Facts & Figures: The Biggest Holiday Marketing Stats We’re Watching

holiday marketing stats

While many industries can slow around the holiday season, sales and marketing are hustling away for holiday shoppers.

Sales and marketing are the driving forces behind the stuff you purchase as gifts during this time of the year. Without us, you’d never know that you needed to get your Aunt that goofy-looking bear claw back scratcher or pick up that absolutely wonderful custom bath mat for your little brother. So, you’re welcome.

As we’ve been digging around and doing our annual end-of-year reflecting, we thought we’d share some interesting and intriguing stats, trends, and figures in marketing, shopping, and buying during the holidays.

Our main takeaway? Holiday shopping is no joke – get in and get it done early. 

If you’re in marketing, we’d love to hear what you found the most interesting from this list – drop us a line on Twitter!

Perfect Presents for Every Person: Oliver’s Guide to Last Minute Holiday Gifts

holiday gift ideas

Feeling a little stuck during your holiday shopping? Trust us, you’re not alone. 

Whether you need a white elephant gift idea, to impress a new in-law, get something perfect for a coworker, or want to treat yourself to a little extra something, there are a ton of unique options in any price range… all you have to do is find them in time. If you’re one of the thousands of people searching for “gift ideas” this season, we’ve done half of the work for you and slapped together a fairly comprehensive list based on our own holiday gift searches.

Take a gander at our list of the best gift ideas in 2017, great for any personality type in your life.

1. For the Well-Organized

We assume that the hyper-organized people in your life already have a daily planner they’re glued to. The Happiness Day Planner is a fun way to incorporate a little more joy into their day-to-day life to help balance out the constant productivity. Mental health is important, too!

2. For the Fantastic Feminist

Know someone who thinks women and feminism rule? (I mean, we certainly hope so – if not, time to reconsider that friend group, right?) This “Cats Against Catcalls” shirt from Feminist Apparel is equal parts adorable and worthy of smashing the patriarchy.

3. For the Comfort-Seeker

Some people like to be comfortable, but this person in your life loves to take it to a new level. The Winter months are the ideal time to indulge these comfort-seeking individuals with a delightfully warm, oversized blanket scarf. They’ll love it so much they’ll want to live in it.

4. For the Animal Lover

Is there a better gift to give than one that pays it forward? Donating to an animal welfare charity, local adoption center, or wildlife conservation organization in your gift-receivers name is a great way to show them you totally get their obsession with animals and care enough to make a difference!

5. For the Fashion-Forward

In our opinion, the more sustainable, comfortable, and affordable that clothing is, the better. Everlane has a collection of incredible Cashmere sweaters for men and women that are as beautiful and warm as they are ethically-produced.

6. For the Tech-Enthused

Help the friendly technology nerds in your life get fully-automated at home with WiFi connected lights. The starter Hue Light Kit includes a few light bulbs to get started, along with all the gear needed to get set up with the automated system. They’ll never have to reach for a light switch again.

7. For the Self-Care Queen (or King)

Face masks, comfy slippers, and good tea combos? The self-care aficionado in your life is likely well stocked up with these already. What they probably DON’T have is something to treat their dome to a little relaxation time with a handy scalp massager tool.

8. For the Road-Tripper

Don’t knock a goofy-looking thing until you try it — this “sleep anywhere” travel pillow is an amazing gift for someone who’s always on-the-go. Whether they’re taking long road trips, commute on the train, or take flights regularly for work, this wraparound pillow will get a ton of use.

9. For the Nature-Wanderer

The hikers, mountain bikers, and campers out there don’t need a whole lot (and many certainly don’t want a whole lot). For when they’re trapped at home or the office and can’t get outside, however, a set of cool National Parks prints can help satisfy their wanderlust for a little while.

10. For the Fussy

We all know someone in our lives that we have NO idea what to get them as a gift. Give a friendly welcome to your new holiday lifesaver: subscription boxes! Find one for anything — coffee, alcohol, vinyl records, travel items, dog toys, etc — and pay for the first month up-front.

11. For the Caffeine Addicts

Give the coffee lover in your life what they truly want on a daily basis: easy access to high octane caffeine. A cold brew maker is one of the best gifts under $50 to help keep coffee addicts happy with delicious brew available in their comfort of their own fridge.

12. For the Hermit

We all know and love someone who prefers to stay inside and hang out in the living room — nothing wrong with that! We want everyone to experience fresh air and nature, though, so we’d recommend a nice living plant or succulent arrangement to help brighten up their space.

13. For the World Traveler

It doesn’t matter your age, nationality, or gender – sometimes scary things can happen when traveling the world. Since carrying mace or a taser with you is generally forbidden in most places, we like this small personal safety alarm for producing a nice shrill sound to scare the bad guys away.

14. For the Book Nerd

Readers, unite! This heat reactive mug features books that have been banned or challenged in some way throughout the evolution of society. The Banned Books Mug will bring every “forgotten text” back to the forefront for your wonderfully bookish friends.

