Not long till Cyber Week…

Cyber Week

The critical Cyber Week sales are nearly upon us, but there is time to do some last-minute preparation to make the most of this vital shopping event, insists Snap UK’s Ruth Arber.

‘Tis the season. You can’t help but notice the signs cropping up next to the Halloween sweets and pumpkin displays. Halloween isn’t even here yet and we’re already talking about the next cultural shopping moment. No, not Christmas – Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on their way and retailers are already gearing up, hoping for a bumper sales season. 

Goodness knows they need it. The UK summer was a washout on top of a fairly shaky start to the year with consumers nervous about the economy, so the pressure is on to make Q4 and the lesser-known Q5, the strongest sales cycle yet. While there’s undoubtedly a world of opportunity, it’s going to be a highly competitive bunfight to secure consumers’ attention. By playing smart with their ad budgets, targeting key audiences and using this sales cycle to build relationships, not just a discounting smash and grab, retailers could finish the year strong. 

First, the audience. It’s a broad brush to start with but there’s no denying the combined purchasing clout of Millennials and Gen Z. Together, they have a worldwide purchasing power of $4.4 trillion. 

This is more than about switching the message, we’re also talking about optimising your channel mix too. Social platforms which include ‘buy now’ functions have always been a target platform for Black Friday and Cyber Monday advertising, but targeting Gen Z and Millennials means sharpening the media mix further. 

In-store shopping, for example, is making a comeback but boosted by the mobile phone in real-time. A true omnichannel experience is the only option here – whether Gen Z is snapping trends to share, browsing in-store to buy online or researching via mobile to go in-store, brands must answer each distinct need. 

Shopping is also now a collaborative effort. More than three-quarters (78%) of Gen Z and Millennials include their friends in their shopping journey. Across Snapchatters, that’s even higher at 92%. 

Therefore how retailers approach their Black Friday/Cyber Monday strategies also has to change. You can’t have the same plans as you had last year. In such a competitive marketplace looking for ad space can be an expensive business, and the landscape changes so often that it’s important to constantly reevaluate. Diversifying your marketing mix is more effective and cost-efficient. 

We see CPMs rising from mid-October and it continues an upward trajectory to Black Friday week. But we also see conversion rates and ROAS increasing at the same time – Snapchat saw a 46% increase in ROAS during Cyber Week. So, even though it is more expensive to advertise, these campaigns are still delivering. Average order value, too, grows.

Clearly, the further in advance you can launch campaigns to make the best of favourable auction dynamics, the better. Some of these sales start from early November and continue right up to Christmas so getting the customer’s attention at the beginning will see you in good stead. It also gives you space to test – essential if you’re to deliver highly effective ads during these high-traffic periods. 

Testing is one thing, actioning the insights is quite another. This is where it pays to be prepared in advance. Dynamic ad formats consistently deliver higher ROAS, especially during Black Friday/Cyber Monday. However, to work effectively it does demand a degree of set-up – building the product feed, creating templates and so on. 

It may seem that there’s already a lot on your pre-Black Friday plate, but it’s worth considering one more thing, and that’s Augmented Reality (AR). A mainstay of a huge and growing number of brand campaigns, including AR tools such as try-on or visualisation features really delivers returns – we’ve seen 92% higher conversion rates when consumers interact with products through AR and 3.5 times higher ROAS with 69% lower cost per purchase with AR-enabled Snap Ad and Story Ad campaigns. 

And what of the post-Black Friday blues? Time to briefly shut up shop and gather your wits for the next push to Christmas? Sitting on your laurels, even after a successful Cyber Week sales event would be a mistake. Cyber Week is a key discovery period for a lot of shoppers and many go into the Black Friday sales with a gifting for Christmas mindset. 

Instead of treating Cyber Week as a separate campaign to Christmas, now it’s time to start thinking about data. What audiences were searching for which products? Who viewed products but never added to cart, or who added to cart but dropped it at the final hurdle? These are all key moments to re-engage and remarket during the latter stages of the November/December shopping period. 

And remember, after the chaotic, compressed Cyber Week seriousness of campaigns that are designed to deliver immediate action, Christmas brings an opportunity for a bit of festive fun. Swap the frenetic for the frivolous with playful messaging that excites and engages consumers for Christmas.