Brainpower - Data Insights

5 Father’s Day Insights Marketers Can Celebrate

Michael Berg
Michael Berg
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No time for cheesy Dad jokes — because, with Father’s Day right around the corner, there’s never been a cheddar time to connect with your holiday audiences. 🧀

And it’s not a day Marketers can afford to just laugh off, either — considering U.S. consumers alone spent an all-time high of $16.1 billion on gifts for Dad in 2019.

Though now you might (understandably!) be curious: how does the uncertainty of COVID-19 impact the plans my target audiences have when it comes to this year’s holiday? 

It’s a concern enough to make any savvy Marketer a little anxious. And yet, according to the National Retail Foundation, over 75% of consumers still plan on celebrating Father’s Day in 2020, gifts and all. Which means just like that cheddar, it’s time to stay sharp.

Fortunately, we’ve got a few gifts heading your way. Because regardless of your vertical or goal, we’re wrapping up 5 can’t-miss Father’s Day best practices that you can start leveraging in your holiday campaigns ASAP.

1. Holiday Showdown: Gift vs. Experience

So, which wins out in the battle for consumer interest? 

Well, it’s not exactly that simple. Because while tangible holiday gifts generate an overall higher volume of conversions and clicks, experiential gifts (like recreation offerings or DIY content listicles) produce the best CTRs and conversion rates.

And it gets even more interesting when you layer on different media personas — with brands generating more clicks from experiences while Affiliates gain more from gifts.

💡 Brainy Tip

Focus the strategy based on your full-funnel goals. Whether your content features a gift or experience, consider how your campaigns are working together to promote both brand awareness and lower-funnel conversions.

And of course, choose platforms that can do this heavy lifting for you — especially when it comes to bidding. For example, tools like Outbrain can help you customize your campaign’s specific objective while strategically A/B testing different bidding possibilities.

2. Practicality is the New Hot Topic

No matter how you slice it, it’s almost impossible to ignore the impact of COVID-19 on the buying habits of consumers — holiday or not.

And it’s not just affecting how they are buying, but also what they buy. Comparing click activity between 2019 and 2020, interest in content featuring practical gifts is massively surging — generating a whopping 103% higher click volume YoY.

So what does this mean? In short, consumers are being drawn towards products that Dad can put toward more practical uses, such as the latest tech or health and fitness gadgets.

💡 Brainy Tip

For our nimble Affiliate friends: think about how your offers can pivot to hit this rapid uptick. And keep in mind, your brand or offering doesn’t have to fit perfectly into a trend to embrace it! Highlight products or keywords in your content that induce a must-have or FOMO effect to your target audiences, especially if it includes a tech aspect.

3. Grab Your Ladders, We’re Going Vertical

Dad is in pretty good company around this time of year, given that over 100 countries across the globe will be celebrating Father’s Day this June. And just like the jeans you’re thinking of buying him — there’s no one-size-fits-all trending vertical.

Sure, there are some usual top-performing suspects (looking at you Home & Lifestyle!). But again, with COVID-19 conditions remaining a major buying influencer, several verticals are now experiencing noticeable conversion boosts — Health & Fitness, Entertainment, and Music, just to name a few.

And yet, the same holds true reversely. Because as global uncertainties surrounding the pandemic persist, categories such as Travel are still struggling to make holiday headway.

💡 Brainy Tip

Strategic audience targeting is your best buddy here. That said, keep your initial targeting broad, and narrow in on specific interest segments only after enough data accrues. 

For instance, it’s tempting to target only a Fitness sub-interest under a general Health vertical umbrella when promoting your trending exercise app, but what if you’re leaving out other relevant sub-interests like Nutrition or Women’s Health? Start broad and take advantage of segmented performance reports on platforms like Outbrain’s Audience Interest Reporting to further refine.

4. The Headlines That Keep on Giving

Let’s face it — as Marketers, the struggle to capture audience attention amid dueling content is real. And all too familiar when you add the pressure of spiked holiday traffic into the mix.

Now, if you guessed that keywords like “perfect gifts” and “flash sale” are high-converting performers in headlines, you’d be spot on. But remember, target consumers will be seeing a lot of content containing these terms — so standing out here is key.

Content themes like personalized gifting, holiday recipes, or quick and easy ordering actually result in the highest overall CTR for headlines during this period.

💡 Brainy Tip

Use your headline to give audiences a sneak peek of what your landing page has to offer. Adding small (but powerful!) text elements such as [Pics] or top listicle callouts also drive the best overall engagement metrics. 

And, not to give a Dad lecture — but you can’t forget to A/B test those headline components so as to identify the top performers. Now go to your room and get those campaigns started. 😉

5. Putting Dad Front and Center

Who said Dad wasn’t the star of his own holiday show? Probably Mom. 

But the numbers don’t lie: ads images prominently featuring Dads yield the best overall CTRs across almost all verticals — with particular shoutouts to e-commerce and CPG brands.

But some nuances exist. For example, images calling out Dad with family (especially spouses!) or putting his holiday gift into action remain firmly among the top performers. 

At the same time, more is… well more. Just as listicle callouts in headlines boost CTR, so too do images that display an array of products or gifts that consumers can choose from — especially when a promo or sale callout was also included.

💡 Brainy Tip

Authenticity is more important than ever when it comes to connecting with your consumers, which means you’ll want to avoid creatives that have an overly “stock” feel in favor of more lifestyle imagery. 

And don’t be afraid to mix up your formats! Case in point: interactive experiences like Carousel Ads can showcase a wide variety of your products and offering, giving your audiences a more engaging and tailored experience.

So, What’s Next?

Just like what Dad’s planning to throw on the grill in a few weeks time, that was a lot to digest.

Got questions about where to start optimizing? As luck would have it, Outbrain provides all the tools you need to make a native consumer connection that lasts beyond the holiday.

So give us a shout if you need any parental wisdom on how to kick-off your native strategy — or head on over to your dashboard to get a new test campaign up and running.

Brainpower - Data Insights

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Michael Berg

Michael Berg

Mike is a Marketing Manager at Outbrain, primarily focused on the U.S. region. Previously, he worked in both client-side and agency roles, spearheading strategies related to paid media, SEO, and content marketing. In his spare time, Mike enjoys trying to maintain a balance between an active lifestyle and eating far too much Chicago deep-dish pizza.

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