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It’s beginning to look a lot like (cross-device) Christmas

Christmas planning has started and not a mobile moment too soon. It’s going to be a cross-channel, cross-device, personalised and location targeted Christmas that requires more planning than Santa’s naughty and nice lists!

Both advertisers and publishers should be preparing for this busy shopping period now by learning from last year’s consumer behaviour insights, to help them plan strategies and secure the best media placements ahead of the festive period. But this isn’t easy when the majority of retailers aren’t tracking cross-device or cross-channel behaviour and they don’t fully understand the role mobile plays in their customers’ purchase journeys. A consequence of this is that brands aren’t able to optimise their digital marketing activities to reflect consumer behaviour trends and improve results. And on the other hand, publishers that aren’t tracking cross-device behaviour don’t have insights into how their readers interact and consume their content on different devices.

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Google’s Head of Retail, Peter Fitzgerald said that last Christmas the majority of the time consumers spent looking for products was spent on mobile devices. Evidence of this behaviour was seen with shorter desktop sessions, because when customers visited retailers’ websites from desktop devices they had already completed the research phase of their purchase journey on their mobile. This is supported by our European consumer Digital Connections study that revealed that the cross-device consumer behaviour trend is being driven by the use of mobile phones: almost half of consumers claim they use their mobile device to research purchases, but 48% rarely or never make a purchase on this device. Mobile is disrupting the market without driving more sales, which is why some advertisers are unaware of mobile’s significance in the purchase journey.


Mobile is disrupting the market without driving more sales, which is why some advertisers are unaware of its significance in the purchase journey.


Last year mobile sales during the Christmas period may not have overtaken desktop, but advertisers shouldn’t overlook the role mobile plays in a customer’s purchase journey. We know that even when mobile devices don’t convert, they often influence sales. And let’s not forget, the period retailers refer to as ‘Christmas’ now includes Black Friday – last year this day was described by Somo’s CSO, Ross Sleight, as “the most mobile-based retail event in history” – and Cyber Monday.

In markets like the UK where there are only two days of the year where physical stores literally shut up shop – Easter and Christmas – on these days even more shoppers are turning to their digital devices, specifically mobiles, to satisfy their purchase needs. On Christmas Day 2014, 65% of retail searches were conducted on a smartphone and tablets, of which almost half occurred on a mobile.

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These key shopping days are mobile madness. Advertisers need to take a holistic view to ensure they are engaging with their target audiences, in the most effective ways at key moments, to improve conversion rates across all channels and devices throughout this time.

Our research uncovered the extent of in-store mobile usage: a quarter of consumers claim they have made a purchase while in-store on their mobile and, 54% either very often or sometimes use a mobile to research a purchase they are about to make in store. It’s clear that even if advertisers don’t see high conversion rates on mobile, this device can’t be ignored this Christmas.  Both publishers and brands need to ensure they have a cross-device tracking solution in place so they can accurately track sales and gain insights into their customers’ behaviour.

It’s not too soon to start planning. Tracking solutions need to be updated and the best advertising placements get secured well in advance – the early bird catches the worm – and media spend needs to be carefully planned throughout the period to stimulate purchases outside of the discount days, with a cross-device and cross-channel strategy in mind. Let the ecommerce conversion battle commence.

Get in touch if you’d like our help to make it a conversion filled Christmas.