Winter is coming. We’ve grown lean on a sparse summer diet. In Westeros, winter is terrifying, bringing with it rapacious undead beings. But in the business community of this world, winter is more auspicious. Instead of an army of zombies, our winter brings hordes of customers to our stores.
That’s right, the holiday season ecommerce bonanza is coming.
For our October Ecommerce Digest we take a closer look at the expected growth for online holiday sales, landing page optimization for the holiday rush, as well as recent news that touches all online retailers: the proliferation of ad blocking software.
Bright Outlook for the Holiday Season
In this analysis by eMarketer, we see that the overall forecast for the holiday shopping season is strong. Ecommerce continues to make up a significant component of holiday shopping. They expect online sales “will hit 9.0% of total retail sales this season, or $79.40 billion, up from 8.3% share last year.”
eMarketer also asserts that mobile ecommerce continues to grow. “We estimate that by the end of 2016, 25.0% of all retail ecommerce sales in the US will take place via mobile devices.”
Optimizing Your Site for Seasonal Sales
How carefully do you curate your seasonal webpages? This article from Econsultancy examines different landing page strategies in terms of the strength of their SEO.
One approach, employed by UK retailer Currys, favors leaving your Black Friday landing page up year-round. Author Ben Davis says, “Currys has had one page ranking consistently all year. [Their Black Friday landing page] peaked recently at number one and has been live continuously since Black Friday 2014…Currys page is the only British retailer ranking for a host of Black Friday search terms.”
Keeping their site active, while regularly updating content and linking to other seasonal pages has positioned them well to take excellent advantage of the seasonal rush.
Davis emphasizes that overall web presence may be less important than a well targeted landing page. Amazon’s inconsistent ranking for key seasonal search terms illustrates his point. “Amazon is ranking well, so [they] might not be worried by its blip in the SERPs for the phrase ‘Black Friday 2015’, but it still shows how search performance can be affected if you don’t keep an eye open.”
Speaking of Mobile: Let’s Talk Ad Blocking
We have known for months now that the fall release of Apple’s iOS 9 would support ad blocking on Safari. Its launch brought on a flurry of articles about the implications for online retailers, advertisers and consumers.
Randall Rothenberg at AdvertisingAge points out that “Ad blocking is the latest crisis du jour” for digital marketing, presenting significant challenges to the industry.
Meanwhile, Mark Jones at PerformanceIN highlights the reaction of City A.M., one UK site which has banned traffic from readers using ad blocking technology. City A.M. is currently “informing users that the site ‘relies on advertising to fund its journalism,’ and asking users ‘having trouble seeing adverts on the page’ to deactivate ad blockers if they wish to view the content.”
Even APM’s Marketplace is getting in on the deluge of commentary about ad blocking. In this recent piece, they explore new trends in digital advertising, meant to resonate personally with consumers. Brian Wong, CEO of the digital marketing firm Kiip, makes the point that while traditional advertising strategies attempted to overwhelm viewers with ads, “those laws of physics are different on mobile. In fact, you see a brand many times and you get more annoyed.” Listen to the whole piece to learn about what Kiip and others are doing to market to customers in today’s increasingly ad-hostile atmosphere.
All the tumult ad blocking technology has wrought inspires some self-reflection, as noted in this article from Econsultancy. The trade industry group Interactive Advertising Bureau admitted, “We messed up.” The current backlash has inspired IAB’s senior VP Scott Cunningham to confide, “We were so clever and so good at [digital advertising] that we over-engineered the capabilities of the plumbing laid down by, well, ourselves. This steamrolled the users, depleted their devices, and tried their patience.”
As we saw in this week’s Ecommerce Eye Candy, not every analyst agrees with the woeful tune sung by most articles on ad blockers. For a more comprehensive look at how ad blocking is affecting the entire industry, be sure to see Signal’s handy infographic below about the rise of ad blockers.
To learn more about strategies for holiday season ecommerce, download our Six Guides on Ecommerce Essentials today.