Halloween Marketing Tricks & Treats: Stats, Strategies & Scary Good Content

Con­sumer sur­veys project a rise in U.S. Hal­loween spend­ing.

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Sea­son­al mar­ket­ing is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty for brands, and one that is grow­ing every year. Increased use of mobile devices, and an uplift in the use and con­sump­tion of social media and video has meant there are more ways today for brands to reach and engage con­sumers. Hal­loween is no excep­tion, and there are many ways for brands to cap­i­tal­ize on the hol­i­day.

Mar­keters love Hal­loween just as much as con­sumers. It gives every­one a chance to dress up, even brands. For them, it might mean the oppor­tu­ni­ty to go ‘off-brand’ a lit­tle and have some fun, and in all cas­es it gives brands and con­sumers plen­ty to talk and get excit­ed about.

After all, Hal­loween is a bil­lion-dol­lar indus­try. In 2013, the Nation­al Retail Fed­er­a­tion (NRF) esti­mat­ed that 158 mil­lion Amer­i­cans would be par­tic­i­pat­ing in Hal­loween fes­tiv­i­ties, spend­ing a total of $6.9 bil­lion. In total that’s an aver­age spend of $75.03 per per­son.

This year’s spend­ing is fore­cast­ed to be even high­er. The NRF fore­cast that total U.S. spend­ing will reach $7.4 bil­lion, with 162 mil­lion Amer­i­cans tak­ing part, mak­ing a total spend of $77.52 per per­son. An ICSC sur­vey gave an even high­er pro­jec­tion, esti­mat­ing total U.S. spend­ing to exceed $11 bil­lion.

Mar­keters rec­og­nize the oppor­tu­ni­ties afford­ed by Hal­loween, and 49 per­cent say they will launch a hol­i­day cam­paign before Hal­loween, accord­ing to Exper­ian Mar­ket­ing Ser­vices.

Halloween Stats & Strategies For 2014

1. Consumers are ready to spend in 2014, but make sure you’re offering deals and discounts that represent good value for consumers.

Accord­ing to the Nation­al Retail Fed­er­a­tion:

  • 162 mil­lion Amer­i­cans will take part in Hal­loween in 2014, spend­ing a total $7.4 bil­lion.
    • $2.8 bil­lion will be spent on cos­tumes.
  • 16 per­cent of peo­ple will turn to pop cul­ture for cos­tume inspi­ra­tion.
    • Frozen and Teenage Mutant Hero Tur­tles are expect­ed to be two of the most pop­u­lar cos­tumes.
  • Half of shop­pers will turn to dis­count stores for Hal­loween pur­chas­es.
  • A quar­ter of shop­pers will make their Hal­loween pur­chas­es in gro­cery stores.
  • A third of peo­ple will start their Hal­loween pur­chas­es before Octo­ber.
  • A fifth of shop­pers say their Hal­loween spend­ing will impact­ed by the econ­o­my.
    • 20 per­cent to make rather than buy cos­tumes.
    • 8 per­cent will not hand out can­dy this year.

2) Cross-channel campaigns will define Halloween marketing in 2014.

Accord­ing to Exper­ian Mar­ket­ing Ser­vices:

  • 83 per­cent of busi­ness­es are plan­ning to run cross-chan­nel mar­ket­ing cam­paigns dur­ing the Hal­loween sea­son.
    • A fur­ther 59 per­cent of these stat­ed that they planned to use online dis­play adver­tis­ing.
    • 55 per­cent also favored email mar­ket­ing.
    • 46 per­cent intend­ed to use print.
    • 30 per­cent planned to use search.
    • 24 per­cent mobile.

And the Nation­al Retail Fed­er­a­tion report­ed that:

  • 34.2 per­cent of adults will use organ­ic search for cos­tume inspi­ra­tion.
    • 33 per­cent will wait until they get to a store to decide on a cos­tume
    • 13.5 per­cent will look for inspi­ra­tion via Face­book.
  • 21 per­cent of 18- to 24-year-olds will use Pin­ter­est for cos­tume inspi­ra­tion.

3) Brick-and-mortar stores to make up 90% of purchases. Use digital to incentivize in-store purchases.

Accord­ing to ICSC:

  • An incred­i­ble 90 per­cent of Hal­loween pur­chas­es will be placed in brick-and-mor­tar stores, with online pur­chas­es due to be respon­si­ble for just 7 per­cent of over­all spend­ing.
  • 64 per­cent of con­sumers said sales or the low­est price was the biggest influ­encer in their Hal­loween pur­chas­es.
  • 31 per­cent said the abil­i­ty to phys­i­cal­ly see, touch or try on the mer­chan­dise was the biggest influ­enc­ing fac­tor.
  • 29 per­cent said con­ve­nience/one-stop shopping/good park­ing would influ­ence their deci­sions most.
  • 34 per­cent of spend­ing will take place at dis­count stores.
    • Super­mar­kets are expect­ed to grab 18 per­cent of pur­chas­es.
    • Cloth­ing and cos­tume stores expect­ed to make up 13 per­cent of pur­chas­es.
    • Drug store chains will take 11 per­cent of pur­chas­es.
    • Whole­sale clubs will take 9 per­cent of pur­chas­es.

Get inspired for Halloween

With a lit­tle cre­ativ­i­ty, the oppor­tu­ni­ties are end­less. The next few weeks will see mar­keters launch­ing cre­ative Hal­loween cam­paigns. To help get inspired, here are a few exam­ples of the most impres­sive Hal­loween con­tent from last year.

Booking.com — Haunted

There are few things that chill the spine more than a poten­tial stay at a haunt­ed hotel. Booking.com’s ‘Haunt­ed’ select­ed the finest hor­ri­fy­ing movie hotels for thrill-seek­ers to stay in over Hal­loween.


giffgaff — Different Takes Guts

Switch­ing mobile net­works takes guts. Lots of them. A sim­ple mes­sage that made for the most grue­some cam­paign.


REI — Zombie Survival Guide

Admit it — nag­ging at the back of your mind every now and again is what your course of action would be when the zom­bie apoc­a­lypse is upon us. Thank­ful­ly, out­door cloth­ing and equip­ment retail­er REI have pro­vid­ed this help­ful info­graph­ic with some handy sur­vival tips.


Tide — Scared Stainless

Tide did a series of fan­tas­tic homages to clas­sic hor­ror films.

And kick­ing off pro­ceed­ings for 2014 in dra­mat­ic fash­ion, watch this hilar­i­ous video of a man who dressed his dog up as a spi­der. (p.s. 97 mil­lion views at time of post­ing!)

This par­tic­u­lar video isn’t an exam­ple of brand­ed con­tent but it shows the poten­tial of con­tent, and how nice­ly it can be tied into con­sumer spend­ing. U.S. Hal­loween spend­ing on cos­tumes for pets alone reach $330 mil­lion in 2013 (NRF Sur­vey), and is expect­ed to reach a sim­i­lar fig­ure this year. How much of that spend­ing will be spent on dog­gy spi­der cos­tumes?

Brands have an incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ty over Hal­loween to reach and engage con­sumers, espe­cial­ly if they are set up to launch a cross-chan­nel dig­i­tal offen­sive on social media, mobile, and video. Expect to see some com­pelling con­tent launch­ing in the next few weeks.

Be sure to keep up with mar­ket­ing activ­i­ty over Hal­loween on momen­tol­ogy.

Share your favorite exam­ples of Hal­loween con­tent mar­ket­ing from pre­vi­ous years!

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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