Q5 – the time right after the holidays, leading up to the New Year and beyond – is an advertising opportunity too often neglected by marketers.
When the holidays are over, shoppers are still shopping, but with a new mindset. Many adjust their spending from gifting to self-improvement: “New Year, New Me” becomes the new mantra. At Smartly.io, we see categories such as wellness, beauty, and clothing all rack up major sales in this end-of-the-year Q5 period.
Yet most advertisers still don’t plan beyond Q4. They neglect to account for this clear shift in consumers’ thinking. That creates enormous opportunities for the brands that understand – and act on – Q5.
Here are five ways to make the most out of the post-holiday shopping frenzy.
1. Meet your shoppers where they are
People are shopping online now more than ever. While brick-and-mortar stores have reopened, 87% of shoppers still say they plan to continue shopping online even as coronavirus restrictions loosen up.
The online retail landscape means that shoppers anywhere and everywhere are browsing 24/7. This is especially true around the holidays, with many enjoying more free time off work.
For brands, the online space requires a never-before-seen agility to be with consumers on every step of the shopping journey, from the first moment of product discovery all the way up to post-sale support.
The easiest way to create that social ubiquity is with automated advertising across all social platforms. On social, thousands of ads can easily serve just one consumer, and with automation, those ads can be timed and placed at the most opportune moments in the shopping journey. That combination of volume and personalization creates exceptional product awareness and recall that sticks – even in the flurry of information that is the internet.
2. Stand out with your creative
New privacy changes from the iOS.14 update mean that brands that advertise on social are now shifting their focus away from targeting tools back to the creative itself. Brand moments are what matter.
The best Q5 creatives are native to their platform and speak to the current moment. Brands need to be mindful of the content that exists around them: Real, authentic, user-generated content rules supreme on TikTok and Snapchat, for example, whereas Instagram calls for a more curated approach.
Creating thousands of these social ads, tailored for different platforms and audiences is near impossible to do manually, yet with automation tools, this level of personalization and volume is just a few clicks away. The ads can also be perfectly timed to coincide with Q5, capturing consumers’ attention when they’re most receptive to hearing about new brands.
3. Tweak your messaging
Q5 is different in tone from other brand moments: It’s inspiring and hopeful, and awash with the new. This is particularly true this year, as consumers have increased confidence that society will return closer to normal with vaccines and booster shots. Shoppers are ready to invest not only in themselves but in in-person activities too, such as travel, gym memberships, and concert tickets.
Tapping into that hope and positive emotion is critical in winning consumers over in Q5. Creative automation tools make it possible to test out many different creative solutions in social ads, ensuring that brands pick the right messaging specifically for Q5.
4. Amp up your promotions
Q5 is an unparalleled opportunity to lure in new customers, as shoppers in the New Year are looking to expand their horizons, take on new hobbies, and try out new products. Q5 is also an opportune moment for cultivating more long-term relationships with those new customers.
For brands, it’s important to lower the barrier for a sale online, for example with offers of free shipping or 2-for-1 promotions. Recurring subscriptions with the first month free are another great way of attracting new business – and making sure it sticks. Leverage creative automation tools to pinpoint the most successful promotional offer and tailor it to individual users according to other contextual cues such as weather or location.
5. Plan for the long haul
Building customer relationships on social media is ultimately about playing the long game: the most important thing is creating a social presence that’s always on. Brands that go in and out of social advertising ultimately become forgettable. By contrast, the brands that don’t stop their promotion – even as lockdowns come and go, or holidays pass by – are the ones that ultimately win.
When consumers are ready to come back – and it’s starting to be that time – they’re going to choose the brand that they recognize and trust. Continuing social campaigns well beyond the holidays, and winning in Q5, lays the perfect groundwork for brands to have a record-breaking year in 2022.