How marketers can use social and e-commerce during the holiday period

The Drum 11 Oct 2019 09:07
By Kieley Taylor-11 October 2019 10:07am

Kieley Taylor is the global head of social for [m]PLATFORM (part of GroupM). Her focus is in streamlining operations, disseminating thought leadership, training, best practices, and advocating on behalf of client interests with key publishing partners. She is the lead subject matter expert within social for GroupM clients.

In her current role she evangelizes an audience first approach to integrated planning and buying.

How marketers can use social and e-commerce during the holiday period

Forecasters are calling for a particularly jolly holiday season for retailers such as Deloitte, which in its annual holiday forecast, projects that retail sales overall will increase by 4.5-5% to reach $1.1tn compared to last year in the US market alone. Additionally, e-commerce sales will experience a growth of 14% to 18% to hit as much as $149bn.

Here, I will take a look at some of the opportunities afforded to retail advertisers via the most popular sites, including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and Pinterest.

The 800-pound gorilla of the social space, Facebook, boasts a number of solutions for brands looking to boost holiday sales via e-commerce channels and in-store. Standard solutions focus on leveraging an existing suite of products and placements with context on how to apply for “shopper” campaigns, a tool that is available globally.

- Media runs from the retailer's Facebook business account but is paid for by the brand partner

- Co-branded creative featuring the product and retailer

US-based advertisers that have employed retail shopper partnerships include brick-and-mortar chains such as Walmart and CVS and e-tailer Boxed.

Facebook and Instagram news deed ads. These placements are designed to leverage the news feed to reach consumers quickly where they are spending the majority of their time. The objectives are to drive in-store traffic, provide a quick sales boost, and provide seasonal promotions. Creative provides for Image, Video, or Carousel (multi-image) as well as retailer branding.

Facebook in-stream video. Video ads run in high-quality video content as mid-roll units (non-skippable) are delivered in the news feed, watch and audience network. In-stream offers different levels of brand-safety controls as well. The objectives, as with Instagram stories, are new product launches and product/category education with creative providing for five to 15-second video (non-skippable, sound on) and retailer branding. In-stream ads achieve a reported 70 percent-plus completion rate.

Despite their varied objectives and differing content, each of the four solutions share some commonality in terms of creative, targeting, media parameters, measurement, and investment.

Media parameters include ads run from a brand’s business account, reach 25-50% of its target audience, and run once per week for two to four weeks. Measurement for each solution includes media metrics (CPM, impressions, reach, frequency) and Facebook Lift (ad recall, awareness, purchase intent). Across all solutions, a $120,000 minimum investment is required for access to FB Lift figures.

Checkout enables a consumer to make a purchase from an advertiser while staying in the Instagram app. Payment details are saved, streamlining the path to purchase for Instagram users. For now, eligible verticals include CPG, disruptors, e-commerce, retail, and consumer electronics. Plans call for direct integration into Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CommerceHub, and others.

Checkout presents two key impacts for advertisers: It provides strategic guidance to help them prepare to participate in the growing list of e-commerce opportunities enabled by social feeds and understanding of the short- and long-term effects of fulfilling e-commerce sales off their owned and operated platforms.


To participate, a brand must sell its products on Amazon in the US (which may include an international retailer with Amazon distribution within the US) and have a brand store on the platform, as the unit will click to the brand store via the brand name and logo portions of the post.

The opportunity to bring “emotion to ASINs” is expected to be a powerful consideration driver, right at the point of purchase. This may evolve to become more addressable with more granular reporting as Amazon looks to scale any initial successes.

Pinterest this year announced several new shopping partners. Feed management providers, such as Feedonomics, ProductsUp, and GoDataFeed, that can manage and optimize product inventory feeds for businesses have brought their product catalogs to Pinterest.

Shoppable experience platforms like Shoppable, MikMak, Jebbit, and Basketful connect products within a pin with retailers that can fulfill orders and make it easier to shop. Tag management providers including PixelYourSite and Tealium can track the closed-loop measurement of online shopping conversions and sales. Meanwhile, partners WooCommerce and Weebly enable advertisers to set up e-commerce sites and experiences.

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