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Scaring Up Sales this Halloween: Search & Social Targeting

Seth Norris

This Halloween, Americans will spend nearly $7.5 billion on costumes, candy and decorations, which comes to roughly $77.52 per person. Much of that money will have some connection to the digital realm, with 34 percent of shoppers this Halloween using search engines to find inspiration and one in five making a purchase online according to the National Retailer Federation.

For marketers, these statistics should signal one thing: huge opportunity. Using SEMrush, it's easy to see the high volume of searches along the lines of Halloween costumes, which, according to Google, spikes every October.

Halloween costumes on SEMrush 

The key to maximizing the yearly Halloween opportunity is to create a highly sophisticated campaign based on personalized targeting that utilizes audience data from both search and social channels.

By layering behavioral, interest, demographic and other data sources to create extremely specific audience profiles, marketers can create customized content that is highly relevant and engaging to those segments.

6 Search and Social Targeting Tactics

1. Drive In-Store Sales with Location Specific Ads

Both search and social channels, such as Facebook and Google, make geo-targeting available. On Google, advertisers can specifically target ads only for searchers that are within a specified area, whereas Facebook users can be filtered using data such as cities, state, zip codes and countries. For retailers and other businesses with physical locations, this targeting option is essential for driving foot-traffic because it allows location-specific content and calls to action to be pushed to prospective customers.

radius targeting 

2. Find and Focus on Purchase Makers Using Demographic Data

When it comes to Halloween, advertisers know that different demographics are likely to purchase different products.

For example, a mother of a young child and a college-aged man are going to be looking for different styles of costumes. Because of this, advertisers must incorporate demographic data into targeting efforts. Both search and social platforms provide demographic data information and allow for demographics targeting. Facebook’s demographic options allow for targeting based on everything from age and gender to education status, life events and relationship status.

more demographics 

3. Search Trends Reveal Purchase Pattern Insights

Some of the most powerful data advertisers can collect and analyze is the search patterns of their target audiences. Using technology such as cookies and Facebook Pixels, advertisers can track what pages a user visits, the initial bounce rate, how much time the user spends on each page and how far into the purchasing funnel the user goes. These insights can be used to build customized ad content and help determine if the targeted landing page is relevant to the searcher.

If a user spent time looking at decorations, then he or she should be shown ads about Halloween decorations that are created with the intent of drawing the consumer back into the purchasing funnel. Data-driven retargeting can also help reengage users and convert otherwise lost customers.

4. Leverage Existing and Previous Consumers’ Data

Advertisers can create user lists on social media platforms using data from sources such as email lists, loyalty programs and any other database that include information such as names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. Social networks take this information and create a list of user profiles that match, giving advertisers a list of people who have shopped before and might be more inclined to make a future purchase.

For Halloween, this can be especially useful because it allows the businesses to attempt to create content that appeals to this unique group and build brand loyalty.

create audience 

5. Target Mobile Consumers with Quick Calls to Action

Mobile should be an integral part of all digital advertising strategies because of its ability to reach consumers at a moment of interest. Mobile-specific ads can be highly effective because they can influence consumers as they are shopping either at the brand’s location, or even inside a competitor’s store. Mobile consumers may also be searching for different information than at-home users, so including information about directions, phone numbers, current sales and in-store availability will be beneficial.

Halloween mobile ads 

6. Learn and React to Your Customer’s Interests and Behaviors

Advertisers have the ability to segment social users by using their behaviors and interests.

For example, a marketer for a costume store can push advertising content about specific celebrities, bands and movies toward users who self-identify as fans of those product lines. By knowing that audience groups already have an interest in specific topics, marketers can increase the chances of their ads being effective at creating new, future customers.

Layer Audience Targeting for Best Results

The targeting ability on search and social platforms provides ample opportunity for advertisers this Halloween to increase the effectiveness of ads. Brands looking to move beyond the competition must take these abilities and then layer them together to create more personal and direct connections with consumer audiences.

By doing this, advertisers can create extremely specific groups of potential customers and match those groups with content that is made to appeal to them. This level of personalization in both targeting and content creation is necessary for retailers this Halloween season to accomplish maximum ROI from digital advertising efforts.

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Seth Norris oversees Paid Search, Affiliate Marketing and Product Feeds at ZOG Digital, incorporating the company’s mandate for results into each of the solutions. Seth has over a decade experience in paid advertising and is an expert in Google AdWords, Bing Ads, affiliate marketing and display. He was also one of the key founding members of the iCrossing search marketing team. Seth has worked with many brands including Nike, ESPN, ABC, Verifone, KitchenAid, Sprint, Dale Carnegie and General Motors. His last article for SEMrush was, “Unwrapping The Most From Your Affiliate Marketing This Holiday Season."
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