2020 launched the retail industry into uncharted territory as consumer behaviors and purchasing patterns shifted in radical ways.
As a result of closed brick-and-mortar locations, social media holiday shopping, direct-to-consumer sales and eCommerce marketplaces became the go-to means of procuring gifts for the holiday season.
With the 2021 holiday shopping season just around the corner, it is highly likely that many consumers will maintain their digital shopping habits, particularly with reports of increasing cases of COVID, and continued fears of infection around the country.
While the situation is undoubtedly unfortunate, retailers have the chance to gain from current circumstances, just like many.
Therefore, given that a significant amount of 2021’s holiday shopping is likely to take place online, it is critical for retailers to focus their efforts on paid media tips on Cyber Monday and Black Friday, social media holiday shopping strategies and similar efforts that will help them in Q4.
That said, in order to achieve this aim, merchants must first understand COVID’s impact on eCommerce, and how this dynamic will affect their marketing efforts.
How COVID Has Impacted eCommerce
Prior to the onset of COVID-19, eCommerce was an already booming industry. However, as a result of consumers being moved online in 2020, most of the money that would typically be spent in physical retail locations was spent at digital storefronts.
As DigitalCommerce360 notes on:
“The pandemic pushed even more U.S. consumers online, contributing an additional $105 billion in U.S. online revenue in 2020 and accelerating ecommerce by two years, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. Online sales hit $791.70 billion in 2020, up 32.4 percent from $598.02 billion in the prior year, according to Commerce Department figures. That’s the highest annual online sales growth of any year for which data is available.”
While this is undoubtedly to be expected, the piece goes on to detail how much of this trend carried over into 2021:
“And figures from Q1 2021 show that the coronavirus is still making an impact on retail spending. Online sales increased 39 percent year over year in Q1 2021, nearly triple the 14% increase in Q1 2020, and faster than Q3 2020 and Q4 2020.”
Moreover, the trend toward digital shopping is also borne out by, which states:
“U.S. ecommerce sales are projected to continue to grow by double digits, up 17.9 percent in 2021 to $933.30 billion. Ecommerce penetration will continue to increase, more than doubling from 2019 to 23.6 percent in 2025.”
Therefore, when discussing paid media tips on Cyber Monday and to leverage, it is essential for merchants to understand these strategies through this lens.
10 Paid Media Tips on Cyber Monday and Holiday Ad Strategies
As it stands, this holiday shopping season is likely to be rather unique, given the current paradigm being created by COVID, and similar industry-changing trends.
That said, the strategies that retailers will want to deploy for this holiday season include:
1. Analyze Historical Data
While there are most likely to be similarities between the 2020 and 2021 holiday shopping seasons, there are also likely to be patterns that merchants can draw out of their historical PPC data to create a forecast of how to manage the upcoming sales season.
Therefore, by analyzing previous years’ performance, as well as taking a look at 2020 as something of an anomalous year that might be mirrored in some ways, sellers can begin to understand how to put together their paid social media holiday shopping promotions, PPC campaigns and other marketing materials.
2. Prepare for an Extended Holiday Shopping Season
In 2020, retailers started pumping out holiday deals earlier than ever, partially as a means of mitigating issues.
As a result of merchants rolling out deals earlier than in years prior, shoppers reciprocated. In 2020, a whopping 40 percent of consumers began shopping for holiday gifts earlier than they usually would have,.
Therefore, it is wise to anticipate a similar happening playing out in 2021. What this means is that sellers should start testing, planning and discussing budgeting as early as possible, given that 2021 campaigns are likely to be extended.
While this might cause some stresses and strains, the fact is that the lengthier shopping season gives retailers additional opportunities to implement and test out paid media tips on Cyber Monday, Black Friday and other noteworthy days to see which ones produce the best results.
However, this also means that merchants should begin their campaigns earlier than usual, which leads us to our next point.
3. Start Campaigns Early
Given that sellers are wise to prepare for an extended holiday season, this also means that they should launch their campaigns well before November or December.
While some customers are indeed prone to purchasing gifts at the last minute, as mentioned earlier, one in four holiday shoppers bought earlier than expected in 2020.
Therefore, by starting to run and earlier in the year, retailers can successfully capture a significant number of sales before other merchants launch their first holiday advert.
4. Prioritize Mobile Advertising
According to, Boomer and Gen X consumers significantly increased their usage of mobile devices. As Facebook reported:
“Globally, mobile purchases by [Gen X and Boomers] during the holiday season have grown on average by 50 percent or more year on year, while over 30 percent have messaged businesses. COVID-19 is having an impact too, with over 80 percent of Gen X and Boomers shopping online at this time.”
