The traditional Christmas shopping period is of course a well-established calendar event for retailers, but as Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to gain a strong foothold in the UK having migrated across the Atlantic – last year retailers saw combined sales increase by a third over these two days – brands need to optimise one of the major shopping channels for 2014, mobile.

Mobile commerce is on the rise and a third (32%) of UK consumers now make a purchase on their smartphone at least once a month. Marketers recognise the crucial role that mobile plays at this time of the year, with advertisers spending three times more via this channel in Q4 than they do across the rest of the year. As consumers become increasingly confident about the security of mobile shopping – and retailers make this channel more accessible to consumers – this trend is set to accelerate.

So, what are the three most important considerations for retail marketers planning to take their Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns mobile?

Re-engage existing customers

Prospecting is an important activity that helps engage new consumers around these key dates, but there is also considerable value in striking up relevant conversations with consumers already familiar with the brand. Marketers will benefit enormously from increasing remarketing activity to focus on the previous purchase history of their existing customers. Advances in mobile tracking mean it is now possible to collate meaningful customer data across all channels and devices, and activating this data will allow marketers to accurately target and re-engage key audience segments, putting relevant ads in front of the right consumers.

Leverage social media channels

Social media is a key influencer for the modern consumer, and both retailers and ecommerce brands see an increase in social media interactions in the last three months of the year. Mobile and social are inextricably linked with 60% of social media time spent on smartphones or tablets. While social interactions may not lead directly to conversions, they are key touchpoints in the path to conversion and should play an integral role in Q4 campaigns. Marketers should consider their campaign goals – for example, Facebook tends to drive a higher conversion rate than other networks, but Pinterest generates higher average order values. Through the use of a marketing operating system, brands can implement social media campaigns programmatically, empowering them to identify audience segments where brand affinity resonates most strongly, and maintain unified messaging across all digital channels.

Incorporate rich media

Marketers will benefit from incorporating rich media ad formats – such as video – into their Q4 strategies, and last year’s Thanksgiving shopping week saw an impressive 250% year-on-year increase in the use of mobile video advertising. Rich media provides interactivity and a high level of sensory engagement, which – when combined with the highly intimate mobile channel – creates a more memorable consumer experience and delivers higher conversion rates than traditional ad formats such as display. With the right technology, marketers can incorporate video ads into social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to encourage social sharing and recommendation. 

With consumers ready and willing to purchase online, and competitor brands ramping up their end-of-year advertising, it is crucial that retail marketers act now to integrate mobile marketing into their campaigns. By leveraging social media channels, incorporating rich media formats, and making the most of their existing customer data, brands can benefit from a relevant mobile marketing strategy that ensures the right ad is delivered to the right customer, on their choice of digital device.