Record Breaking Digital Holiday Season Predicted by Adobe

Most people think about Adobe as the company that makes their favorite PDF readers, but they are much more than that.  In fact, Adobe’s marketing cloud is used by the vast majority of the top online retailers in the US.  Using the data gathered from this, Adobe puts together a report each year that predicts the digital shopping trends for the holiday season.  This report, titled, “Adobe Digital Index 2015 Holiday Shopping Predictions” is used by many marketers to help them make advertising decisions.

This year’s report was just released and it is looking very good for retailers, brands and marketers.  Last year’s digital holiday season was record breakings, and this year is shaping up to be even better.  The report predicts an 11% jump in total spend for the holiday season, bringing it to $83 Billion.

There is a ton of information in the report, which is a total of 63 pages.  As you go through it you will see there are predictions and information about the holiday season as a whole, and major shopping days such as Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and more.  Looking at this information you can make more educated decisions regarding your marketing efforts.

Thanksgiving Shopping

One of the biggest points in the report covers Thanksgiving day shopping.  The shopping on this day is expected to go up by 18% year over year to a total of $1.6 Billion.  This is a massive jump, and one that some people weren’t expecting.  There is something of a pushback going on concerning Thanksgiving shopping right now, but that is primarily focused on people wanting retail stores to not be open on the Holiday. This clearly doesn’t apply to online shopping.

Black Friday Shopping

Next, Black Friday is also expected to get a big bump.  Shoppers are expected to spend about 15% more this year than they did last.   This will bring the Black Friday total sales to an estimated $2.7 Billion in online sales.  This will be the second largest online shopping day of the year, according to perditions.  Of course, most of Black Friday’s sales will be generated offline, so it will remain the strongest total shopping day of the year.

Cyber Monday Shopping

Cyber Monday is predicted to be the biggest digital shopping day of the year.  Total sales are expected to go up by 12% to a total of $2.9 Billion.  Marketers will need to get their ads set up and scheduled to go live for this day well ahead of time as there will undoubtedly be massive demand for all types of digital ads.

Overall, the digital shopping for this holiday is looking extremely strong for the 2015 holiday season.  The strong growth will generate many opportunities for marketers throughout the season, but especially during the biggest shopping days mentioned above.  The report does have a lot more information that can help marketers to make the best decisions for their businesses so make sure you take a look if you haven’t already.

The Adobe report can be found HERE.

Sex & Violence Don’t Actually Sell!

When it comes to marketing, most people believe in the popular adage “Sex Sells.”  According to a recent study, however, that might not be the case.  The study was published in the academic journal, “Psychological Bulletin” and looked at behaviors after people watched television programming that included sexual and/or violent content.  The results were surprisingly similar, and not at all what many people would have expected.

Brad Bushman, who published this meta-study and is a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University said that, “It never helps to have violence and sex in commercials.  It either hurts, or has no effect at all.”

The studies specifically showed that those brands that use sex or violence are remembered less often than other brands, and when they are remembered it is less favorably.  These two factors go against all the goals of marketing efforts.

Within the research it was found that the same is true for both men and women.  This basically nullifies the idea that using sex to advertise to men is effective.  Even if it does get their attention at first, it is unlikely that it will cause them to want to buy a product or even remember the product.  This actually makes since given the fact that when you think about ‘sexy commercials’ you think about beer, but not necessary a specific brand.

There is also ‘reverse’ evidence that supports the study.  This shows that ‘family friendly’ commercials are very effective.  Many major companies including Wal-Mart have been moving toward the more ‘PG’ rated advertising and with great results.  Wal-Mart did research and found that when they advertised on family-friendly programming the results were 18% better than when it was on questionable programming.

Of course, the type of programming an ad is run on will also have a big influence on how the ad is seen.  While the study itself is primarily focused on the most effective types of ads themselves, it is also important to keep in mind that.  This applies to more than just television advertising as well.  If you are using digital marketing you will want to make sure your ads are appearing on sites that are in line with your overall advertising strategy.

Two New Ad Types from Facebook Designed to Generate Direct Leads

Facebook has recently confirmed that they are testing two new types of advertisements that are designed to help marketers generate leads and even direct sales.  These ads will have a similar appearance to their existing ad formats, but with some important enhancements that are likely to help marketers and brands with optimizing their marketing efforts significantly.

Lead Ads

The first new ad format is being called ‘Lead Ads’ and is made specifically for mobile devices.  They will have the normal ad format including headlines, descriptions, text, images and a call to action button.  The difference, however, is that when users click the button it will populate an in-app form.  This form will be filled out automatically by information that Facebook has on the users.

The fact that it automatically fills everything out will make it much easier on the users, which should dramatically reduce the ‘abandonment’ issue that so many marketers face.  Once the in-app form is populated (which is virtually instantly) the user simply hits submit.  This is perfect for generating new email list sign ups or other similar advertisements.

You can see how the Lead Ads will work in this image from Facebook:

New Facebook Ads

Buy Product Ads

The next new ad type is called, ‘Buy Product Ads’ and this is one that is likely to generate a lot of buzz for marketers and larger brands.  It is set up to allow customers to complete a full purchase right form within the Facebook app.  Like the Lead Ads, users will see a fairly traditional looking advertisement for a product they may be interested in.  Rather than tapping to be brought to another website to complete the purchase, however, they can simply tap a buy button.

