Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

Seasonal Marketing Goals: September 2021

Stephanie Abe

Community Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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The holiday shopping season is known to bring in as much as 30% of a retailer's annual sales, and 2021 is shaping up to be no different. It's estimated that this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday (also known as BFCM and Cyber Weekend) shopping events alone will surpass $10 billion in ecommerce sales. Furthermore, research indicates that a whopping 61% of holiday shopping will be completed before Thanksgiving day in North America. The reason for this?

Consumers are smart. Unlike last year (when we saw many first-time online holiday shoppers), people are now old hands so-to-speak. Online shoppers know how to research, price-compare, save items to their carts and wait for the promo code. And they sure know that they need to place their orders early to avoid facing out-of-stock and delivery issues.

This shift to early online shopping brings the most significant holiday growth opportunity for ecommerce retailers yet. They're no longer beholden to an extremely short and ultra-competitive window where the behemoths drown them out. This year, brands have the opportunity to capture their holiday market share by being ahead of the curve. 💸 

This September, focus on hitting these top 5 ecommerce holiday marketing goals to win big this season. 

Goal 1: Increase Brand Awareness While CPMs Are Lower   

CPMs have been following 2019's trends steadily since May. That's right — while this holiday season will be similar to last year's in some ways, CPM patterns are trending back to our pre-pandemic days. 

Typical years have a very well-defined pattern for CPMs. Prices are lowest in January, then rise slightly through the spring and early summer. There is another smaller dip in August, followed by a climb in September, and then a rapid acceleration to Christmas.

Graph depicting CPM trends from 2019, 2021, and through August 2021 with predicted trend line through the end of 2021

From now through October, take advantage of lower CPMs by prioritizing running brand awareness campaigns. Doing so will build up your pool of shoppers who you can focus on converting a little further along in the holiday shopping season.

Goal 2: Plan Your Promotional Campaigns for the Months Ahead  

With people planning their holiday shopping months in advance and making most of their purchases ahead of the BFCM / Cyber weekend, consider offering your promotional and give-back campaigns early. Doing so can also help you manage your customers' experience by allowing more time to meet shipping and delivery deadlines. 

There are a couple of caveats, though. Our data indicates that November and early December remain the only times in the year where we see a higher average click-through rate (CTR) for ad creatives that reference "holidays" compared to other promotions. Ads that include promotions of any kind, however, remain the top performers when it comes to engagement — and they do so at a volume that's almost 20x as big as ads that refer to holidays. In other words? Craft appropriate ad creative messaging for each phase of the holiday shopping season. 

Goal 3: Plan Your Advertising Budget for October, November, and December 

Set aside your advertising budget for October, November, and December to ensure your brand stays top-of-mind throughout this competitive time of the year. You will need to increase ad spend to avoid getting outbid. 

Pro tip: Need help planning your advertising budget? Check out AdRoll's ROAS (return on ad spend) Calculator here

Goal 4: Set Up Your Cart Abandonment Recovery Campaigns  

If you're like me, you've used checkout carts as a way to keep a wish list — it's just an easy way to keep track of things you'd like to buy while you price check comparable retailers or wait for price discounts. This holiday season, expect consumers to do a lot of precisely this. 👆

Luckily, these cart abandoners are considered a high-intent population, meaning they have a high likelihood of purchasing. We recommend that you start setting up your cart abandonment recovery campaigns (psst — our recent data shows that shoppers who are targeted with both emails and ads are 2x as likely to convert) as soon as you can in the coming months.

Pro tip: Learn more about AdRoll's Abandoned Cart Recovery recipe here

Goal 5: Set Up Your Reporting 

Set up your reporting so that you can answer the following questions: What channels are driving conversions? What ads are performing? And what audiences are you reaching during the holiday season? 

Be The Brand They Shop This Holiday Season ✨

You've got the biggest holiday growth opportunity yet right in front of you, and it's time to roll! Start your holiday marketing efforts now, build anticipation, and market progressively and consistently to win big this season. To learn more about this year's ecommerce holiday market trends and get expert advice about what to do about them, get the 2021 Ecommerce Holiday Marketing Trends Guide

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