For most individuals, the end-of-year holidays are a chance for rest, reflection and celebration. For media companies, including publishers and OTT (Over-the-Top) media services, the end of the year is crunch time – a chance to spark demand, drive revenue and increase brand exposure through Black Friday deals, Cyber Monday flash sales or holiday seasonal sales.
While shopper revenue and acquisition are typically the key objectives of many of these holiday season sales, digital media businesses can uncover an equally enticing reward: data. In this post-cookie world, increases in traffic present a huge opportunity to harvest first-party data that can be used to inform everything from future advertising strategies and targeting to product packaging and pricing.
We’ve rounded up five media-tested strategies for making the most of these critical Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday sales efforts.
Focus on cross-promotion
During the end-of-year weeks, holiday shoppers are on the lookout for new deals and likely consuming more media as cooler winter weather and shorter days drive people inside. This presents a good chance to cross-sell and expose potential consumers to other areas of your business that they may not typically see.
For example, news site CNN, uses Black Friday as a chance to heavily promote CNN Underscored, their online shopping and product review guide covering deals, tech, beauty, style, home, personal finance, travel, gifting and more.
With many publishing and OTT companies creating specific content or promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there’s a ready-made opportunity to cross-promote additional content during the holiday shopping season.
Make it giftable
With Christmas and New Year less than a month after the Black Friday sales, another opportunity arises: the holiday season. For publishers, this is an ideal time to make their content giftable and discounted to maximize engagement from shoppers at home, curled up on the sofa with a mulled wine. As Press Gazette says, “people are in the purchase mindset and actively seeking out promotions during this period.”
While for many publishers, traditional content is king, others are starting to diversify their offerings with physical products, events, videos, podcasts, quizzes, and memberships. Many publishers are sitting on an opportunity to bundle their content with alternative products to create a more enticing proposition to gift.
Pay attention to site performance
The greatest promotional offer in the world won’t perform if the site infrastructure can’t support it. Therefore, an essential task for online retailers before any major sale is ensuring that their websites and apps can take the strain that they hope to inflict upon them.
One way of mitigating this situation is spreading the offers out across a week, to reduce the chance of a huge surge of traffic. If the release of a promotional offer is restricted to a point in time, it’s essential to make sure you have the infrastructure to manage the influx of traffic.
Nordic OTT provider, SF Studios, had issues with its service at peak times, particularly over Christmas, according to OTT Video Manager Ted Björling. “If we went back a couple of years, we regularly had issues during peak times like Christmas, where our platform couldn’t manage all the customers accessing the service. Since we have migrated to Aptitude eSuite, we simply don’t have that problem anymore – it just works.”
Respond in real time
Offers and incentives are usually planned well in advance of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other holiday sales. However, having the ability to create offers quickly and easily can help businesses react in real time if required.
This requires a platform that allows commercial teams the ability to monitor detailed, up-to-date analytics so they can understand the performance of an offer or promotion. It also requires the ability to change or adjust promotions or bundles in flight or add new ones quickly.
Finally, the ability to target the right audience with the right personalized message can mean the difference between success and failure. Personalization is increasingly key when it comes to digital offers. Kiran Mani, Google’s Managing Director of Retail observes that 33% of consumers expect personalized recommendations. This is certainly relevant when it comes to display advertising but can also be an integral part of managing a subscription media service on a day-to-day basis and extends to any attempts to get subscribers to upgrade.
Don’t neglect the off-boarding experience
It’s naïve to think that none of the customers you acquire through special offers or promotions will opt to leave once the promotional period ends. It’s inevitable that once the pricing reverts to the usual levels, some customers will be at risk of churning. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to be done.
Media companies should look to minimize churn through card updater services, recurring continuous authority, grace periods, retry rules and suppression windows to reduce the chances of fans accidentally leaving the service because of payment breakage or issues with their payment accounts.
Additionally, tools like predictive churn algorithms and rules-based offers can also be used to convince them not to leave. If customers do churn, businesses already have the data and the tools to try and win them back with push notifications and email campaigns. This can be coupled with using content snippets to tempt them back to the other side of the paywall.
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A platform to power you through holiday sales
Black Friday and holiday sales have spread across industries and continents, becoming an opportunity that’s hard to ignore for any business looking to boost sales, recurring revenues, and ultimately, data collection.
Aptitude eSuite is a subscription management platform that reduces time-to-market and total cost of ownership by centralizing the entire subscriber lifecycle and optimizing customer acquisition, revenue and retention. This best-of-breed tool enables clients to create tailored bundles, promotions and price plans to maximize recurring revenue. eSuite also supports the widest range of global payment types and generates extensive data insights to shape growth strategies.