When they hit the buy button it will take them to another form within the app where their information will already be filled out.  Users will even have the ability to keep a credit card on file with Facebook so this information can be completed as well.  The user will simply have to review the form to make sure everything is correct and then they can complete the purchase with another tap.

For many businesses and marketers, this type of ad will create a great opportunity.  While it can be effective for almost any type of product or service, those with lower price points will likely perform best.  This type of Facebook ad will make it very easy for people to make ‘impulse’ purchases without having to take the time to think it through.  Things like T-Shirts or other fun items can benefit greatly from this type of ad.

Still in Testing

Both of these two ad types are still in testing phases, but are expected to progress into wider use before long.  They will obviously have important uses for many marketers and will help Facebook to attract new advertisers. If successful, these types of ads can be very beneficial to Facebook, marketers as well as the consumers.

New Report Shows US E-Commerce Growing Rapidly

The full numbers for eCommerce in 2013 are finally out from the US Census, and the results are looking quite good for anyone who is involved with the online marketing industry at all.  The report found that US retailers had 13.6% growth from 2012 to 2013 on their eCommerce platforms.  This brought them up to $261 Billion, from $229 Billion in 2012.

goldfish in cart - e-commerce concept

The growth is not exactly surprising, but it is always a good idea to work with the best and most accurate numbers possible to avoid getting caught up in the hype that is commonly found in this industry.  Taking the time to look at these results, even if they are nearly two years old, is very important.  In many ways it will confirm what the estimates had been up to this point.

The official report, which is titled, “E-Stats 2013: Measuring the Electronic Economy” says that in 2013 retail sales accounted for about 5.8% of total sales.  This is up from 5.3% in 2012.  The total sales also went up by 3.8% to a total of $4.5 trillion in 2013 (2012 had $4.3 trillion).

One thing that marketers should pay close attention to from this report is that the eCommerce is still just a small piece of the total retail puzzle.  As you can see, it is just 5.8% in 2013.  That percentage will likely go up some in 2014 and 2015 but the reality is, even digital marketers should be looking to see how they can benefit from offline sales as well.

Over time, however, most experts believe that the balance between traditional retail stores and eCommerce will start to get closer to even.  This isn’t likely to happen in the near term, but slowly over time.

Where is the Money?

The report found that the largest category for retail merchandise sold through the Internet in 2013 is clothing and clothing accessories.  This segment includes footwear.  This one segment is generating $40 billion in eCommerce sales at this time, and has gone up since.  For anyone looking for a new niche to enter for online marketing efforts, this is clearly a great option.  Of course, the vast majority of these sales go through well established companies.  Some of them, however, do have affiliate programs in place.

Importance of Reports

These types of reports are an important tool for all marketers to be aware of.  They can serve a number of purposes.  First, it can provide valuable data about where the money is being spent and how much of it there is.  Second, and perhaps most importantly, is that the reports can be used to show potential clients just how essential a good digital marketing strategy can be.  When managed properly it can contribute a significant amount to a brand’s bottom line and increase both online and offline sales.

This report can be found HERE.

In 2015 Marketers will spend $58.6 Billion on Digital Ads

When it comes to driving targeted traffic to your pages there are few things as fast and effective as digital advertising.  Many marketers spend a significant portion of their advertising budget on this type of ads, and it really starts to add up over time.  In fact, according to a new report from eMarketers, marketers will spend about $58.6 Billion in this type of advertising in 2015.  This is a record breaking amount.

Digital Marketing

The report, titled “Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry” breaks down where the money is coming from, which can be very important.  Industries that have a large amount of digital ad spend already, for example, will likely have higher prices per click or view.  Having a good idea of the amount of money in each industry is also important if your business displays any type of digital advertising as an income stream.

Breakdown of Industry Spend

Here are the key pieces of data concerning which industries are spending how much on their digital advertising.

  • Retail is responsible for 22% of all digital ad spend. They spend $6.7 Billion on mobile advertising and $1.6 Billion on video ads.
  • Automotive industries contribute 12.5% of digital ad spend. They account for $1.1 billion in video ads and $3.4 Billion in mobile ads.
  • Financial services contribute 12.3% to all of digital ads with $3.5 Billion in mobile ads and $1.7 Billion in programmatic ads.
  • Telecom accounts for 11.1% of the total digital ad economy.
  • Consumer products are 8.5%
  • Travel is 8.3%
  • Consumer electronics is 7.6% of the digital ads
  • Media is 5.8%
  • Entertainment comes in at 4.8%
  • Healthcare is just 2.8%

This leaves the remaining 4.5% spread out over ‘other’ industries.  It is incredible to see just how much money is being spent across these industries on digital advertising.  Keep in mind that digital ads didn’t even exist just a couple of decades ago.

The principal analyst at eMarketer, Victoria Petrock, said “While digital ad growth remains the story for all industries, it’s not one-size-fits-all.  Nuances among sectors reflect a variety of trends in the ways each industry targets consumers and closes sales.”

This is an important and insightful comment by Petrock and is something marketers should take note of.  Basically what she means is that video ads, for example, may perform well for the entertainment industry (movie trailers) and car sales, but they likely don’t translate quite as easily for telecom.  On the other hand, programmatic ads still do well with consumer packaged goods, but retail doesn’t use them quite as much as they used to.

Whatever your business model is, make sure you are documenting what type of digital ad spend you are making and how it is performing.  Making adjustments to ensure you get the best possible results is essential to getting the best return on investment.