15. For the Ultra-Creative

Another awesome gift that can often be overlooked is a simple museum membership. While they’re amazing for the creatives and art appreciators you know, consider a membership for others who could use a little more beauty in their lives! Just make sure they bring you with their guest pass.

Once you’re done shopping, reward yourself with a hard-earned holiday drink! Let us know what you’re sipping on this season on Twitter

Our All-Time Favorite Holiday Drinks to Get the Party Started

We love the holidays. We love drinks. We love holiday drinks.

Reaching for all possible cocktail ingredients from your cupboard to please an exploding list of guests can be stressful – we’ve all been there. When it comes to wintertime beverages for the imbibing adults in your life, going for something far out and fancy doesn’t always need to be the case. There are a ton of amazing alcoholic beverage options you can throw together with what’s already at home, or available at the corner market. 

We turned to our own team of in-house experts (aka, all of us at Oliver + Sons) to find out what some of the best holiday cocktail recipes are.

Attiya’s Sangria De Cava

Who said Sangria was meant for a sunny day in Spain? Nobody I know, because the Spanish know how to convert their very own cold beverage into a taste wintery one. The best thing about this is that you probably have all the ingredients left from your Christmas shop, so why not make yourself a delish Sangria with Cava.

All you’re gonna need is the fruit before it gets made into a pie, another orange that didn’t make it into the turkey and the rosemary that exceed the amount you needed for your potatoes – not forgetting the red wine that’s generously stocked. That’s the basic batch, to add to your wholesome potion, try a little cider, apple or even pomegranate.

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

 

Ariel’s Spicy Cider

While I LOVE Hot Toddies, I strictly reserve them for when a seasonal cold is coming on (seriously, it works. Try it.). One of my other all-time favorite drinks for any other Wintertime event is Spiced Apple Cider.

You just throw some apple cider, an orange poked full of fresh cloves, and some cinnamon sticks into the slow cooker for a few hours, and you’ve got a delicious holiday drink ready to go. I’ll add some spiced Bourbon for a kick, too. Perfect to stock up on or brew for a party, and the flavors are marvelous!

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

 


Faye’s Slow Cooker Spiced Wine

My favourite winter cocktail is a slow cooker spiced wine. Unlike other cocktails, this drink can be made in hap-dash fashion with a disregard for the recipe, or quantity recommendations. You can seriously add a little bit of everything that you fancy.

I love chucking in pear cider, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg complete with the most expensive bottle of red vino I can get my hands on. This makes for the perfect get-together beverage too, as it can be sat mellowing on the stove as you go about hosting your Christmas party. Guests can freely help themselves without fuss and more fruit can be added as the night draws on to give it more of a zesty flavour.

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

Lily’s Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco

Hello, limoncello! This fruitful liquor will forever follow me. For the good reason that it slips into many drinks, and this one is my favorite. Although I don’t specifically drink it around Christmas, the compliment it provides prosecco is sensational, and introduced to a gathering sure helps guests feel the bubble energy.

Necessary with fresh raspberries, instead of frozen, to save yourself an extra unwanted chill after you put the crushed ice in. Now it’s down to you – add mint or another herb which you feel matches the mood.

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

Miguels’ White Russian

When I think of the holidays, I instantly thought of the White Russian. I haven’t had it for a while, but once I discovered it (which was a very, very, very long time ago) watching The Big Lebowski, I was hooked.

It got me curious and had it quite regularly back then. What I love, is the coffee liquor which really gets you going, making it hard to fall asleep – a dangerous choice. I love coffee anyway, so this was naturally an easy fit for me. I go with 50% Kahlua, a shot or two of Vodka and just a little bit of cream or milk. Ready to drink!

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

 

Ana’s Kalimotxo

While you try to wrap your head around the pronunciation (it’s cali-mocho BTW), I’m still trying to wrap my head around this strange tradition of two drinks we love in the Basque Country. But it is actually, a very refreshing drink, even for Christmas.

It’s a simple combination of coca-cola and red wine – which is probably the cheapest cocktails on the menu, everywhere. Tip in some orange, or maybe some blackberries but stay away from the ice because it’s way too cold for that.

Get the recipe.

 

 

 

 

A very Merry Christmas from all of us at Oliver + Sons!

Why Facebook’s Organic Reach Is Out & Boosted Posts Are In!

facebook organic reach

If you’re a marketer or small business owner and over the last 6 months you’ve seen a dramatic decrease in your organic reach, you’re not alone. Not to get all doom and gloom about it, but this problem is not going to go away and is not destined to get any better in the near future. We’ll outline a key marketing strategy which you can use to guarantee your awesome content is seen by your adoring fans and how it will help you future-proof your social media.

What is the Facebook algorithm?

