Find, engage, inform: Your guide to marketing this holiday season

How has your target audience evolved over a year of changes? Outbrain’s Andrew Burke, Managing Director, APAC and Growth Markets, shares some interesting findings from the company’s recent Holiday Marketing Guide.

Twas two months before Christmas, 
when all through the land, 
the marketers were readying,
To meet Christmas demand.

But supply chain challenges,
And COVID’s long tail,
Mean this festive season, 
Is one you can’t fail.

So Outbrain did research,
On consumer demand,
We know what they’re thinking,
And so can your brand.

The holy grail for all marketers and advertisers is knowing their audience. We strive to know what they’re thinking, how they’re reacting and – ultimately – what they’re going to do.

But how has the ping-pong effect of living through a pandemic affected the way consumers are shopping?

Outbrain recently dug into what’s behind consumer purchases in our recently published Holiday Marketing Guide. After surveying more than 8,000 consumers, we revealed who advertisers and marketers should be spending their money on, and how they can engage with people they never have before.

Find out where your consumers are migrating, how you can engage them, and what’s driving them to make purchases.

Finding your consumers 

There are some myths that have been thrown around as fact for a long time – that in store shopping is steadily declining and that more people are spending time on their mobiles versus their desktops.

But how accurate are these ideas?

Our research has found that globally, more people tend to shop on their desktops (45 percent) than mobile (42 percent). This can be partly put down to the migration to working at home, as employees are spending more time plugged into their laptops free from office supervision.

That’s not to say that online shopping is the only way people are making purchases anymore. In some cases, it’s a necessity, particularly for those living under lockdowns. However, for those with more freedom, the appetite for in store shopping is still strong.

In store shopping has an undeniable appeal in that consumers can physically experience the product they want to buy before purchasing. Being able to take the product home straightaway (and avoiding delivery) was also a leading factor that drives people in store.

Because of this, marketers need to optimise their strategies for both in store and online shopping, and ensure the advertising reflects both mobile and desktop formats.

Investing in the 18-35 year old demographic should also be on everyone’s agenda this year. Globally, this age group is more likely to increase their spending this holiday season than others. Australians were expected to increase their spending the most out of all countries – 39 percent of their 18-35 year olds are expected to increase their budget this holiday season.

And with so many Kiwi consumers having been locked down for a long period, without outlets to spend their disposable income, it’s a safe bet there is some pent up demand locally in this demographic as well. 

Image: Unsplash

Engaging your consumers

Grabbing your audience’s attention – while competing with thousands of other companies that are also trying their best to win them over – is a constant battle. From pop ups to cookies, the ways in which we target these consumers is rapidly changing.

The right values might ultimately be the key to securing their attention. Ads that meet a consumer’s personal interests and that are trustworthy are most likely to capture attention, and are most important in purchase decisions.

Brand accessibility was the most important factor in encouraging Black Friday purchases globally, followed by sustainability and local support. Consumers also overwhelmingly prefer having information about a brand before making a purchase, and are also influenced by the quality and affordability of products.

There are also indications that despite global lockdowns and the unpredictability of the pandemic, consumers aren’t restricting their spending to essential products and services. Consumers are preparing to increase their online shopping in fashion, travel and beauty over the next six months, with technology and entertainment also forecasted to experience increases, according to the survey.

Ensure you’re positioning your company before the consumer before they’re even ready to make a decision. Be upfront with them, and make sure you’re rewarding them for their interest in your product.

Image: Unsplash

Informing your consumers

It’s no surprise that research forms the basis for any purchasing decision. However, how that research is conducted by consumers is an ever evolving process.

Our research found that people are generally watching videos, reading reviews or engaging with product recommendations prior to making a purchase. It also revealed that 61 percent of consumers say that watching a video is important to their purchase decision, and about three in five consumers say watching a video is important to them at least sometimes. 

That means for even disengaged consumers, there is still an instinct to gather information online before moving to a purchase decision. Keeping an eye on what reviews, videos and product recommendations are circulating online will ensure you’re not out of the race before you’ve even begun.

As we head towards the last two months of the year, we’re all waiting with bated breath to see if COVID-19 has any last minute twists in store. But when it comes to marketing and advertising, some simple truths will form the foundation of your strategy, and help you prepare for any twists and turns along the way.

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