The holiday season is upon us once again. For many in the retail and consumer goods industries, this is the most crucial time of the year. Bonuses are made or lost during the holiday season as some toys, electronics, and clothing items become the hit of the season and others fall flat.

We know customers do more and more of their holiday shopping online. But what we must not overlook is that regardless of where the purchase takes place — online or in-store — digital channels are very important to customers looking to decide on what items to buy. Marketers have to be responsible for increasing discovery and visibility of their products during the holiday season. We recommend that marketers who are focused on customer acquisition during this year’s holiday season:

  • Use paid search to expand reach. Search engines are still a great place to get in front of customers intentionally looking for solutions or products that you sell. Most marketers in the retail industry spend a majority of their search spend during Q4. But we think marketers need to reevaluate the way they use paid search. We’ve spoken with countless marketers who are spending the vast majority of their paid search budget on branded keywords. In fact, Gap recently said it was pulling all of its budget out of nonbranded terms and only using branded terms in paid search. Do not be like Gap. Simply put: That’s a ludicrous strategy. Focus on nonbranded terms this holiday season to get in front of customers who don’t know your brand or product set, and use paid search as a means to introduce yourself to new prospects.
  • Look beyond Amazon for advertising opportunities. 2018 has been the year of Amazon advertising. The eCommerce giant now rakes in over $2 billion annually from advertising revenue — the vast majority coming from sellers on Amazon buying up search ads within Amazon Marketing Services (AMS). Marketers should continue to look at Amazon as an effective platform to spend ad dollars on to increase visibility of their product listings. But this holiday season, they should also look to other eCommerce partners such as Walmart, Target, and Best Buy for ad opportunities.