The busiest shopping weekend of the year is upon us, which means that the majority of retailers have already started promoting their sales and specials in the hopes of achieving record-breaking revenues on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
During their preparations, however, some retailers may have overlooked the importance of mobile this holiday season. I'm not just talking about having a wonderful mobile website or a spectacular mobile app, but also leveraging the advertising possibilities of mobile. Many consumers will be using their phones to locate businesses and deals while on the go this weekend, so what better way to influence these consumers' decisions on shopping locations than by reaching them with location-based advertising?
Unlike other holiday preparations, launching an advertisement in the digital world doesn't take much time, which means that merchants still have the opportunity to capitalize on this strategy before Thanksgiving Day. Prior to launching a campaign, however, it is important to consider where you want your ads to run. Consider the four platforms below:
Thanks to Google's Enhanced Campaigns, which were officially launched this summer, brands can now create ads that reach consumers in the moments that they are most likely to shop. These "smarter ads" allow brands to manage their bids across devices, location and time, which means that brands have the ability to bid higher for users on a mobile device who are within a certain distance of a brick-and-mortar store. Moreover, the ads can be optimized for context, which means that they have the ability to show the correct creative, sitelink, app or extension based on user context and device capabilities. Because of this, retailers can create an ad that will show location extensions for customers who are on their mobile device and nearby a store during business hours. By leveraging this functionality on Black Friday weekend, merchants have the ability to put their business in front of local customers who are conducting relevant searches, thus more likely than their desktop counterparts to come in and make a purchase.
Yelp is one of the most popular services for finding local businesses while on the go. In fact, more than 117 million people visited the platform in Q3 of 2013 for help in making spending decisions. That said, it is not only important to have a presence on Yelp, but businesses should also consider using the platform to advertise to prospects. Yelp's business tools enable brands to feature Deals on their business pages and create advertisements that can increase visibility on the platform. For example, brands can launch ads that appear to local customers in the search results as well as can advertise on competitor's business pages. Moreover, advertising through Yelp will remove all competitor ads from your business page, which keeps potential costly distractions off your listing.
Although Foursquare isn't the most popular social platform on the Web, it still averages more than 2.5 million unique visitors according to data from Compete.com. Plus, the platform offers some pretty cool business tools that are worth checking out. For example, brands can launch "Specials" on Foursquare to attract new customers. Specials can include things like free gifts or discounts, which customers can redeem by checking in to a business. This also increases the business's visibility on the social network because specials are highlighted on the Foursquare map with an orange pin. In addition, businesses can advertise on Foursquare. Foursquare ads are shown to nearby consumers who are likely to become a customer (based on past behaviors or search queries), and businesses only pay for actions, such as a click on the ad or a check in to the business.
Most businesses are on Facebook now-a-days, and the platform's targeting options makes it a valuable place to advertise. This is because brands can target consumers based on a variety of factors, including location, demographics, interests and connections, to name a few. Perhaps the most impactful ad unit over the Thanksgiving weekend is Facebook Offers. Although a Facebook blog post from summer states that the company is phasing out this ad format, the unit is currently still available. With Facebook Offers, businesses can create special promotions for their customers, complete with an expiration date and redemption options, such as a link, code or claims limit.
It is important to note that these are just four of the many platforms businesses can leverage last-minute to reach local customers during the busy holiday weekend. Other viable options include Daily Deal sites like Groupon, ad companies like Millennial Media and business listing sites like Local.com. Which platform have you leveraged to reach your local customers this holiday season? Let us know in the Comments Section below.