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‘Tis the Season…for Heavy Web Traffic

This year, Cyber Monday sales broke a record, and mobile shopping had a heavy hand in getting there. Cyber Monday sales  surged 20.6 percent year-to-year, making it the biggest online shopping day in history according to a recent IBM report. Even more impressive is that the report reveals sales made on mobile devices rose 55.4 percent year-over-year, and made up 17 percent of Monday’s online sales.

The busy online shopping season isn’t over yet. Within the last five days before the big holiday, retailers will see procrastinators try to rush orders and scour their sites for last-minute deals. The question remains, how prepared were retailers this year? Below are five strategies for handling increased traffic and taking advantage of mobile marketing to further drive online sales. How many of these did you take advantage of?

  1. Detect user device and optimize content delivery. Understand how your content is being delivered and received on both desktops and mobile devices. Distinguish the type of mobile device and be prepared to deliver the supported content (i.e. Flash ads, HTML5, etc.) based on that device. Deliver images, ads and apps that are specific to the endpoint type.
  2. Be mobile: Engage with users on the go. Consumers are using mobile devices for all steps in the shopping process – researching products, redeeming coupons, using apps to assist in their purchases, and actually purchasing holiday gifts and items. Mobile advertising affords the opportunity to engage with the right audience where and when they are most likely to purchase. Leverage location-based technology to target users at a hyperlocal level to maximize responsiveness through the purchase funnel.
  3. Prepare for peak traffic times. Engaging with customers through social channels can have a positive impact on holiday retail campaigns, but also puts strain on websites as it can quickly generate traffic spikes. Make sure you have the resources in place to support social-minded holiday shoppers and avoid latency problems and downtime. As little as 10 seconds of downtime could cause end-user frustration and result in your prospect taking their online business elsewhere.
  4. Are you logging both “ad view” and “content view” data for use in future campaign analysis? It is important to know how many ads were viewed in their entirety on devices; how many ads were dropped before the end; how many ads were clicked on; what types of devices viewed the ads; when was the content viewed and from what geographic location. You should also be able to log “other content view” data – when was the content viewed on the devices; on what type of devices; where was the request coming from (geographic location); the time of the request; how long the viewer stayed on the page(s).
  5. It’s not over, just because Cyber Monday is. Continue to engage with consumers throughout the busy season, leveraging best practices such as location-based mobile advertising, highly targeted online display advertising and real-time bidding to reach customers at optimal purchasing times. Anticipate traffic spikes and use those site analytics to learn more about your audience’s behavior (i.e. click-through habits) and lessons for next year’s busy season.

It seems that each year, more and more brands take advantage of the consumer hype by offering deals and sales to drive shoppers to their websites. Subsequently, more and more customers are shopping online and via mobile to take advantage of these deals. Without the proper tools and solutions in place to handle the increased traffic, online retailers and marketers face the reality that a competitor’s deals are simply a click away. Regardless of what device consumers are using to access online retailer websites, preparing for increased traffic will ensure that retailers have a happy – and profitable – holiday season.

How many of the strategies above did you take advantage of this holiday season, and what results did they reap? If you didn’t follow these strategies, be sure to start prepping for next holiday season!