The Holiday season is one of the most critical times of the year for marketing. Winter holidays are crucial to prepare for due to people’s willingness to splurge on products. In fact, according to a 2020 article from Investopedia, the average shopper will spend almost $1000 on holiday gifts. Businesses need to adapt to trends to maximize holiday opportunities. 

According to a report from Microsoft, there are going to be a few essential changes that companies can make to prepare for the season. These changes include starting earlier than usual, providing alternative payments, putting sustainable practices in place, and revisiting bidding strategies.

Tip #1: Start earlier than normal

The first and most timely tip is that shoppers are starting early this year, which means that marketers need to kick off their holiday plans soon ​​ like now. Microsoft found that it’s common for shoppers to start their research for holiday gifts 30 days in advance. Black Friday used to be the mark for when customers would begin their shopping research, but this is no longer the case. Starting the holiday push right now is probably a good idea, as shoppers have continually started doing their research earlier and earlier.

Tip #2: Provide alternative payments

Gift cards have become a go-to for shoppers who are willing to be a little bit flexible with their purchases. According to Microsoft’s research, one in four shoppers said that they would purchase a gift card if they could not find the perfect gift of their choice. 

So what can we take away from this? Retailers need to make sure that gift cards are both readily available and easy to buy.

Tip #3: Put sustainable practices in place

As social and environmental causes have risen to the forefront of our culture, consumers search for businesses that align with their beliefs. There is a considerable opportunity to create more conversions through appealing to customers’ environmental beliefs. According to Microsoft, search volume for sustainable products has risen by 37% since 2019. 

Featuring sustainable ads would be an effective way to implement this. If businesses can implement initiatives with creative imagery, copy, and extensive callouts, then the success during the holiday season would likely perform well.

Tip #4: Rise to the competition

There is extremely high competition in holiday advertising, with Microsoft predicting that 2021 will be even more competitive than in past years. Cost-per-click has risen by 15%, partially due to more clicks on the competitive queries in the second quarter. Some recommendations for businesses would be to revisit keyword and bidding strategies to win over the competition.