Exclusive: Survey shows social media poised to capture holiday ad spend

  •   September 13, 2018
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With consumer confidence at an all-time high, we should all expect increased ad spend with new and emerging technologies, like location data tools and social media analytical platforms, to directly reach the 2018 holiday shopper.

So how will marketers develop their approach? To understand how and when they plan to reach holiday shoppers, we surveyed over 260 owners and managers of small-to-medium businesses in the United States in September.  While the survey is not yet published, we are exclusively sharing some of our findings here before publishing it on our website.

Our biggest takeaway: social media will be the clear winner in terms of capturing the bulk of holiday ad spend. The majority of respondents indicated most of their holiday advertising will go towards social media, namely Facebook and Instagram, with more than double the responses of “email marketing” and “TV.”

Facebook and Instagram win!

This wasn’t a surprise to us due to the increasing simplicity of building campaigns and reaching target audiences on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Cost efficiency is also a major factor in opting for social media ad spend, as noted in our previous survey from this year.  That survey focused on the appeal of the Instagram to small-to-medium business marketers.

Digital marketing continues to grow its dominance over traditional media combining all digital channels, our survey found over two-thirds of ad spend this holiday season will fall into this category compared to the traditional channels like print, TV, and radio.

However, even digital advertising is changing as we step further into this age of technology. Small-to-medium businesses are showing impressive familiarity with sophisticated tools like social media analytics and geotargeting.

Incredibly, our recent survey revealed nearly ninety percent of small business (SMB) advertisers consider geotargeting as important to their holiday 2018 campaigns.

This exemplifies the increasing utilization of this technology, this isn’t Nike or Google utilizing location data during the holidays, but small businesses with a fraction of their advertising budget. Clearly, geotargeting tools are resonating with retailers and business of all sizes as it allow companies to directly reach their target audiences.

We also learned from our new survey that October is the most popular timeframe for SMBs to change their messaging to reflect their holiday promotions, followed by November and September.  Over 10 percent of respondents indicated they change their messaging beginning in August or earlier, while another 18 percent indicated they don’t change messaging at all. This last group represents an opportunity for digital sales teams and agencies to understand why they don’t change their strategies, and to add value to the relationship.

This holiday season has the potential to set new records for both in-store and online purchases. As SMBs plan to spend more on digital and concentrate that ad spend within social media, we expect to see a strong quarterly performance from Facebook and Google as they are indicated by SMBs to be the top chosen outlets of digital ad spend among SMBs this holiday season. We expect this trend will carry over to large businesses, as well.

We anticipate consumers to see promotions that are increasingly relevant to them, as the use of audience targeting and location-based marketing continues to rise.

Whether they’re the brand themselves or their agency partners, the teams running these campaigns will generally be looking to maximize their campaign performance from October through December.

They’ll use geotargeting to help find their target audience, and allocate their ad spend towards the social media channels, followed by spending on Google. We hope understanding these market dynamics will help companies maximize their performance this holiday season.


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