person. Students are looking to make a splash amongst their peers with new outfits, snazzy office supplies, and in-person activities like sports. Combine this with – in some cases – nearly two years of school at home, and retail sales will likely boom as shoppers play catch up. Deloitte predicts back-to-school spending will hit its highest level in recent years and NRF predicts 13.5% growth in retail sales YoY this year, expecting back to school to carry a heavy portion of the spend.

The Stats:

    • 2021 back-to-school spending will hit its highest level in recent years: $32.5 billion for K-12 students, or $612 per student, according to Deloitte. Back-to-college consumers will shell out $26.7 billion, or $1,459 per student (Deloitte).
    • The NRF predicts that retail sales will range from $4.44 trillion to $4.56 trillion in 2021, growing between 10.5% and 13.5% YoY.
    • Thanks to COVID, back-to-school cleaning services are even more in demand than ever before with schools investing up to 50% more budget in cleaning efforts in an attempt to keep students and staff healthy.
    • New estimates from Mastercard SpendingPulse show back-to-school sales jumping 5.5% YoY this year, with categories that cater to in-person activities seeing spikes.
    • Target is planning for “one of its biggest back-to-school seasons ever,” and smaller retailers like Gap are already feeling “customer exuberance” that is likely to bode well for back-to-school sales. (DMS Insights)

Happy,Little,Girl,Holding,Digital,Tablet,Ipad back to school shopping advertising digital trends

Back-to-school spending on computers, smartphones, and tablets is expected to reach a whopping $11.8 billion this year.

Where Will Back-to-School Shoppers Spend Their Budgets? Tech & Clothes

According to the latest reports, consumers will spend the most on apparel and back to school supplies, but technology is not far behind (and likely will grow in popularity each year). A year of virtual classrooms has led to a 37% increase in tech spending for K-12 students, and a 16% jump for college students. Back-to-school spending on computers, smartphones, and tablets is expected to reach a whopping $11.8 billion, with wearable tech seeing the most money (MorningBrew). And don’t forget the newest category: personal hygiene products.

The Stats:

  • 44% of surveyed households plan to purchase fewer “traditional” back-to-school supplies due to a renewed emphasis on tech (Deloitte).
  • Even as schools open for in-person learning, 58% of respondents said they plan to spend on online resources (Deloitte).
  • 37% increase in tech spending for K-12 students (Deloitte).
  • 42% increase in spend YoY in COVID-19-related personal hygiene products like wet wipes, hand sanitizers, and at home work stations (Deloitte).

Product Categories on Which US Back-to-School Shoppers Expect to Spend Most of Their Budgets (eMarketer)

  • 60% Apparel
  • 24% Back to School Supplies
  • 10% Technology
  • 4% Dorm Furnishing
  • 3% Books

Types of Digital Retailers Where US Back-to-School Shoppers Plan to Shop (eMarketer)

  • 85% Amazon
  • 69% Big-box retail sites
  • 27% Office Supply Sites
  • 25% Apparel and accessories sites
  • 15% Off-price retail sites
  • 15% Tech Sites
  • 14% Drugstore Site
  • 9% Home Essentials sites
  • 7% Digital grocer
  • 3% Other

Multichannel is the Move, Thanks to Ecommerce

Consumers became more comfortable with e-commerce (necessity breeds skill) during the pandemic, and so e-commerce sellers were able to generate massive revenue from selling products during the pandemic. The truth is, there has been such a massive increase in sales during the pandemic that the sellers might have needed the services of a firm like Seller Accountants (which is known for providing professional accounting for ecommerce businesses) to keep track of sales records and understand the profitability of their business. Anyway, this shows that shoppers are accustomed to online ordering like never before, and are also utilizing more of a multichannel approach like never before: they’re researching online, checking out products in store, returning to online sites, and more. Young shoppers and young parents will be the most savvy in this area, so advertisers need to appeal to their multi-channel habits and offer cross-promotions, inspiring content, online activations, and targeted strategies potentially involving user centered design methods to possibly embrace the excitement of going back to school.

Not only that, new parents might also be excited at the thought of one child going back to school, as they welcome another one into the family. The allure for new parents looking for things like old fashioned girl names, whilst in the middle of back-to-school season, although exciting, could affect them in many ways. Advertising with compassion and taking a helpful angle when it comes to reducing all the burdens on them could be seen as helpful as well.

“When it comes to shopping, it’s apparent now that the consumer does not recognize any lines of demarcation at all [between in-person and online]. Shopping is all one thing to them now, no matter where it happens.” (Matt Powell, senior sports industry advisor for NPD, DMS Insights)

The Stats:

  • US ecommerce sales are expected to grow 17.9% this year to reach $933.30 billion. Ecommerce is now on track to surpass 20% of total retail by 2024 (eMarketer)
  • 34% of consumers plan to use “buy online, pickup in store” and curbside pickup (Deloitte).
  • parents of K-12 students are twice as likely as those of college students to use emerging tech to buy supplies (Deloitte via MorningBrew).

