The 2018 holiday season was record-breaking for the retail industry.
Holiday sales grew 5.1% over the previous year to more than $850 billion, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. This represents the strongest growth for the retail industry in the last six years.
What contributed to that growth?
Consumer confidence certainly played a major role. But at the same time, many advertisers adopted smarter strategies.
Over the last couple of years, Facebook and Instagram have launched a number of retail-specific advertising products – enabling marketers to engage consumers like never before. Think: Offline Conversions, Store Sales Optimization, Instagram Stories Ads, and more. Retailers that tapped into these products posted strong results over the holidays.
We aggregated data from leading brands that use the StitcherAds platform to gauge how they spent, optimized, and performed on Facebook & Instagram this past holiday season. Take a look at this infographic for key insights.
1. Spend: Overall, we saw retailers increase their spend by an average of 47%. In fact, several brands more-than-doubled their investments on 2018 holiday campaigns – driven by strong holiday sales on Facebook & Instagram the previous year.
2. Omnichannel: While online-to-offline shoppers were previously overlooked by digital marketers, this is no longer the case. We saw more advertisers jumping onto the omnichannel train in 2018 to measure online-to-offline transactions and optimize their ads. Digital marketers can no longer afford to disregard multi-channel shoppers, who are known to spend more than those who just use one channel to transact.
3. Facebook vs. Instagram: Advertisers are seeing more of an opportunity to engage consumers on Instagram – fueled by the younger user base and the prevalence of Instagram Stories. With the channel coming more into focus, Instagram-influenced purchases went up 91% year over year. However, Facebook is still king. The News Feed still influences significantly more purchases over Instagram.
4. Mobile vs. Desktop: Most retailers—72%—made mobile a priority this past holiday season, according to a RetailMeNot survey. And it paid off. We found that mobile purchases substantially outpaced sales that came from desktops.
5. Creative: Retailers with large product catalogs heavily focused on automation over the holiday season. As advertisers gain the ability to elevate the creative for their dynamic product ads, the format is increasingly becoming more desirable.
Keep the momentum going in 2019
The 2018 holiday season was a boon for the retail industry. As Facebook continues to develop new tools for retail, we will see brands further hone their creative, omnichannel, and targeting strategies for the 2019 holiday season.