Today’s post is by Kye Mou, a Product Marketing Manager at Marin Software. Kye has been in the online marketing industry since 2008. He graduated UC Davis with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Economics, is an avid San Francisco Giants fan, and enjoys the company of friends, family and his dog, Kaiya.

The holiday shopping season has always been the most profitable time of the year for online retailers. In 2011, consumers spent approximately $37.2 billion online in November and December, representing an increase of 15% over 2010 (Comscore).

For many online marketers, Facebook has not traditionally been thought of as a revenue-driving channel during the holiday season. On the other hand, paid search continues to show tremendous growth year over year in holiday spending, remaining a vital program for acquiring more revenue during the holiday season.

paid search holiday spend 2011

 

However, this trend also underscores a challenge for online marketers – competition for paid search clicks is getting more intense. As the paid search landscape during the holiday season becomes more saturated, there is a need for retailers to establish a social presence.

In October, Marin Software analyzed its customer list of over 1,800 advertisers who manage more than $4 billion a year in online ad spend. The report findings indicate that holiday shoppers incorporate Facebook ads in their hunt for holiday deals in a manner similar to paid search. Facebook holiday shopping trends in 2011 resembled those of paid search, with Facebook-originated ad revenues spiking over the Thanksgiving weekend.

facebook-originated holiday revenue

 

Furthermore, the trend also shows that Thanksgiving weekend (extended) yielded five of the top six shopping days of the year for online advertisers. These search-like spikes in Facebook revenue show that holiday consumers turn to Facebook not just for social interaction and sharing, but also to find deals and product recommendations. Interestingly, Cyber Monday returned a higher level of revenue than Black Friday for Facebook advertisers in 2011. (For paid search in 2011, Black Friday outperformed Cyber Monday.)

With Facebook starting to exhibit search-like holiday seasonality, it is crucial that businesses embrace the power of an integrated social marketing program. Shoppers who once turned to search engines for information are increasingly relying on social connections for the latest news, product information, special offers, and brand suggestions.

Accordingly, here are some key recommendations as you prepare for the holiday season:

–          Ensure that Facebook programs stay focused on measurable, revenue-acquiring activities by using techniques like Facebook fan-only specials and coupons.

–          Strengthen relationships and increase the likelihood of a purchase by responding to posts and comments made by shoppers.

–          Combine Facebook Offers with Facebook Sponsored Stories (for targeting friends of fans) to acquire more fans, appeal to deal-seeking social shoppers, and amplify holiday messaging and promotions across a larger, more engaged audience.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be sure to have a successful 2012 holiday season.

Kye Mou Marin Software

 

 

– Kye Mou

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