By now, most of you have already planned out and started executing your digital strategy for the end of the year.
You’ve painstakingly laid out the key messages and holiday promotions. You know which channels you want to push on the hardest. Your budgets are allocated where you think they’ll perform best.
And thanks to a few fast-moving trends, you may have to adjust some of that planning.
Adapting to a Rapidly-Changing World
Not long ago, it was a norm to have your end-of-year marketing planned out and settled months in advance. It was common for organizations to have their media bought and their assets in place well before summer was over.
But times are changing, and marketing strategy needs to change along with them. It’s still a must to plan out your holiday marketing strategy well in advance–but that strategy should be extremely flexible. Everything you think you know about your media and technology could change overnight.
Imagine, for instance, you’d invested heavily in preparing a big campaign on Vine during Thanksgiving…only to have Twitter announce its plan to shut the service down just a few weeks ago!
It’s never been more important for marketing leaders to design strategies and teams in a way that is agile and able to shift with sudden changes. Big campaigns-especially the ones you’re relying on most to drive results–need to have built-in adaptability. And you need to get creative with the way you handle urgent needs with scalable, agile marketing talent solutions.
As the weather cools, several big digital trends are coming in hot that could severely impact the effectiveness of your holiday marketing. Make sure you’re aware of them, and be ready to redirect your team and tactics at a moment’s notice over the coming weeks.
SEOh Boy, Here We Go Again
Digital marketing’s many-headed hydra is back again this holiday season, with brand new challenges and opportunities for brands. Moves made now can provide both short and long-term SEO success, taking advantage of the huge amount of ecommerce and search traffic and recent changes in Google’s algorithm.
Probably the biggest short term win that’s still widely available is the implementation of Accelerated Mobile Pages.
Though Google has been favoring pages with AMP capability on mobile searches for some time now, most businesses have been slow to respond.
Applications and plugins that convert pages to an AMP format easily have largely been unreliable. That means if you’re able to figure out a way to make it happen for your web properties, it’s likely you’ll have a leg up on the competition.
Given the growing amount of traffic and ecommerce on mobile devices with every passing year, any edge you can get in mobile SERPs is invaluable. Seasonal SEO staffing can be extremely useful in making the transition quickly without putting undue stress on your current digital team.
But there are other changes that need to be made by your SEO staffing, too. Redirecting product and landing pages from previous holiday seasons is a good place to start. Site-wide mobile friendliness is still achievable with the right mobile marketing staffing. And expect comparison shopping to rise this year–be sure to optimize your product content to stand out on sites like Shopping.com, Google Shopping, ShopZilla and more. Remember; Google isn’t the only search engine buyers will be using! For more last-minute holiday SEO tips, check out this post on Search Engine Journal.
Facebook Strikes Back
After years of losing eyeballs and ad revenue to other publishers, the social media behemoth is making some adjustments that could have immediate widespread effects on social, video, and SEM strategies.
Facebook is empowering its “Instant Articles” service, incentivizing publishers to put articles, blogs, and more directly on Facebook rather than inviting users back to their own sites. You can bet the company will be giving favor and priority to this content on users’ feeds. That means the viewership ad space you’re buying on publishers’ websites is likely to start dropping.
For companies that rely heavily on sponsored content to draw in customers during the holidays, that could have a big impact on how people are exposed to your messages. To increase reach, you may want to direct your marketing staffing to move more of your campaigns to Facebook, or participate in well thought through influencer marketing campaigns.
The social network is also aggressively marketing its new live streaming feature in an attempt to capture a slice of the audiences that have exploded on YouTube. Expect it to grow dramatically in popularity over the next few months. That means lots of fresh social media influencer content, especially surrounding product reviews and gift-related content. Also expect unboxing videos, which are already big on YouTube, to take off on Facebook as well.
If you’re not already on the live streaming bandwagon, it’s not too late to join. You can still find incredibly valuable influencer partnerships…
…or create your own live video content. The barrier to entry has never been lower, with plenty of user friendly software and technology available. Get your digital creative staffing team a good camera designed especially for streaming, like the Livestream Mevo, and turn them loose!
Evolving Ecommerce Staffing
Cyber Monday is right around the corner, and holiday ecommerce overall is likely to maintain its strong trend of growth. Online shoppers could spend $550 billion by the end of the year. You’ll have to be on top of your game to get a slice of that impressive pie.
If a mobile user enters your online store on Cyber Monday and is in any way frustrated or confused, expect them to take their credit card elsewhere.
If you’re not already prioritizing mobile experience with your ecommerce staffing, you’re doing it wrong. Lazy loading features, AMPs, and mobile-oriented design principles are all especially trendy ways to trim load times and improve experience right now. If a mobile user enters your online store on Cyber Monday and is in any way frustrated or confused, expect them to take their credit card elsewhere.
Ecommerce apps are also increasingly popular, delivering a customized streamlined experienced designed to make browsing and buying as smooth as possible. Some experts are also expecting a return to more colorful, creative ecommerce designs after years of brands making ecommerce as minimalistic and simple as possible.
E-tail chat bots and live chat shopping assistants are also on the rise. The ability provide real-time support and guide a holiday shopper through the buying process can dramatically increase your conversions and cut down on abandoned carts. It provides customers with questions about a product, shopping details, or a technical aspect of the site a way to quickly get the help they need. That can be especially helpful for the less tech-savvy demographics that have traditionally been more comfortable heading to brick-and-mortar locations for their holiday buying.