Many retailers use the holidays to end their fiscal year with a bang. This year, many marketers, especially retailers, are putting their hopes in the 2020 holiday season to capture revenue at the tail-end of what has been a hard year. 97th Floor’s latest study dove into all of the newest trends in Black Friday and holiday shopping to help marketers prepare, and in this post we’ll dive deeper into how these insights might affect your ad strategy this season.

COVID-19 has shifted every business’s strategy and planning in 2020. As cases continue to rise, holiday shopping trends are no exception. This season, 68% of shoppers say they plan to do most of their shopping online due to COVID, and 52% of shoppers say they expect they’ll never shop in person for the holidays ever again.

Things are changing, and marketers need to keep up. Especially this holiday season, it will be imperative that marketers make the most of the newest consumer trends. The changing market will likely mean many advertisers will be prioritizing ads for their holiday campaigns, so marketers need to look at what that will mean as far as higher costs in the ad platforms, etc. and need to be ready to traverse the new waters with skill.

Here are a few tips to make the most of your ads this 2020 season based on our recent data.

Rising costs demand flexibility, get your pixels in place now

For two months in a row, Facebook’s CPMs have risen by 10% — reaching a record high for 2020. Higher costs might mean that your strategy needs to pivot. Be sure to place pixels from other platforms on your site so that you can hold onto your followers in case you decide to pivot to other ad platforms that may be less expensive.

With virtually every retailer trying to make up for lost ground earlier in the year, you can bet you’ll see more competitive bids, decreasing your ROAS. Facebook will likely become an incredibly competitive market, with costs continuing to rise. This season, be prepared to switch platforms and pivot to make the most of your budget.

Frequent, loud, and personal messaging

This holiday season, your ad copy and creative needs to stand out, but you already knew that. What you might not know is that only 20% of shoppers say they're definitely in “a shopping mood” this holiday season. Advertisers need exceptional copy and creative to earn clicks and conversions from their audience this year.

Even stores that are used to pushing in-person sales will be moving online, and users will be inundated with ads. Advertisers need to be leaning into their established personas to create copy and creative that speaks to your audience. Even if you have high performing ads, they will likely need a refresh with a holiday angle to ensure they are speaking to your persona during the holiday season.

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Use traffic to build your retargeting pool

Savvy advertisers will have already built a deep retargeting pool months ago that they can lean into heavily during the holiday season. So while it might be too late to build a retargeting pool for this season’s retargeting efforts, the holidays could be a perfect time to build that pool for future efforts.

If you can gain a solid retargeting pool, it will give you the leg up in your future endeavors (like starting 2021 off with lower CPCs). Retargeted audiences are some of the most likely to convert, and that’s what ultimately matters over any kind of wide reach or visibility. Figure out ways to get qualified traffic to your site en mass, even if it’s not on a product page, and then use pixels to add them to your remarketing pool. And who knows, focusing on building that pool might just bring you conversions this season too.

Big picture takeaways

This holiday season will be different than anything we’ve experienced before. Advertisers should prep their leadership with accurate numbers, as 73% of shoppers plan to spend either as much or less than they did last season.

Monitor your channels closely and be ready to pivot as needed. Don’t lose track of your CPM or CPC prices, and be strategic with your budget as costs rise. Stay hyper aware, or you’ll find yourself paying a lot more per ad. And look to the future (yes, there’s hope beyond the holiday season)! Build your remarketing pool, and prepare for an audience base that has the potential to stay largely online, even once the COVID crisis ends.