You’ll hear this great phrase thrown about a lot in the social media industry and for an important reason. Since ‘Fan Pages’ launched in 2007, businesses have been able to promote their wares on Facebook, often reaching thousands (even hundreds of thousands) of fans and followers. However, in 2012 a problem started to arise. Businesses realized that only a tiny fraction of their Facebook fans-16% on average- were actually notified of their new content. This was a large wake-up call for social media marketing moguls, who quickly set to work to try to cheat the algorithm and get their content to the top of Facebook’s distribution list.

Why the change in the algorithm?

Facebook became very much like a concerned parent for its users, wanting to make sure that they only received the best and most relevant content to suit their interests and searches. This is all very well and good, but it means that a lot of Page content is going unseen by their own followers. This means that you could have a Page with 10,000 Facebook followers, and just 650 of them could see that Page’s posts in their news feeds.

How can we beat the system?

Contrary to the previous opinion, it is now understood that a Facebook marketer should not be concerned with the follower number count if he or she wants to attract the right clients. Rather Facebook marketers should be solely concerned with ads, and in particular ‘Facebook’s Boosted Posts’ to increase engagement on a Page.

What are boosted posts?

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you would have seen that Facebook is heavily promoting its ‘boost’ button. This feature gives you the option to place an ad in a specific post to ‘boost’ it out to a specific target audience. Your content is then placed higher on the distribution list than your organically marketed competitor content and effectively beats the algorithm.

More Money Means More Reach

Boosting your posts really does work. However, this does come at a price and James Del neatly summarises the current Facebook landscape with the following statement:

“Facebook may be pulling off one of the most lucrative grifts of all time; first, they convinced brands they needed to purchase all their Fans and Likes — even though everyone knows you can’t buy love; then, Facebook continues to charge those same brands money to speak to the Fans they just bought.”

In 2017 it is safe to say that Facebook is encouraging marketers to see its platform as a paid advertising platform rather than as a broadcasting channel. To our benefit, this change is advantageous in increasing the quality of the content being produced. Placing an ad in a particular post allows you to test your audience’s engagement on topics. You can then optimize your content based on these results.

When should I start?

Right away! There’s no time like the present to start testing your content with paid ads. Remember. If you boost a post from the Page then the targeting for People who like your Page and their friends supersedes other targeting parameters. If you boost from the ad create tool at www.facebook.com/ads/create then you have more control over targeting. As a final word of encouragement – if you needed anymore – Facebook has been continuously making the statement that at some point we have to expect ‘organic reach will eventually arrive at zero.’ Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

 

Do you need any help with your Facebook Ad campaigns? Get in contact, we’d be happy to assist you to beat the algorithm!

Cool Slack Apps & Bots to Make Your Work Life Stellar

slack apps

Slack is one of our all-time favorite tools; in fact, you’ve probably heard us bring it up once or twice in the past. It’s amazing, and we love to flaunt all the awesome tools we use to get sh*t done.

Be prepared to hear about it again – but in a newer, better light. 

Until recently, we haven’t taken advantage of the very, very full roster of ways to pimp out your Slack channels and functionality. This was a HUGE mistake on our part. There’s a little something for everyone, for every industry, for every need from business management to team building to overall happiness.

Zapier whipped up a list of their own thoroughly-vetted, totally free Slack apps that they use and recommend. Sufficed to say, we’re now scrambling to install them all and get up to speed.

“The most interesting ones are the free Slack apps that convert Slack into the hub for your business. Instead of switching between Slack and other apps, these tools let you do everything from basic HR organization to team-building and project management right inside Slack.

To select these apps, we combed the Slack directory, searching for apps that added a feature that couldn’t be easily duplicated natively in Slack. To meet the criteria for this article, each app needed to be useful across a broad range of team and company types, in addition to being free. Here are our favorites.”

Take a look at their fully-charted list right here, and keep scrolling for our highlighted favorites:

While there’s obviously a slew of incredible applications, integrations, and bots to make the world of Slack even more productive and fulfilling, we wanted to focus on just a favored few from the list above that we are either using currently or are planning on using in the future.

1. Meekan

A simple, powerful app to help you schedule meetings with people on your team. We could have used this, like… years ago.

“Meekan understands human-readable requests, such as “Meekan, I need to meet with @dscrute @jhalpert and @abernard about sales stats next week.” Meekan will then analyze each person’s calendar to find the ideal meeting time, then suggest the best times in a Slack thread beneath the original message.”

2. Donut

A very cool way to connect with your co-workers – especially when you’re working remotely.

“Enter Donut, a Slack app that randomly pairs coworkers and reminds them to meet up, whether it’s for coffee or just a 15 minute Slack call. For example, at Zapier, we use Donut to randomize meetings between all employees who are in the #pair-buddies channel.”

3. Stop, Breathe & Think

A complete lifesaver when it comes to working your butt off (also called being a workaholic)!

“The Stop, Breathe & Think Slack app facilitates this from within your workspace. Chat conversationally with the app and give it details such as how you’re feeling mentally and physically in order to receive tailored meditations and breathing exercises that you can do right from your desk.”

What are your favorite apps for Slack (free or paid)? We’d love to hear how you’re getting sh*t done! Let us know in the comments below.