The Perfect Holiday Gift for Advertisers: Brand Loyalty

Written by: Eva Barbier & Kelsey Fritz

Advertising through the remainder of 2020 is no easy feat. Retailers already know the importance of their loyalty programs in bringing customers back to their businesses, and this will only be amplified even more this year. In a recent Retail Brew webinar, “Shifting Closet Share,” the Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester, Sucharita Kodali, noted that “loyalty programs are one of the biggest digital investments being made.” 

Here are three ways to make the most of your loyalty programs this holiday season:

1. Reward loyal customers early:  Provide the most loyal customers with early access this season – whether it be to exclusive deals, high demand products or unique content like celebrity gift guides. Specifically target these customers with ads showcasing products forecasted to be popular gift items this year so they get first dibs before supply runs out. Some examples of retailers that we’ve seen do well at this in recent years include: 

  • Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale: This annual sale has become a highly anticipated one for shoppers to get staple items for their closets at a good price. The strategic set up of early access relating to the loyalty level of the Nordstrom cardholder creates an exclusive atmosphere where popular items sell out quickly.
  • Sephora Beauty Insider Card: Sephora is another retailer whose loyalty program keeps customers coming back to shop. Not only do customers earn points for each purchase, they can also put those points towards sample-sized products fairly quickly. This allows customers to try out new products for free and draws them back to Sephora for potential purchase of the product later if they liked it.
  • Target Circle: Target Circle is another great loyalty program with the option for members to earn 1% when shopping, save 5% if they have the Target credit card, access hundreds of deals, get a birthday gift, and a say in where Target gives to their community. If shoppers have the Target credit card, otherwise known as the Red Card, they get even more deals, an additional 30 days of return time, and discounts for things like in-store Starbucks purchases, gift cards, and travel booked through their partnership. 

2. Use loyalists as a focus group to gauge popular products: Open up promotions to loyalists early and learn what products they buy or are gravitating towards to inform what you should heavily promote to everyone else. For example, a large luxury retail brand utilized our platform to make their video advertisements shoppable using hotspots and Engagement Experiences to promote different apparel brands featured in the videos (as showcased in an example below). Among many valuable insights was a noticeable favoritism towards particular brands over others throughout the video experience. Not only did this provide valuable information to the retailer about what products are preferred, but also armed them with data to provide to their brand partners. 

The displayed ad experience above is a mock up and was not used by any of our clients.

ViralGains makes it easy to transform videos into shoppable experiences that drive action and provide one-of-a-kind insights in real time. Another ViralGains Engagement Experience retailers can incorporate into their video ads is a Multiple Choice Survey which helps gauge viewer interest in particular products or brands as shown below.

The displayed ad experience above is a mock up and was not used by any of our clients.

3. Use interactive overlays to serve promotions to loyalists & non-loyalists:  While making the most of your relationship with your loyalists, consider how you can also entice non-loyalists at the same time. Targeting a customer base with personalized promotions has proven to be something that both consumers and retailers deem successful and effective in the shopping experience. A true testament to this are the findings of a recent Stibo Systems report, which surveyed more than 500 retailers and 500 consumers to find out how data is shaping the retailer environment.

The report found that 50% of consumers were in favor of advertising geared to their specific interests and that two-thirds agreed with the statement, “The more personalized the experience a retailer offers, the more positive relationship I have with that retailer.” 

This is a simple strategy to implement when orchestrating ad journeys in our ViralGains Odyssey™ platform, which can transform your video ads into interactive experiences that showcase different promotions to loyalists vs. non-loyalists. 

Below is an example of the same video using ViralGains’ Custom Image Engagement Experience. The top example is a rewards promotion for loyalists while the bottom is an incentive for non-loyalists.

The displayed ad experience above is a mock up and was not used by any of our clients.
The displayed ad experience above is a mock up and was not used by any of our clients.

Highlighting your loyalty program within your advertising efforts this holiday season is a strategic move that could differentiate yourself from the competition now and set you up for long-term success. With the drastic increase in online shopping this year bringing a new type of competition among retailers, having an advertising campaign that faces these challenges head on is key. 

If you’re looking for more retail-oriented advertising strategies this season, in Part 1 of our Retail Blog Series, we covered how retailers should get ahead of the shipping issues guaranteed to be experienced this season, and in Part 2 detailed how the economic downturn will likely lead to less spending, while increased online shopping will lead to higher competition between retailers.

Reach out to us at to get started on your ad strategy to bring it to its fullest potential this holiday season.

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