Keep an Eye on Start Dates

We found conflicting research on back-to-school shopping, with some reports predicting earlier shopping and others predicting later-than-ever trips. WWD predicts that back-to-school will probably be starting off in August versus July, with retailers expecting a return to normal spending levels. Deloitte predicts an earlier wrap up of shopping as consumers worry about lingering COVID-19 disruptions, expecting 59% of total shopping to be completed by the end of July. A 2020 Deloitte study reported that 80% of back-to-school shoppers are the most active from late July to early August.

Either way, July is the time to start planning back-to-school promotions, since parents, caregivers, kids, and teachers will be on the lookout for products to make the new school year more exciting and memorable after a year of uncertainty and hybrid learning.

The Stats:

  • 59% of total shopping will be completed by the end of July (Deloitte).
  • WWD predicts later back-to-school shopping, in August (WWD).
  • Around 80% of back-to-school shoppers are the most active from late July to early August (Deloitte, 2020)

Here’s when school starts:

  • United States-from mid-July to mid-September, depending on the state
    • Generally, the Northeast, East North Central, and West Coast start beginning of September or later
    • The Southern, Mountain and Central regions start mid to late August
  • Canada-early September
  • Mexico-end of August

Back to School Discounts and Deals

Offer deals, discounts, incentives, and reward programs. Most importantly, include those discounts in your creative assets! Bidtellect’s [b]+studio consistently sees highest performance for headlines including a discount. Combine promotions (discounts or a special offer) with the shipping deadlines to incentivize your customers to start shopping.

Some ideas:

  • % or $ discount
  • bundle deals
  • free shipping
  • flash sale
  • week-long sales event
  • giveaway
  • contest
  • promo code
  • loyal customer discount
  • loyal customer pre-sale

5 Creative Best Practices

  1. Capture the excitement of returning to school with bright colors, happy students, and excited copy.
  2. Feature your product in relevant settings based on your target audience. For example: with college students on a college campus, or elementary kids on playground, etc. What applies to one age group may not necessarily apply to another.
  3. Students of all ages are more comfortable and reliant on tech than ever before, so feature tech devices in your images. If you’re selling them, even better.
  4. Like we mentioned: PROMOTIONS. Include deals, discounts, incentives, and reward programs in your copy. Bidtellect’s [b]+studio consistently sees highest performance for headlines including a discount. Examples: promo codes, flash sales, bundle deals, free shipping, etc.
  5. Offer to educate or solve problems in your copy. New hygiene protocols? Uncertainty about in-person classes? Choosing the right notebook? Help your students out.

We hope these Back to School 2021 trends and tips help you plan your back to school advertising! Download our onesheet below!

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Digital Ad Spend Is Hot: Thanks to Travel

Wow, I didn’t know when we’d ever read THAT again (especially at this time last year!) Talk about a sight for sore eyes. It’s true: in countries where cases are dropping and vaccines are being administered, consumers are planning for travel using services similar to Jettly. On top of this, they are buying products to prepare (hello, beach outfits!). They’ve grown accustomed to digital channels for just about any and everything, so digital ad spend is rising to meet the ecommerce hopes, wants, and needs of consumers.

Ad spending is red-hot right now. The economy is cranking up, travel and leisure are coming back, and consumers are emerging from their pandemic cocoons.” – Henry Blodget, a co-founder of Insider (formerly Business Insider).

Analysts at CNBC say digital advertising’s hot streak shows no signs of cooling down as travel starts to return and e-commerce spend persists. If the fourth quarter of 2020 was digital advertising’s “perfect storm,” then the first quarter of 2021, and perhaps the rest of the year, will be “hurricane season.”

Campaign Tip: Spend big on your campaigns and scale to reach as far and wide as possible.

Travel Post-Covid: It’s Looking Bright

Consumers are optimistic about travel!

  • 22% of consumers have booked a vacation within the next three months.
  • 51% saying they’re at least somewhat likely to book a vacation within the next three months.

We expect these numbers to rise as vaccine rates rise and more states and countries open up. While local travel and road trips were the popular choice last summer, this summer consumers are eager to visit family and friends they’ve missed, reschedule their cancelled trips from the year before, and experience new sights and places after a year of being cooped up at home.

Campaign Tip: Capitalize on this optimism with hopeful messaging and inspiring content.

Vaccine Matters

  • 35% of Americans are currently vaccinated against COVID as of May 10, 2021.
  • 45% of respondents said they need to be fully vaccinated before they feel comfortable vacationing, while another 24% said they would prefer to be vaccinated.

Campaign Tip: eMarketer suggests focusing on demographics who are more likely to have received the vaccine, and geographic areas where vaccines have been rolled out effectively and at scale.

