You Need To Update Your Seasonal Video Marketing Timeline

As of September, Think with Google found over a third of customers have already started holiday shopping — and 32% of those people have already made a purchase. Again, by September. Before Q4 had even started. 

With this massive wake-up call, marketing teams around the world are wondering how this will affect their video marketing for this upcoming holiday season and moving forward. Here, we’ll walk through how brands can combine evergreen and seasonal video marketing to make the most of seasonality in Q4. 

What’s Happening to the Seasonal Shopping Timeline? 

Ahead of the winter holiday season, shoppers are searching for the best gifts earlier than ever before. Think with Google found that “by the end of October, 50% of Americans are shopping for holiday over any two-day period, and, on average, 29% of their holiday shopping is complete.” 

And if you’re in the business of selling decorations, that timeline starts even earlier. According to Forbes, Lowe’s started advertising and offering its holiday line in July. (Next year, let customers know they can go ahead and pick up Rudolph for the front yard while they’re grabbing July 4th grill upgrades.) 

Only 40% of consumers plan to start shopping in November or December, according to eMarketer. Of course, you’ll still want to grab their attention, but you also can’t miss out on the majority of customers who are already focused on their holiday shopping plans. 

Shoppers Are Planning Ahead

Think with Google also found 74% of shoppers are planning their gift buying in one way or another. This means people are budgeting, looking for the best deals, and trying to spread out their spending over a longer period of time. But they’re also concerned about the delays many shoppers faced last year. According to eMarketer, roughly 26% of shoppers are buying gifts ahead of time to avoid any supply chain or shipping delays. 

With these issues still on their minds, shoppers are planning ahead and crossing gifts off their lists as soon as possible. 

Consumers Want the Best Deals

Consumers around the globe are looking for the best prices on products. According to eMarketer, 37% of US shoppers and 42% of global shoppers are starting earlier to try and get the best deals. 

As inflation dominates headlines and stokes financial concerns, consumers are looking for ways to combat increased spending this holiday season. According to a Numerator 2023 holiday shopping survey, 85% of shoppers said their shopping will either be slightly, moderately, or severely affected by inflation. 

According to a Statista survey, 40% of shoppers plan to compare different retailers in order to find lower prices. Plus, 25% are looking for more promotions than they did the year before. 

How To Adjust Your Holiday Marketing Strategy

The holiday season always comes with unique challenges for brands and consumers alike. In 2020, for example, there was uncertainty about, well, everything. Gatherings may be back in action now, but the economy remains in flux, keeping people on the hunt for cost-effective ways to give presents to their loved ones and spend the holiday season together. 

So you know shoppers are looking for deals and shopping earlier than ever before — but what can you do about it? 

Understand Your Customers’ Shopping Habits 

Before anything else, you’ve got to understand your customers and their holiday shopping habits — not just customers in general. Are they among those starting their shopping journeys in September? Or are they the last-minute-gift-card kind of folks? 

Once you know more about your holiday audience, you can optimize your content. With ads created with your audience in mind, you’ll create more effective connections that will last long into the new year. 

Revise Your Timeline 

Once you know when your shoppers are beginning to peruse the aisles (or rush into the store last minute) for holiday gifts, you can craft a content strategy around their timeline. 

While we can’t travel back in time (yet…we’ll keep trying), we can still make the most of the time we have left before the holiday season is in full swing. If your shoppers are planners, make sure your content speaks to planners. If you know your audience is filled with folks rushing into the store at the last minute, make sure you save a portion of your holiday marketing budget as you get closer to key holidays. 

According to the stats above, we know over a third of consumers have already started shopping for winter holiday gifts. And many of the people who haven’t shopped yet have already started planning. So the majority of your customers are (likely) somewhere in the process of finishing their lists — now they’re just waiting to find the best deals. 

Promote Your Deals

Speaking of deals, you need to make sure you’re staying ahead of the competition with promotion-forward ads and campaigns. Likely in response to the income concerns from consumers, brands seem ready to hand out deals this year. In a CNBC survey, 67% of brand respondents said they expect consumers to be on the lookout for lower prices this holiday season. 

If you want to connect with existing customers who may already have their gift lists planned out, you can run an early shopper campaign. With urgency, a specific timeline, and an exclusive deal, you’ll drive more customers to your website and (hopefully) the checkout button. 

You can use video marketing to promote your brand through social media, Connected TV ads, email campaigns, and more to make sure your deals are at the forefront of your holiday marketing strategy this year. 

Balance Evergreen and Seasonal Creative 

Running a campaign all year long is essential to achieving performance goals, but you can’t simply set it and forget it. While evergreen creative can last for several months, seasonal video creative needs to be updated much more frequently. 

Since this content is limited to specific initiatives, it has an average shelf life of about 17 days. With this in mind, we recommend updating yours every 10 to 20 days to keep your audience engaged. Remember, you don’t need huge adjustments to make a significant difference in your video production. For example, if you swap out voiceovers and end cards, you can optimize an existing piece of creative for your end-of-year video marketing campaign

Maintain Testing and Optimization Strategies All Year Long 

Once you know what your customers are looking for, you can optimize your content to meet their needs. Are your customers primarily looking for a store coupon, or are they hoping you’ll host a blowout sale like last year? 

With a multivariate testing strategy, you can compare different elements of your video creative and find out what resonates most with your audience. If you know they’re more excited about a big sale than a one-time deal, you can optimize your content to provide the dates, times, locations, and other details of your sale. 

Especially as we get closer to the end of the year, consumers will appreciate how you’ve customized your content to meet their needs. This personalization element can help your brand streamline the buyer’s journey — and help shoppers cross items off their list sooner. 

Connect with the Right Consumers at the Right Time 

Q4 is an essential time to connect with customers, so you’ve got to make this time count. With best practices and a robust (and refinable) video marketing strategy, you’ll be able to engage with your customers, drive sales, and leave a lasting impression this holiday season.

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