Connected TV

Holiday 2022 is the Gift That Keeps Giving—Even in August

Timelines are getting tighter and shoppers are shopping earlier. Here’s how to get a head start on your Q4 campaigns now.

Holiday 2022 is the Gift That Keeps Giving—Even in August

4 Min Read

Economic headwinds are potentially coming our way this Q4—which is exactly the reason why you should be making headway on your quarterly planning now. This year’s US holiday sales are forecasted to increase 3.3% to $1.262 trillion. Additionally, shopping habits have been fundamentally changed by the pandemic over the past years, with an emphasis on faster and more convenient shopping experiences (like Buy Now Pay Later and curbside pickup), layered on with heightened price sensitivity as inflation claims the wallets and mindshare of shoppers. “October will be the permanent new kick-off for the holidays, because it feels normal now after two years and it gives retailers three months to make their number versus two,” said Mike Black, Chief Marketing Officer at ecommerce analytics firm Profitero.

Tightened Wallets, Stretched Timelines

A holiday 2022 report by Barrons revealed that 42% of consumers are shopping earlier than the year prior, in an attempt to avoid future price hikes, since the ASP (average selling price) will increase monthly between 8% and 12% for the remainder of 2022. In other words: buying a gift will be more expensive in December than October. Meanwhile, retailers will raise their discounts of about 18% (up from 14% last year) to offset inflation. 

Store Traffic Visits in 2021 Compared to 2019

This extended holiday season has been taking shape since pre-pandemic times. Data from research firm Placer revealed that store visits to Target rose 16.7% in October and 3.8% in November, but dipped 3.1% on Black Friday in 2021. Even Best Buy, a retailer that usually sees big traffic increases on Black Friday, saw visits down 23.9% on the day (even though November visits were down just 12.8% and October visits were up 10.2%).

At the same time, 64% of consumers are doing their due diligence and researching online before making a purchase—which stretches out those shopping timelines even further (preceding October where we’re seeing store activity pick up).

A Month-By-Month Guide to Holiday Planning

If consumers are converting as early as October, you’d better have a game plan ready as early as…well, now. This gives you ample time for a full-funnel strategy that will reach consumers at every touchpoint of their journey with your brand.

  • August: Use the remaining two weeks of August to map out your Q4 plan. This includes taking stock of:
    • A post-mortem of the same period last year. Which campaigns performed (or not)? Did you see one marketing channel performing better than another, and why? What could you improve on with your audience and creative strategy?
    • The types of promotions you want to launch in each coming month – will these be launched in isolation, or perhaps in parallel? 
    • Who you’re planning to target, and when.
    • Which channels you’ll be using throughout—the great thing about Connected TV advertising is that it complements your overall marketing strategy, working with the other channels that you’re likely to be launching come holiday time.
  • September: Now that you’ve mapped out your overall holiday campaign, use this month to test between different creative, messaging and audiences. We recommend a 30 day period, which gives enough time to review what moves the needle across the key metrics that most advertisers care about (site visit rates, conversion rates, CPA targets, and ROAS to name a few).
  • October: Time to launch those prospecting campaigns to third-party audiences now until late November when things really heat up. Also, if you want to contribute to those year-high site visits leading up to Black Friday, get your campaigns live no later than this month. Keep your audience size largely focused on interest, geographic, and in-market viewers—this isn’t the time to think small. Check out some out-of-the-box segments that we’ve compiled here.
  • November: By now, you should have built up a steady pool of new, potential customers via your prospecting efforts. This month, you’ll also want to incorporate your retargeting efforts to your first-party audiences to take full advantage of existing website traffic and cash in on your prospecting efforts. Consider enticing these viewers with more aggressive promotions to give yourself the edge and entice them to purchase.
  • December: Just because Black Friday and Cyber Monday is over doesn’t mean your campaigns should be, too. Keep both of your retargeting and prospecting campaigns running through Christmas as you’re more likely to engage last minute shoppers. Also, while the worst of supply chain issues might be over, there’s still an overall lack of confidence about the reliability of the supply chain, which is prompting shoppers to seek out online gifts or gift cards.