The perfect holiday gift is priceless. That is truer than ever before with the increasing popularity of eCommerce allowing shoppers the ability to search around the clock until they find exactly what they want to purchase. As a result, advertising for the holiday season isn’t just a December campaign anymore; stores are kicking off as Q4 begins, even beginning their marketing campaigns as early as September.

What does that mean for eCommerce? The early bird gets the worm. Has your marketing team begun their preparation or campaigning for Q4 and the holiday rush? Congrats for being on the ball if your team has begun. If not, you probably should have started preparations yesterday.

Q4 Numbers Talk

Why do you think stores are already promoting for the holiday season? The proof is in the numbers. The holiday season is great for retail. The average order value is 17% higher during the holidays, along with a 52% increase in mobile purchase volume and 48% increase in desktop purchase volume. On average, in Q4, 73% of shoppers will shop at a new store or with a new eCommerce retailer when purchasing holiday gifts. What a great opportunity to expand your reach to new shoppers with the potential to become repeat customers! The holiday spirit plays a large role in spend; shoppers are willing to spend a little more on purchases if it means the perfect holiday gift for family and friends. They are more attune to impulse. About 1 in 5 holiday purchases will be based on impulse.

In the case of eCommerce sites, if there’s an opportunity to extend the holiday volume a little longer, there is no reason not to. It can only help companies to stay top of mind for the early bird shopper or encourage shoppers to start earlier, not to mention that CPM and CPC rates are lower than the heat of the holiday season. According to a study regarding 2015 holiday CPMs, mobile CPM is 39% higher and desktop CPM is 180% higher during the heat of the holiday season than the rest of the year. While December 22nd and 23rd are 2 of the biggest sales day of the year for both retailers and eCommerce business, along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the advertisers know that and the prices reflect it.

To make the most of advertising dollars, it benefits the retailers to plant the seed early. On average, the holiday season sees a 113% return on advertising spend compared to the rest of the year. No reason to diminish this amazing return potential. Yes, of course, we would never say don’t advertise in the heat of the holiday season. That is limiting the overall reach to grow your business in the busiest shopping time of the year. We would just encourage eCommerce to take note from the big box stores and consider starting early.

We have no doubt that revenue potential will continue to increase each year as eCommerce becomes more popular for everyday and holiday shopping.

Translating to Q4 eCommerce Advertising Best Practices

  1. Location, Location, Location: More than ever, location and visibility are imperative. In 2015, 78% of shoppers used the internet for holiday shopping. This number is only inevitable to increase year after year. The holiday season is when conversion rates are wild. It is up 11% on mobile devices and up 104% on desktop compared to the non-holiday baseline. Don’t let the drastic difference confuse you. This could involve searching on a mobile device and finally converting on desktop. Either way, conversion rates are wildly successful for the holiday season. As a result, being strategic where your company is advertised could increase its reach and conversion, especially with new shoppers. When selecting where to advertise, focus efforts and funds on where your shopper would be.
  2. Market to In-Market Shoppers: We will remind the benefits of this until we sound like a broken record, but it’s our bread and butter. We know the advantages this can bring, especially during high traffic times like the holiday season. Why spend advertising dollars carelessly when the CPM and CPC rates are so much higher when you can target shoppers who are already in-market for what you sell? Though holiday conversion rates and ROAS are much higher than the rest of the year, the cost to advertise is also greater. Spend smarter and continue to increase the conversion rate and ROAS.
  3. Focus Advertising Spend on Peak Times During the Week: Also on the theme of being smart with high advertising rates, consider focusing efforts on the times during the week that shoppers are most active. This is often between 12-2 p.m. on weekdays and on Sunday evenings. While there are likely better rates for advertising early in the morning or in the middle of the night, why would you spend the money when your target market may not be looking?
  4. Start Early: Yes, it is a well-known fact that the heat of the holiday season is between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, but that doesn’t mean it is the only time to shop. By starting advertising for holiday gifts early, you can build brand awareness long before the busy season when prices for advertising are lower, catch the shoppers who like to plan ahead and continue to draw new shoppers as the holiday season draws near. This way, you can be top of mind whenever shoppers begin to make their purchases.

As an eCommerce vendor, we understand that Q4 means business for retail and eCommerce. We are here to help. Whether your goal is increasing ROAS, reaching for new-to-file shoppers or continuing to build brand awareness, we want to be your partner as the holiday season draws near by helping you advertise smart and reach shoppers who already have demonstrated they are interested in products like yours. We are ready to shine our red nose as your gifts travel the world for holiday cheer. All we need is to know you’re ready to climb aboard the sleigh.


About Hivewyre:

Hivewyre is a forward-thinking programmatic advertising company. Their private data cooperative allows advertisers to share first-party audience data and build targeted campaigns for prospecting new customers based on their competitors’ unconverted shoppers. Hivewyre advertisers have access to fresh, exclusive data that will never be sold to a third party.

With over 500 retailers and over 100 million monthly in-market shoppers in our co-op, our distinct advertising strategy allows you to combat rising search engine PPC & PLA costs and the ever-expanding online marketplace growth. In addition to access to the exclusive data, co-op members benefit from full-service account management and detailed reporting of the return from advertising spend. To learn more about Hivewyre, visit