This is an important development given that younger generations like Millennials and Zoomers are already heavily invested in mobile shopping.
Therefore, where paid media tips on Cyber Monday (as well as PPC tactics for the rest of the holiday season) are concerned, mobile should be a priority for retailers.
5. Optimize Mobile Experiences
While this isn’t necessarily a paid or social media holiday shopping strategy, it certainly ties in and impacts them in significant ways.
Turning back to Facebook’s 2020 holiday report, the tech giant also reported that a stunning 82 percent of shoppers worldwide reported user experience issues when shopping for gifts online.
Moreover, nearly a third of Boomers complained that font sizes were too small on mobile. Meanwhile, a quarter of Millennials reported that mobile content did not fit their screen.
What this means is that if retailers are going to be implementing paid media tips on Cyber Monday, the most significant of them is to better by optimizing experiences for small screen devices.
After all, if a consumer clicks through on an ad, only to be met with a frustrating on-site experience, they will likely bounce, thus costing merchants money on advertising and lost sales.
6. Focus on First-Party Data
Thanks to Apple’s iOS 14.5 update (in addition to other recent developments), third-party data is becoming increasingly difficult to collect and utilize.
Therefore, it is critical that merchants begin relying on first-party data for paid media results for their holiday campaigns.
Moreover, it is vital for sellers to contemplate how they will during this time, as this is an excellent opportunity to acquire profitable new leads.
Given that there is a lot of change in the retail advertising space, the holidays are an exceptional time to begin testing out tactics to take forward into the privacy-focused era of eCommerce.
7. Strategize Segmentation
Once merchants have gathered the first-party data to use, it is necessary to develop successfully.
This is, in part, where a seller’s historical data will come into play as retailers will be more capable of determining which customer segments to target with their adverts (first-time buyers, repeat customers, VIPs, etc.).
8. Consider Contextual Targeting
As mentioned earlier, things like Apple’s iOS update are altering how retailers engage in advertising. Moreover, the holiday period is excellent for leaning into the future of paid media.
Therefore, something that sellers might want to begin experimenting with is.
Given that mobile is really where retailers will want to invest for their paid campaigns and social media holiday shopping efforts and contextual advertising is likely to play a significant role in the future of digital ads, this is a perfect opportunity for sellers to reach new customers.
While most merchants are not tapping into this medium just yet, there are a lot of advantages for retailers to reap should they decide to position their brand on the leading edge during the holiday sales season.
9. Offer Free and Fast Shipping
As far as paid media tips on Cyber Monday go, few are more important than offering consumers fast, free shipping on their orders.
After all, in the era of Amazon, most consumers are used to receiving this kind of shipping. Therefore, if a store is too slow to get someone their goods, they are likely to find the items somewhere that can get them to their door faster.
Fortunately, Google Shopping Ads enables sellers to.
Given that many shoppers want to save every penny that they can (so that they can buy more gifts for loved ones), it is essential to highlight this kind of information.
10. Target Last-Minute Shoppers
In addition to targeting those who are likely to get their shopping done early, it is important for sellers to keep those last-minute shoppers in mind as well.
When aiming to capture sales from this crowd, it is crucial to keep in mind the sense of urgency that they likely feel and to utilize that to their brand’s advantage.
This is where comes into play.
By deploying this tool, retailers can maximize the conversions generated from last-minute shoppers. For instance, by, retailers can highlight last-minute deals alongside scarcity-oriented copy such as:
- Only a few hours left
- The clock is ticking
- Before it’s too late
By playing off consumers’ sense of urgency and late-in-the-game shopping habits, merchants can generate a significant number of sales as the holiday sales period comes to a close.
The holiday shopping period is the most critical time of the year for eCommerce retailers. Therefore, it is necessary to exploit a variety of paid media tips for Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Christmas and the rest, such as those listed above.
Fortunately, there is still time for merchants to get their PPC and social media holiday shopping campaigns in order and ready for the mad dash of clicks and conversions.
That said, given that there are some different dynamics at play this year between third-party data alterations, consumer shopping habit changes and the like, it might be wise for retailers to partner with an ad agency that can help navigate the waters.
If your brand would like some assistance in ensuring advertising success this holiday season, reach out to.
Our team of expert eCommerce social media advertisers can help your company concoct campaigns that are sure to drive conversions and generate revenue this holiday season.