GetResponse, the easy-to-use yet advanced online marketing platform with more than 350,000 customers in 182 countries, today announced the results of a commissioned study examining digital marketing strategies among US-based small and medium-sized businesses during the 2016 holiday season. The study, fielded between November 28th and December 1st, 2016, focused on several areas, identifying the most popular holiday marketing channels and how they are used, as well as the most prevalent campaign challenges SMBs must navigate. 200 US-based SMB decision-makers were polled for the study.
60% say digital marketing budgets have gone up
When asked if their digital marketing budget for the 2016 holiday season had grown or declined, 60% of SMBs said “it grew,” while only 7% said “it declined.” 33% said budgets “stayed the same.”
“SMBs recognize the growing importance of digital marketing in engaging customers and prospects,” said Simon Grabowski, GetResponse Founder and CEO. “That holiday budgets have increased 60% among those polled underscores the value of digital for driving sales and revenue.”
33% pick Facebook ads as their go-to holiday marketing tool
Among the 200 SMB decision-makers surveyed, 33% named Facebook advertising as the digital marketing channel they primarily use to “promote or increase holiday sales.” “My website” (17%); “email” (11%); “YouTube” (8%); and “Google Pay-Per-Click” (7%) rounded out the top-five.
“Facebook has proven to be an impactful marketing platform for companies of all sizes,” said Grabowski. “Third-party research has confirmed it delivers the best ROI of any social media network. For that reason, it’s no surprise that SMBs are relying primarily on Facebook advertising this holiday season.”
Nearly 80% say digital video is important to their strategy
In total, 76% of those polled said that digital video was “important” to their holiday marketing strategy. Among that group, 47% said that video was “very important” and 29% said it was “somewhat important.” Alternatively, only 11% said that video wasn’t important to their plans.
“Digital video has quickly become a critical asset for SMBs,” added Grabowski. “They are acting accordingly, incorporating more video-focused initiatives into their marketing mix.”
When asked what might be holding them back from embracing digital video as a bigger part of their holiday campaigns, resources (61%) and timing (38%) were cited as the primary roadblocks.
“Video is a resource-intensive asset,” says Grabowski. “It can require a considerable production process, which is usually outsourced to third-party agencies or creative shops. This raises costs.”
26% cite audience targeting as their biggest challenge
Asked to select the biggest holiday marketing challenges, “identifying target audiences,” was the top pick by more than a quarter of SMBs (26%): “Attribution and transparency” (19%); “content creation” (16%); “data collection” (14%); and “channel education” (10%) rounded out the top-five.
“As audience attention has fragmented online, identifying targets is harder than ever,” added Grabowski. “Fortunately for SMBs, a growing number of self-serve tools and automated marketing technology platforms have emerged that streamline that process while enabling improved results.”
Only 6% use email to beat shopping cart abandonment
Email was the third-most popular holiday marketing channel among SMBs surveyed. Across the 200 respondents, when asked how they primarily use email to boost holiday sales, the top tactic was “to promote new products and services” (36%). “To share information on deals and discounts” (32%) was the runner-up, followed by “to promote company social accounts” (13%); “to share content, like blog posts and newsletters” (8%); and “to curb shopping cart abandonment” (6%).
“The shopping cart abandonment number is surprisingly low,” said Grabowski. “Reports show that more than 66% of all online shopping carts are abandoned. Highly-personalized and triggered cart abandonment emails is an approach that can win back lost business. But only 6% of the SMBs surveyed are using it this holiday season. That has to change.”
GetResponse serves more than 350,000 active users from 182 countries, delivering more than 1 billion permission-based emails per month, with an average deliverability rate higher than 99 percent. For more information, visit: www.getresponse.com.
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