When it Comes to Gift Cards, It’s Never Too Late to Add Them to Your Holiday Ad Strategy

Gift cards offer added revenue without the need to factor in shipping—and they bring even more opportunities

When it Comes to Gift Cards, It’s Never Too Late to Add Them to Your Holiday Ad Strategy

5 Min Read

Think it’s too late to influence your customer’s buying decisions as the holiday season gifting clock runs down? Think again. A majority of consumers—68% to be exact—are still figuring out what to get and 44% said they would grab a gift card if a gift was needed last-minute. This year, shoppers plan on purchasing an average of 15 gift cards and spending around $272 each, a 27% increase from last year. 

If you’re thinking gift cards might be the way to grab some last-minute revenue before the clock runs out, you’re right on the money. But there’s more to it than simply promoting gift cards to your audience. 

With supply chain issues, last minute gifting, and stockouts, most retailers know that offering gift cards will be a hot-ticket solution this year. Without a comprehensive gift card strategy, however, you’re potentially missing out on an even bigger opportunity to capture a larger portion of holiday spending. 

So how do you ensure you don’t fall into the same trap, and guarantee you stand out from thousands of retailers selling gift cards this season? Simply follow the advice below.

Gift Card Strategy #1: Advertise

Don’t just sell gift cards, actively promote them by leveraging agile self-service advertising channels like Performance TV, social media, and paid search. By tapping into all of these channels, it allows you to strategically reach your customers with multiple touch points, whether they’re streaming their favorite shows, or browsing on their news feeds. 

When using a programmatic advertising approach, we recommend tapping into third-party audience data sources to reach users based on demographics, interests, buying habits and more, to pinpoint those most likely to convert. For example, if your campaigns are targeting shoppers who have a history of purchasing gift cards, it helps ensure your budget is spent more effectively and efficiently.

Advertising gift cards during—and after—the holiday season can help garner new customers and re-engage existing ones, maintaining revenue continuity as well as a longer sales window. 

And here’s something extra to consider: don’t just limit these types of campaigns to the holidays. Gift card purchasing is becoming a more common habit, and consistently promoting them can be an effective, evergreen strategy that can run well into the new year and beyond.

Gift Card Strategy #2: Incentivize

It’s important to keep your campaigns running, but what if you could increase their effectiveness by reaching all your buyers based on their different habits? Running multiple versions of your ads with different incentives can help increase the effectiveness of your gift card strategy and ad spend.

Here are a few examples that will help increase the intangible value of your gift cards for your customers:

  • Provide rewards for buying a gift card. “Give a card, get a card” type messaging can be effective, and ensures two potential points of sales with current and future customers.
  • Entice them with tiered discounts to be used later. Offers like “Buy more, save more,” “Buy a $100 gift card and get a 10% off coupon,” and “Buy $200 and get 25% off” can grab shoppers’ attention. 
  • Offer value increases or special sales during certain time periods for gift card holders, to encourage post holiday buying and also potential for self gifting.  

Any way that you can increase the value of your gift cards will influence customer buying decisions during and after the holidays, so consider offering a little extra incentive to your audience.

Gift Card Strategy Tip #3: Digitize

There are numerous reasons to invest in offering digital gift cards during both the holidays and the foreseeable future. COVID-19 has accelerated consumers’ adoption of digitization and ecommerce, and has paved the way to making digital gift cards commonplace. In 2020, 48% of all digital gift cards were sold in December alone and that trend is expected to grow. With 50% of shoppers planning to purchase holiday gifts online and a 7% year-over-year decrease of in-store gift card sales, it would be a missed opportunity to not go digital.

With the way digital gift cards are transacted, requiring both the email of the purchaser and the recipient, this can also assist in building out your CRM capabilities. That can be a big deal, which we’ll cover in our next section. 

Gift Card Strategy Tip #4: Innovate

What we’ve covered up to this point should be helpful, but it’s this bit of advice that makes a good strategy a great one. Innovation can be the key to standing out amongst the flood of holiday gift messaging during this time.

Leveraging different advertising channels like Performance TV, paid search and social can generate more revenue by creating touchpoints with your customers after they’ve made an initial purchase. Going the extra mile, by layering CRM data into your Performance TV fulfillment campaigns, allows you to serve ads that encourage them to use their gift cards. That’s a good idea, too, because consumers tend to spend more than their gift card is worth—giving you even more revenue in return.

To influence how much more they spend, you can also create tiered targeting segments based on the value of the gift card and showcase products with a greater MSRP than the denomination of the gift card, therefore increasing the size of your customer’s cart. And, all of this gives you a chance at creating a repeat customer, who are 27% more likely to purchase again after the first sale, 45% after the second, and 54% after the third—resulting in a process that ensures additional business past the holiday season.

How far past the holiday season you ask? That is up to you, but from the looks of it, why wouldn’t you be able to add this gift card strategy to your toolbox of year-round marketing tactics to grow your business?