Written by Cal Young, programme director in Hotwire London's Digital Commerce team...

It’s the midst of summer, school holidays are afoot, barbeques are all the rage, the weather is exemplary and I haven’t even mentioned the football…

There is plenty of fodder out there for seasonal marketers to sink their teeth into, and yet attention must not linger here. Facebook has set the ‘holiday’ season firmly on marketers’ horizons.

Sure enough, we don’t mean summer – or Back to School. The social platform announced a group of new tools for retailers this week to give brands a 123-day head start on reaching shoppers before during and after the noise of Black Friday, Cyber Week and Christmas.

Facebook has been testing out an augmented reality ad feature for its news feed across categories of fashion accessories, cosmetics, furniture, gaming and entertainment. Michael Kors was the first brand to pilot the offering, giving customers the opportunity to try on different looks.

Similarly, Snapchat’s latest update will let people buy things on Amazon just by letting them Snap them. The "Visual Search" engine links users to Amazon listings straight from the app - reminiscent of Instagram's shoppable items on its main feed.

No time like the present

It’s a crucial time for the major social platforms. Q2 earnings reports are just around the corner and it’s important to ensure continued trust from agencies and brands.

Famously during the January earnings call Zuckerberg surprised everyone by saying people spending less time on Facebook is a good thing. It’s clear from the continued focus on technological advancement that delivering richer experiences geared towards saving the user time has settled at the core of the platform’s strategy.

But while the platforms convene on the next great advertising push, marketers ought to reflect not only on the opportunities presented by each platform, but also their relevance to the brand audience.

Ritson recommends

The first rule of marketing.The first rule is you are not the consumer. Ritson draws from the timely example of a leading tennis brand looking to recruit a new marketing manager. Given the option between a former professional in the sport and a marketing manager for a soup brand, he delivers the point that in either case their relevance from the job stems from their - personal - ability to drop any assumed insight.

The latest Trinity Mirror Solutions report confirms that the people who populate agency land are nothing like the markets they are attempting to influence. Agency people are younger, more left-wing, more mobile than their consumer counterparts.

While the developments discussed above by Facebook, Snapchat, the good and the great are a call to action, remember to revisit your customer profile. Which segments could be targeted with an augmented reality experience? Would the investment drive direct response? Only firm answers to these questions are making any real headway to becoming holiday ready.