Leisure Travel Will Bounce Back Faster Than Business, Hygiene Will Stick Around

According to research, expect a return to leisure travel before business travel. In previous crises, leisure trips or visits to friends and relatives tended to rebound first (this was the case in the UK following 9/11 and the global financial crisis). Couple this with continued remote work and business trips will be less popular compared to vacations and working remotely in new locations. With businesses still potentially sticking to working remotely, there will be more of an emphasis on secure working, especially as over time businesses have had to adapt to how remote working is conducted with cyber security services being at the forefront of this to keep businesses and employees as safe as possible whilst away from the office.

McKinsey predicts four to five times more remote work than before the pandemic, which could prompt a large change in the geography of work, as individuals and companies shift out of large cities into suburbs and small cities.

  • About 20% of business travel may not return for sometime, and airline traffic likely won’t return to 2019 levels this year.
  • In April 2021, global scheduled seat capacity was 266.8m, 43% below seats in April 2019.

There could be a rise in corporate travels owing to the new rules with regards to Covid-19. Unlike before, firms might make use of an Expense mileage tracking system to calculate the distance travelled as a lot of businesses might want to save expenses and wouldn’t want to spend any extra penny.

Hygiene and safety standards will continue to be stringent. Consumers have come to expect these higher standards of sanitization and safety. The pandemic has seen a rise in awareness, not only with respect to the virus at hand, but also with regards to the overall hygiene factor of an establishment. The services of a commercial pest management company could also be seen as a requisite when making preparations for the guests. Equally as important as taking these cleaning measures is communicating with consumers (before and after booking) that these steps are being taken. It both puts them at ease, and could be the difference between choosing one place or another (read more on that here).

Digitalization will continue to transform the travel experience. Mobile apps will be used to store travelers’ vaccine certificates and COVID-19 test results. Travelers are already accustomed to booking online.

Campaign Tip: This illuminates where to focus advertiser energy. DO: emphasize hygiene and safety measures and ease of digital ticketing. DON’T cater to business travelers just yet – it’s too soon.

Discounts and Deals

Credit cards are anticipating a travel boom! Credit card issuers are offering new card perks for the travel bounce back: American Express introduced welcome bonuses for Marriott Bonvoy members, Chase is partnering with United Airlines, and more. Rewards encourage traveling and offset the losses of 2020.

According to eMarketer, higher demand for travel may lead to sharp increases in travel-related expenses, including hotels and airline tickets, which may create opportunities for brands to offer deals.

  • The share of respondents who said they’re likely to book a vacation climbed to 56% under the premise that they receive a discount from a hotel, and 59% said they’re likely to book if they receive a free night’s stay.

Campaign Tip: Offer deals, discounts, incentives, and reward programs. Most importantly, include those discounts in your creative assets! Bidtellect’s [b]+studio consistently sees highest performance for headlines including a discount.

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What is Bidtellect’s TraderScorecard?

TraderScorecard is a training and certification course designed to help you master Bidtellect’s unique platform capabilities, industry standard terminology, and strategic trading tactics.

What will I learn?

  • Proficiency in standard industry terminology and metrics
  • Mastery of Bidtellect’s Native DSP & unique capabilities
  • Ability to improve and optimize your campaign performance with tips & tricks
  • Level certifications to add to your Linkedin and social media profiles
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How many levels are there?

At this time, there are three levels: Back to Basics, Bidtellect Products & Solutions, and DSP/Dashboard Overview, Performance, and Reporting.

Is there a cost?

There is no fee to take the course! You need only to sign up with your name and email address.

Do I earn a certification after I complete the courses?

Yes, you do! You earn a certificate through Credly, which can then be added to your LinkedIn profile. Each month we’ll also award top traders of the month, and offer prizes based on best performance.

Why do you need my email address?

Your email address is used to receive your certification through Credly. If you want to be included in the monthly newsletter, you’ll be the first to learn about platform enhancements, learn new tips, and measure yourself against your peers.

What if I don’t use the Bidtellect platform on a day-to-day basis and operate on a Managed Service agreement?

We still recommend the course! The course covers basic industry information and terminology that will sharpen your understanding of platform strategy to better work with your Bidtellect point person and help you navigate the industry as a whole.

How are the courses formatted?

Each course contains multiple lessons with a mixture of text-based information, lists, explanations, and videos of the platform. Each lesson within the course ends with a quiz.

How do I get started?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started:

Step 1: Login

Step 2: Select Course

 

Step 3: Select Lesson

 

Step 4: Review Lesson and Materials

 

Step 5: Once ready, take the Quiz to test your knowledge

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Each quarter we provide a high-level overview of the Native Advertising ecosystem so that marketers can have a deeper understanding of their content distribution strategies. This quarter, in addition to trends in Standard Native, we are taking a look creative best...