How Retailers Can Best Use Video Advertising to Increase Holiday Sales
The holiday season is the most festive of the year, full of decorations, food, music, family and office get-togethers. It can also be one of the most emotional times of the year for many. On one hand, psychologists cite the strong feelings of nostalgia that the holidays evoke, as many adults fondly recall their childhoods and the excitement of waking up to gifts, or perhaps the warm feeling of being with family and friends.
The holidays also can also be a time of significant stress, exhaustion or even depression (“the holiday blues”) as people overextend themselves at work, with personal commitments, or with just too much partying!
Marketers should consider this kaleidoscope of consumer emotion when using video around the holidays to ensure they provide the right type of experience to the right consumer as they make their purchase decisions. Here are a couple of tips that you can employ based off the different consumer mind-sets of the season:
The Holiday Nostalgist
This type of consumer loves the holiday season for the memories it brings back, and the ones they hope to create this season. They can be identified through an analysis of their content consumption around classic films, art and collectibles, as well as retro fashion, style or brands. Music should be a central theme to complement these fond memories with video advertising, as psychologists frequently note that music is one of the most powerful ways to drum up an emotional reaction, especially with songs from the past. As Vice noted back in April, “music has enormous power to evoke memories in the listener … listening to music lights up the brain’s visual cortex. Which means that as you hear a song, you’ll start associating it with memories or other images almost immediately.”
This consumer lives to make other people happy, but they often need some help in deciding exactly what to give their friends and family, especially extended family that they only see sporadically. They can be identified by spikes in online purchases on seemingly random occasions, often signaling a birthday, anniversary or the holidays. Video ads should include interactive functionality such as a gift-giving guides where a user can insert a few key points about the recipient (e.g., age, gender, etc) and a dynamic product feed sends back a few ideas. If that type of robust functionality isn't available, providing several options from a wide range of your offerings is preferable so that the user gets a sense of the breadth of your products and services before they visit your website or store.
Some consumers are purely motivated by the idea of getting a great deal or discovering something unique that not many other people have. You can find them by analyzing their shopping patterns during nonholiday times. If they frequent coupon sites, read content about members-only sales or rare collections, or RSVP for sidewalk sales, you likely have a hunter-gatherer in your midst. The video experience should center around the idea of scarcity marketing. For example, if you have a limited-time offer or a small amount of inventory for a sought-after product, this is the consumer that will respond. As an added bonus, they're more likely to share updates with their friends on social media after discovering your deals. Nielsen reported that adults who visit coupons/rewards sites are not only more likely than the average adult online to have multiple social networking profiles (12 percent more likely), but also significantly more likely (33 percent) to post links, websites, articles and videos.
Let’s face it, the holiday season isn’t for everyone. There are those of us out there who just want to check off a few important boxes in terms of giving gifts to the most important people in their lives. They look forward to having a few days off work more so than hitting every holiday party in town. These folks can be found through an analysis of their content consumption around leisure activities, purchase behavior and social media activity. If they count binge watching Netflix, gaming, and ordering takeout from QSR’s as their top activities of choice, you may want to consider a video advertising experience that emphasizes ordering simplicity and focuses on e-commerce. One-click ordering, free shipping, and no-hassle returns will appeal to the Scrooge, who may just warm up to the fact that you're willing to provide solutions on their terms.
Video advertising is the perfect format to capture the strong emotional palette that the holidays bring. By pairing data-driven creative with the right audience, you can ensure relevancy and deliver a video experience that delivers a strong return on investment. And you just might turn a Scrooge or two into a lifelong customer!
Jim Johnson is vice president of account planning at Exponential, a digital advertising provider.
As Vice President of Account Planning, Jim is responsible for leveraging VDX.tv’s consumer research and insights to develop holistic digital marketing strategies aimed at guiding clients toward their desired outcomes. Prior to joining VDX.tv (formerly Exponential), Jim worked as a Media Planner with Carat on brands including Reebok, VH1, RadioShack and Motorola. He has also worked at Boston University as an event planner and financial advisor, roles he held while simultaneously earning an M.S in Advertising from the College of Communication. Jim earned his B.A in Journalism from Keene State College, splitting time between undergraduate studies and the United States Marine Corps Reserve.