The holidays are upon us and with them is a surge in online advertising. If you’re not an online advertising expert, the sheer volume of ads served during this time can be overwhelming. We know you want to scale, but doing it without sacrificing quality is key. You don’t want to spend money on ads that won’t be seen, or on ads that are located in places not suitable for your brand. Not only does ad fraud increase with increased traffic, but this is also the first year for many brands trying contextual targeting instead of cookies. The following are our advertising tips to help keep your brand safe during the holiday season.

Don’t rely on standard blocklists

For the holidays, steer away from the usual keyword or contextual blocking. Instead, target holiday content, which is safer than targeting the rest of the Internet. By doing so, it lets you block less. In addition, your partner’s technology should include page-level understanding to unlock opportunities that would be lost if you targeted without a contextual intelligence tool. For example, The Washington Post developed a contextual ad targeting product to give brands more real-time control over their content-based ad units at scale.

Tune your suitability profile

Evaluate both brand alignment and risk to determine a piece of content’s fit for your specific brand. Don’t forget that both positive alignment and potentially risky negative alignment exist. Risky alignment can include head-to-head reviews where your product doesn’t come out first, placement near content recalls, lawsuits, and negative brand press. You will need a fairly robust brand suitability checklist to avoid over-blocking to keep your ads safe.

Optimize your campaign to be flexible

Much has changed in the past six months; brand and customer behaviors have both been altered. But, this can be an opportunity for you if you don’t try to recycle old plans. 75% of consumers are already trying out new shopping behaviors, especially people who have never shopped online before, and 40% of consumers have switched brands or retailers. In fact, e-commerce has vaulted forward ten years in only 90 days. Although we’ve lost the comfort of cookies, contextual data can tell you when to scale back or amplify if you find the right dynamic tool to help solve for the unpredictable. Contextual targeting keeps up with never-ending online conversation telling you that although candy chutes, contactless delivery, and ziplock baggies are keywords usually not associated with Halloween, this year they were.

Don’t overcorrect because of the pandemic

Some businesses seem to already be overcorrecting, planning for business as usual, or for worst-case scenarios. Holiday spending is projected to exceed $1 trillion this year. Even with shifts in consumer buying habits, consumers are definitely still buying. While consumer spend is down on many common holiday categories, spend on things considered essential is increasing. 

For example, home improvement and home fitness are category leaders, and robotic vacuum cleaners are expected to be a hot item since people staying home would like their homes to be clean. And, as you might expect, millennials are buying everything online. Gen Z, just starting their earning path, is buying in specific categories like apparel and footwear, at-home entertainment, and food delivery.

Brand loyalty is taking a hit this year. Consumers are switching brands at unforeseen rates if supply is low or service is poor. More than ever, consumers want value, and if you have brick and mortar stores, hygiene transparency is critical.

Select the right partner

Be sure if you have an ad tech partner, they are quick to activate in the face of changing data. They need to implement different segments quickly and provide page-level customization with multi-term matching. Make sure you choose a partner who really knows how to run an omnichannel campaign. Learn more about how flexible staffing and automation can be a competitive advantage here.

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