In our final installment of 2015, the Holiday Marketeer shares predictions on what we can expect for the 2016 holiday marketing season—and direction on what to prioritize throughout the year to prepare for 2016 holiday marketing trends.


An event ~5X bigger than Cyber Monday will come to the U.S.

What if we told you 2015 saw an emerging global shopping event during which mobile sales alone drove nearly as much revenue as all of Cyber Monday—within the first hour?

Metrics that matter

  • $3 billion. The revenue from Cyber Monday 2015, marking the biggest online revenue day in U.S. history.
  • $14.3 billion. The revenue from Singles Day in China on 11/11 in 2015.
  • $2.9 billion. The revenue from mobile devices alone within the first hour of Singles Day 2015.

What is Singles Day?

Singles Day was created in the 90s as Chinese singles’ answer to Valentine’s Day. It falls on November 11, a tribute to the number one: 11/11. More recently, Alibaba (China’s biggest e-commerce company) transformed Singles Day into a global online shopping day.

How Singles Day will impact the 2016 holiday season in the U.S.

In 2016, your competitors may begin offering 11/11 discounts, and early adopter customers will begin seeking out Singles Day deals. As soon as major players like Amazon and Walmart add Singles Day to their promotional calendars, it will become a bona fide e-commerce event in the U.S.

What you need to do to prepare for Singles Day

Add Singles Day to your marketing calendar and set aside a test budget to support it. Gear up to test Singles Day ad creative and consider building content to educate your customers about it.


Shoppers will be influenced by video, image, and podcast content

Until recently, video, display, and paid social advertising have been primarily successful as branding and awareness tools. Podcasts have been on the fringe as a niche medium. Now, evolving user behavior and technological improvements are opening the door for change.

Metrics that matter

  • 60 million. The number of shoppable pins on Pinterest.
  • 60 million hours. The amount of time Americans have spent watching unboxing videos on YouTube in 2015.
  • 46 million. The number of Americans who listen to podcasts monthly.

How image and video will impact the 2016 holiday season

Publishers are turning out action-oriented ad formats like Shopping ads for YouTube and buy buttons on Pinterest. Plus, rumor has it, Google is testing video ads within the SERP. Both the technology and user behavior is evolving on a trajectory that suggests we can expect growth in revenue directly attributed to image and video ads by the 2016 holiday season.

How podcasts will impact the 2016 holiday season

With quality content producers like Gimlet Media on the rise, and binge-worthy shows like Serial being launched—the audience for podcasts has crossed a tipping point. It’s time for advertisers to pay attention. The podcast ecosystem is still lacking a platform with technology to enable sophisticated performance-based advertising. However; as a branding and awareness tool, we can expect podcast advertising and native podcast content to emerge as a shopping decision influencer by the kick-off of the 2016 holiday season.

What you need to do to prepare for the influence of image, video, and podcast

Test new image and video ads. Learn what ad formats, networks, and creative elements perform well before the holiday season so you’re ready to hit the ground running come Q4 2016. Brand marketers may want to consider testing podcast ads, and performance marketers should monitor the podcast advertising landscape for emerging podcast ad platforms.


The online-offline delineation will be (almost) irrelevant

There is a growing contingent of experts in the marketing blogosphere saying that there is no such thing as digital marketing: There is only marketing. Customer behavior and emerging technology trends support this sentiment.

Metrics that matter

  • 84%. Percentage of in-store shoppers use their mobile phone while shopping.
  • 5.7X. The expected growth of VR (virtual reality) revenue over the next 3 years.
  • $70 billion. The expected annual revenue from wearable technology by 2025.

How the integrated online-offline user experience will impact the 2016 holiday season

With growth in wearable technology, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, and 360-degree video, the concept of shopping “online” or “in-store” will become archaic. From a customer perspective, the lines are already blurry between when one is or is not “online” because customers use their mobile phones like an extra limb. We expect to see the the signs of online-offline crossover extend beyond mobile to other devices like wearables as a 2016 holiday marketing trend.

What you need to do to prepare for blurred lines between online and offline

Brands need to evolve to create a good shopping experience, period. It will no longer be sufficient to have a good online or in-store experience. Reevaluate the way you allocate 2016 budgets and objectives so that the flow of money and incentives for your team is mapped to delivering great customer experiences, as opposed to delivering great e-commerce or brick-and-mortar outcomes.

Test in-store and online ad creative with crossover calls-to-action giving online shoppers the option to buy online or find in-store and visa versa. In addition, set aside test budget for initiatives supported by wearables and other emerging platforms.


See you again at the start of the 2016 holiday season

We expect the 2016 holiday season to be filled with the excitement of global influence, growing shopping influence by non-text-based media, and customer demand for a unified online-offline shopping experience. Thank you for sticking with us throughout the 2015 Holiday Marketeer series! We look forward to connecting with you again as the 2016 holiday marketing trends emerge.
Happy New Year!



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