Close Out 2022 Strong—How Advertising Gift Cards Can Help

Close Out 2022 Strong—How Advertising Gift Cards Can Help

5 Min Read

The last two years have indeed been unprecedented. Now, just as people are settling into the “new normal”, a potential recession is on the horizon. Brands of all sizes and from all industries need to prepare for what this could mean for their business.

The “Great Recession” of 2008 provided some insights around consumer spending behaviors during and after an economic downturn. Unsurprisingly, many people looked for ways to cut back on or completely eliminate certain types of spending. As consumers focused on finding deals, budget retailers like T.J. Maxx and Ross experienced sales boosts.

Assuming that consumer spending habits will change heading into the next potential recession (spoiler alert: they already are), advertisers need to consider the most effective ways to market to their customers. One solution? Intentionally focusing marketing efforts on the sale of gift cards.

Let’s explore why advertising gift cards could be the right move for your brand to close out the year strong, even with a recession looming large.

Gift Cards Actually Are Desirable

Gift cards get a bad rap—over the years, giving someone a gift card has come to be viewed as lazy or impersonal. But this sentiment is changing. In fact, people actually prefer to receive gift cards over other items.

In 2021, the majority of internet users (56%) reported that gift cards and certificates were at the top of their holiday wish lists. A gift card, while perhaps not as exciting or flashy as a tangible gift, gives consumers the power to choose exactly what they want. Retailers are reaping the benefits of this—U.S. consumers spent an average of ~$75 per device on gift cards in 2021.

Opportunity For Upsell + Growing Brand Loyalty

We know that the demand for gift cards is high, but there is another opportunity for brands to be aware of—the upsell. In 2020, 59% of consumers said that they often spend more than a gift card’s value (a trend that has been the case for years). So, a one time gift card purchase is likely to lead to a larger sale.

In these instances, brands not only have the chance to upsell, but also to build loyalty with customers. If a gift card user has a positive experience with your brand—whether that’s ease of shopping, product quality, customer service, or otherwise—they could turn into a returning customer.

Side Step Supply Chain Issues

Complications tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, including lockdowns and labor shortages, caused notable global supply chain issues in 2020 and 2021. While brands have attempted to address these problems by ordering merchandise earlier than needed, building more production centers and partnering with local vendors, the supply chain is still a major concern for many companies.

If you’re worried about or already feeling the negative effects of supply chain breakdowns, it’s vital to be proactive with your marketing strategies in order to keep business moving. Promoting gift cards could be a key piece to this. Let’s say the supply chain gets so delayed that your brand doesn’t have enough product to sell. By advertising gift cards, you can shift the focus away from promoting specific items and still have a chance to generate revenue, regardless of current inventory levels.

Seasonal and Evergreen Marketing Opportunities

Gift cards are a natural sell for the holiday season—last minute shoppers don’t need to worry about shipping times and gift cards help to remove the guesswork from shopping for tricky recipients. Advertisers should continue to market gift cards in the months leading up to and during the holidays, but not all gift card campaigns need to be seasonal.

Considering that most people celebrate various occasions—birthdays, graduations, new jobs, anniversaries—throughout the year, it can be beneficial for brands to market gift cards on an ongoing basis.

Advertising insight: whether in a seasonal or evergreen campaign, gift cards do not need to be the primary focus of your advertisements—a mention or even just a visual suggestion of a gift card can be an effective way to market them.

CTV—a Performance Marketing Channel For All Types of Brands

No matter if you’re a shoe retailer or a gym, a pastry shop or a vacation rental booking site, your brand can leverage gift cards to boost sales. And, Connected TV (CTV) is a great place to do just this. An increasing number of companies from a wide variety of industries are utilizing CTV as a performance marketing channel. Many of these brands are new to TV advertising—we found that 62% of MNTN customers have never advertised on TV before.

Because of its audience targeting capabilities, CTV is the perfect channel for brands to get their feet wet with TV advertising. When advertising on CTV, you are able to get granular with audience targeting. You can use “typical” demographics (age, location, etc.) to target audiences, but you also have the ability to target viewers by interests and behaviors. Not to mention, retargeting has never been easier!

For instance, you can run a campaign by leveraging a list of email addresses of people who recently received your gift cards. Utilizing MNTN Performance TV’s CRM targeting, you can easily upload these email addresses to deliver CTV ads directly to that audience. This gives you a direct line to these shoppers who already have your brand top of mind, and offers the opportunity to upsell for more dollars spent per sale.

Prep for Q4 and the Holidays Now

While the holidays are still a few months away, it’s wise to develop your end of year advertising plan now. Instead of putting all of your time and resources into a last minute push for sales in November/December, consider all of Q4 as an opportunity for consumer holiday spend.

Don’t worry, there’s no need to bombard customers with holiday messaging in October (unless you think that will resonate with your audience)—instead, try seeding gift card messaging throughout your ads in early Q4. Then, analyze your campaign data to understand how these ads performed. So when you get to the end of 2022, you’ll already have a strong gift card advertising plan in place for the holidays and beyond.