While the marketing world waits with baited breath to see this year’s John Lewis’ Christmas ad, advertising is just the tip of the iceberg and marketers are missing out on a big opportunity to drive sales around what consumers share online.
That is according to an analysis of 10 million online “shares”, carried out by RadiumOne, which shows that among the 72% of British adults (36.1 million) who will share Christmas-related content online, ads are only the seventh most popular content, alongside present wish lists (30%). The most popular, by far, are festive pictures (65%) followed by videos (49%), present ideas (45%) and sales and promotions (43%).
Based on the analysis the study identifies four sharing spikes or ‘hotspots’ outside Black Friday and Cyber Monday which marketers can tap into to fuel sales. These are the 11-12th and 18-19th November, and 3-4th and 18-19th December.
“The vast majority of purchases result from recommendations by friends and family people trust, so sharing behaviour is a hugely powerful retail signal at this time of year which marketers need to have built into their paid, owned and earned plans,” said Craig Tuck, RadiumOne’s managing director.
“Sales and promotions and present ideas will each be shared by about 15.9 million people. This is a real-time trigger of consumer intent and the most likely moment they’ll interact with a brand at the most important retail period of the year.”
Electricals, clothing, gadgets and toys are the product ideas most likely to be shared. For all these, the vast majority of sharing happens in “Dark Social” channels (which cannot be measured by web analytics, such as email and instant messengers), from 78% in clothing to 94% in toys.
Mobiles have now overtaken laptops as the most popular device for sharing content online, being used by 41% of sharers.
Around 98 million pieces of Christmas-related content will be shared each day and the average sharer will do so with 11 people, so Tuck points out this gives brands a “12-for-1 deal” as they can “join the dots” between sharers and recipients.
“Having the right tools in place to wrap, track and activate your Christmas content online is vital if you want to harness the power of this critical consumer signal,” said Tuck. “Data–driven insights gleaned from sharing enables retailers to successfully grow revenue in this hugely competitive period. For example, Boots tracked how its content was shared last Christmas to generate £10 in sales for every £1 spent on digital ads.”
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