It’s beginning to look a lot like…holiday shopping season.
Global supply chain issues have sparked an ordering urgency. In fact, more than a third1 of surveyed US shoppers plan to start shopping even earlier this year, hoping that packages will arrive in time for the holidays.
With this in mind, purchase intent is already high for audiences around the world. This makes shoppers more open to advertisements, giving marketers an opportunity to reach a receptive audience. Meanwhile, publishers can help deliver positive user experiences when they monetize with ad formats that resonate.
We’ve rounded up a selection of holiday season trends, along with some powerful ad formats to help you reach your end-of-year goals.
Retail Industry Ad Spend is Up, and Video Reigns
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In a hyper saturated market, video is an eye-catching, attention-grabbing ad format that can help retailers stand out.
In the US alone, emarketer projects $12.14 billion in video ad spending2 in the retail industry, more than triple pharma, and more than automotive and pharma/healthcare combined.
By 2023, this number is expected to climb to 18.8 billion3.
With that in mind, how can retailers stand out with their digital advertising, and how can publishers keep users engaged? Ad formats like rewarded video can be a unique and lucrative place to start.
Traditionally used for in-app gaming advertising, rewarded video lets users opt in to watching ad content in exchange for a reward. Historically, this might be unlocking a hidden game level, restoring lives, or getting coins.
For retail, consider offering coupon/promo codes, discounts, and secret sales. Users enjoy the format because they get to control their advertising experience. Marketers only pay for impressions when the video is watched in totality, which makes this format both efficient and effective. For publishers, offering rewarded video not only generates high ecpms, but also results in positive brand sentiment.
With OTT/CTV, there’s also a unique opportunity to contextually target viewers. At Smaato, our in-house server-side ad insertion (SSAI) can pre-stitch ads into publisher content, giving publishers and marketers a chance to align messaging. As the weather gets colder and days get shorter, more and more viewers will be curling up to watch holiday classics, binge new favorites, or stream cooking shows. The holiday season offers key opportunities for OTT/CTV advertising, with contextual targeting at the forefront.
To learn more about OTT/CTV advertising opportunities, or to get insights into the power of contextual targeting, download a copy of our OTT/CTV eBook.
Ecommerce Continues to Gain Traction
Of course, retail is a key industry this time of year. But ecommerce got an extra boost coming out of the pandemic, where people relied on online shopping for many facets of daily life.
Supply chain issues and delayed packages are not deterring shoppers, as it turns out. Retail sales in the US were up 15% in 2021, with sales closing in on 6 trillion dollars. By 2024, emarketer predicts a 7 trillion dollar spend on retail. Ecommerce is making up an increasingly large slice of the pie: they predict at least a quarter of that spend4 will come from online shopping.
Worldwide, ecommerce sales grew a whopping 58% in Q1 of 2021.
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Part of what’s driving that spend is grocery ecommerce. Grocery retail is continuing its trajectory straight up, and we expect it to accelerate further as holiday cooking demands increase.
Initially popularized and made more mainstream in the pandemic, the convenience of clicking to order groceries (and getting to avoid crowded stores) has made this category a welcome amenity for many. According to a PwC study, grocery ecommerce is the number one category5 where internet users anticipate spending more.
In 2021, eMarketer forecasts that grocery ecommerce sales will more than double from 20196. While grocery delivery is not new, the outpouring of new people-less stores is creating big competition in the market. This year offers a unique turning point: as the world begins to shift back towards “normal,” the influx of grocery delivery options (many of which offer services in 15 minutes or less) can help solidify new habits.
The boost in home-cooking around the holidays can further accelerate this trend.
As pandemic restrictions lift, more holiday gatherings will be in person this year. While holidays often involve presents, they always involve food. Family meals, holiday feasts, and homemade, edible gifts mean an uptick in grocery spend. Plus, as many restaurants continue to have spacing limitations and staffing shortages, we expect more holiday dinners to be hosted at home. Grocery ecommerce allows home chefs to spend more time with family and less time standing in long checkout lines, and makes it easier to acquire last minute items or ingredients.
Grocery ecommerce advertisers are turning towards innovative ad solutions like shoppable ads and live-streaming video advertising7. Initially popularized in China, this format gives grocers and food delivery advertisers a chance to share recipe demos, holiday baking tips, and other cooking inspiration.
MCommerce is Also on the Rise
Are you familiar with “mcommerce”? While the term may be new, the trend of mobile commerce, or shopping via mobile devices, has been picking up steam in the last few years, and is expected to accelerate with holiday shopping trends.
In APAC, mcommerce makes up a whopping 79.7% of total ecommerce sales8.
While US mcommerce makes up a smaller portion of overall retail sales, eMarketer projects that mcommerce will double its share of retail sales by 20259.
As such, publishers have a growing opportunity to monetize their mobile web and in-app inventory, while marketers can grab audience attention across devices.
Sometimes, the best way to do that is not to stick out, but to blend in.
Social media apps have helped prove how effective native advertising formats can be, as users can engage with sponsored product posts mixed into (and matching) their organic content. Native Video can combine the power of native advertising with the attention-grabbing nature of video as a format. As a result, Native Video can help deliver positive user experience, high eCPMs, and excellent engagement. By reaching online shoppers across devices, and by seamlessly blending into their online experience, engagement increases, and so do those eCPMs.
For both CPG retail and for consumables/grocery retail, native video can offer a seamless experience. For example, bakers scrolling through recipes online may be captivated by a meal or ingredient-related ad content, while shoppers looking for gift ideas will be drawn to ads that mirror their desired aesthetic as they scroll.
To learn more about native video, and other native formats like rich media, check out our quick overview of native advertising.
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- 1 Accenture, October 2021
- 2 eMarketer, 2021
- 3 eMarketer, 2021
- 4 eMarketer, October 2021
- 5 eMarketer, April-September 2021
- 6 eMarketer, August 2021
- 7 Adweek, September 2021
- 8 eMarketer, 2021
- 9 eMarketer, August 2021