FRIDAYS WITH FROST: ONLY 32 OPTIMIZATION DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS! Every week we sit down with Simpli.fi CEO and co-founder, Frost Prioleau to get his perspective on the week in advertising technology. This week, Frost gives advertisers advice on how to break out of the black box on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Q: They say the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. Do you think that’s true for advertisers? A: Well, it certainly is a busy time of the year for digital advertisers. The National Retail Federation is predicting holiday sales will rise this year to over $602 billion dollars, with about $82 billion being spent online in November and December alone. For many advertisers, 20-40% of their total revenue is made in the holiday season–which makes any advertising done in this season critical. Q: What do advertisers need to be doing to make the most of their investments during this time of year? A: While the big brands are pulling out all the stops with high-budget TV commercials and social media campaigns, more smart money is moving to online which can delivery better ROI, be more accountable, and deliver more insights. Holiday shoppers literally are looking for gifts, which makes the visual nature of display advertising a very powerful tool. The transparency and control of programmatic buying with unstructured data can truly be a “gift” to advertisers. We are seeing advertisers leverage a variety of tactics this holiday season, including search retargeting, site retargeting, keyword contextual targeting, and more and more CRM and off-line data targeting. Q: There’s only 32 days left until Christmas, Frost. Is it too late for advertisers to break out of the black box of segment-based audience buying this Black Friday and Cyber Monday? A: One of the nice things about unstructured data is that, just like with search marketing, you can build and launch a custom audience in minutes–then optimize on the fly as you see the results. It is definitely a very interesting time of year, as we often will get calls from advertisers who want to put pretty large budgets to work very quickly and effectively. Thankfully, we’re in a position to help them as we can turn on campaigns at full strength very quickly. So…it’s definitely not too late. I know that I am a long ways from starting my holiday shopping, so any advertiser who wants to target me still has lots of time!