5 minute read

Last-Minute Campaign Optimization Tips for Cyber Week

The biggest shopping season of the year is almost here. But while holiday retail sales are expected to rise 3.8-4.2% this November and December 2019, consumers may actually spend less this Black Friday, having already used some of that holiday budget during Amazon Prime Week and with other retailers running similar Q3 promotions. 

According to RetailMeNot, the average consumer anticipates spending $738 this Black Friday, down from $803 in 2018. And not so surprising, 7 in 10 consumers say that price is the most important determining factor in gifts they buy during the holiday season. However, in response, 76% of retailers intend to offer more deals and discounts in 2019 than they did last year. 

All of this tells us some bad news: With smaller shopping budgets and even more promotions bombarding your customers this year, the competition is even tougher to get them to spend with you this season. But we wouldn’t be writing this post without some good news, too. There are a few things you can still do—it’s not too late—to keep your brand front and center this Cyber Week. 

We cover even more strategies in our Holiday Guide, but if you’re scrambling last-minute (or just want to double-check that you’re getting the most out of your holiday campaigns), make the following updates:

1. Retarget the products and brands you know they love...

There is a lot you could narrow in on this season, but keep your focus on the products, brands, and categories your customers have heavily browsed or carted in 2019. Better yet, retarget customers using their wishlisted and favorited product interactions—these are a gold mine, as you know they’re already highly interested in these items (and we all know there’s a decent amount of self-gifting during Cyber Week). Send product alerts—price drop, back in stock, low inventory—and holiday gift guide emails showcasing these items and additional recommendations based on those products or similar customer interactions.

2. …and what they bought/interacted with last holiday season.

Review your year-over-year customer data to see how customers responded to your past deals and offers. Also, identify specific items your customers bought during the last holiday season. Then use this information to target customers based on how they’ve responded to previous promotions, and trigger personalized emails for those who haven’t engaged with your brand since then. For those shoppers who seem to only shop with your brand during holiday deals, include an offer code or free shipping to encourage them to return again this year, too.

3. Stay multichannel in your approach to customer data and personalization.

Focus on providing customers with a more seamless experience across all of your channels, especially since multichannel holiday shoppers spend more than those who stick to a single channel. Make sure you’re pulling in both in-store and website and app data—that way you’re not sending abandonment emails to customers who browsed online or in your app but ended up buying the gift in-store. And your holiday campaigns will be even more effective when executed across the channels your customers are most likely to engage with—whether that’s email, mobile push notifications, Facebook or Google ads, etc. Make sure you meet them where they’re already at.

4. Leverage loyalty data to drive VIP engagement.

Now is the time to make your best customers feel extremely valued and celebrated. Leverage profile and loyalty data into your holiday campaigns to give VIPs first access to your biggest holiday sales, reward them with a larger percentage off than what’s on your site, or promise them exclusive free or faster shipping. Send messages leading up to these special events so your VIPs are fully aware once they hit. Incorporating this data can also allow you to be more intentional in your behavioral messaging during the holidays with loyalty tier alerts and upgrades/membership renewals in the new year.

5. Create a stronger sense of urgency with live inventory and pricing, countdowns, and more.

Cyber Week deals are flooding their phones, social feeds, and inboxes, so it’s easy for customers to get distracted or put off a purchase until they think they’ve found the best deal. Create a stronger sense of urgency to motivate customers to take action with your brand and buy now vs. later—such as including stronger CTAs and simplifying the ordering process. 

Adding dynamic and real-time content into your messages will help, too. Consider popping in real-time countdowns, live pricing, low inventory messages, and shipping cut-off updates directly into your campaign content to motivate customers to make the purchase. This also keeps messaging and product information as up-to-date and as relevant as possible, no matter how often inventory is changing.  

6. Don’t forget to adjust send frequency and suppressions.

During the holidays, you want to avoid annoying customers with emails and cross-channel messages, but you also want them to choose you when they shop. Make sure to reduce frequency capping of your email sends to 5 days and cross-campaign suppressions to 2 days. This will help you to stay in your customers’ minds without inundating or frustrating them with too many messages.

7. Keep holiday messaging consistent across channels.

Last but not least, ensure your holiday messaging is consistent across channels. Update your email subject lines, banners, and the like so they mirror the holiday campaign messaging on your other channels. Also, ensure responsive design across all campaigns so customers have a hassle-free experience regardless of where they research, browse, or buy. 


Some of this might seem like a daunting task to do right before the season hits, but it’s very doable (especially if you opt for help from a team and solution like SmarterHQ). With these approaches, you can avoid revamping your entire creative and can simply tweak your campaigns and messaging where necessary to feel fully prepped for the Black Friday/Cyber Week frenzy.

Read our 2019 Holiday Guide for more optimization tips and strategies targeted to seasonal shopper behavior, creative examples and results from top retailers, and inspiration for driving engagement and retention year-round.