For most retailers, Christmas is the top spending season of the year. Last year, UK shoppers spent £91bn online in 2013 with sales up 18% year-on-year in December, and this year the IMRG predicts that UK retailers will dispatch 120 million orders in December alone. With a huge opportunity to tap into, marketers and brands need to ensure that their ecommerce sites and advertising campaigns are captivating and creative in order for their messages to reach their target consumers and stay top of mind.

Retargeting is therefore poised to play an even more significant role this Christmas in influencing sales than ever before, and not just through traditional desktop campaigns. The growth trajectory for mcommerce sales is predicted to rise by 64.8% this year ( With more shoppers using handheld devices to research and purchase, mobile is reshaping strategies for advertisers in every industry this Christmas. So how can brands truly optimise their display advertising during the festive season?

Plan full-funnel campaigns

As you plan your Christmas strategy, think about how you can win conversions from upper- and mid-funnel shoppers, as well as from shoppers who only need one more nudge to make a purchase. A full-funnel approach will help you tackle shopping cart abandonment, build new audiences, and expand your overall sales volume.

Upper funnel: Christmas shoppers might stop by your site while they’re looking for inspired gift ideas, then leave without fully exploring everything you have to offer. Target shoppers who bounced from your homepage with branded, Christmas-themed ads that entice them to thoroughly explore your catalogue of products.

Mid funnel: At Christmas people aren’t just shopping for themselves, they’re also shopping for friends and family. Get creative with your recommended products and adjust your approach for matching product-specific ad creative to audience segments to account for changes in shopping patterns. For example, you might want to target shoppers who browsed women’s fashions and serve them ads for gift-worthy men’s accessories.

Bottom of the funnel: Customers who put an item in their shopping cart are your most valuable, highest intent users. The multi-channel customer journey, as users jump between devices and platforms, has led to high rates of basket abandonment and is projected to be one of the primary ways retailers miss out on sales during Christmas. To counteract this, set up campaigns that target your high-intent users with personalised ads and bring them back to complete the purchase.

Refine your cross-device strategy

We live in a multi-screen world with one person using up to three devices to browse content and shop online. Furthermore, mobile is now the first screen with a majority time share – up to 108 minutes per day (AdRoll). When shoppers jump between different devices and apps, your ads should reach them wherever they browse. To ensure you stay top of mind with shoppers wherever they go, take full advantage of every mobile inventory source available—including Facebook, Twitter, and the mobile web.

Understand your customers’ online behaviour

The abundance of consumer data now available allows marketers to develop a deeper understanding of device usage across operating systems, model, location and more, enabling them to make behavioural predictions and personalise messaging accordingly. For example, customers who are yet to convert can be served an enticing Christmas promotion, gift guide or gift guide to help them follow through with their purchases this season.

Deliver relevant, personalised content

40% of consumers say they purchase more from retailers that deliver a personalised, cross-channel shopping experience (IBM). Therefore, to deliver the highest possible ROI on advertising during Christmas it’s important to consider the customer experience and design creative that supports your goals. For example, dynamic ads offer a tailored experience and interactive features which give shoppers a better overall brand experience.

Bid high for ad inventory

Competition for ad inventory tends to surge in the run up to Christmas, so be prepared. When people are competing for ads, it drives up pricing. Similarly, when lots of people are clicking on an ad it can dramatically decrease your campaign budget. As a result, you could end up spending your allotted budget in just one day.  Ideally, start your campaign early when inventory will be cheaper. However, if like many companies you’ve waited till November, the best advice is to increase your CPM bids to win inventory and allocate extra budget to prepare for significant traffic increases.

With the countdown to Christmas in full swing, prepared marketers can reap the rewards of ecommerce by ensuring that their campaigns are personalised, relevant and can be reached across a range of devices.