Now that Halloween is behind us it’s time to start planning for the holidays – at least, in terms of your media buys. For months already we’ve been getting early reports of what this year’s holiday season has in store for retailers, particularly as it relates to online shopping, and overall it looks good. Some studies say 81 percent of consumers will use the web in their holiday shopping this year, up from 54 percent who said they’d do so last year, while others report 83 percent of consumers prefer to shop online than in crowded stores over Thanksgiving and 21 percent expect to spend more on the web this year. In fact, nearly every report you’ll find features this common theme: this year, consumers will shop more online.
So what about mobile media?
It’s the question I asked of Joy Liuzzo, vice president, director of market research firm InsightExpress. According to Liuzzo and the company’s recent Mobile Consumer Research “Digital Consumer Portrait,” the 2011 holiday shopping season won’t just be remembered for the money consumers put into the web, but the mobile web as well.
It’s the 18th such report the company has put out that asks consumers to share their perceptions about advertising, and it holds some interesting data. Above all else the report confirms there is intent among smartphone owners to do some holiday shopping on their mobile devices this year. To take full advantage of this opportunity, there are a few things brands should keep in mind. With the help of the InsightExpress report, here are the top three (surprising) considerations for your holiday mobile campaign.
- Men are for mobile, women not as much. More men than women own a smartphone – 39 percent versus 30 percent – but would you have imagined that men are also more likely to do their holiday shopping by phone? Fifty percent of male smartphone owners intend to do just that this year, compared with 39 percent of females.
This point bears some thought. To what degree have you been targeting men compared with females in your recent mobile campaigns? Do you have a strategy in place to effectively reach this audience for the holidays? When it comes to shopping online, brands tend to subscribe to the mindset that women are the more active buyers. But this year, overlooking male mobile users could be a colossal mistake.
- Your mobile rich media ads should take direction from your static banners. As I wrote last week, static banners are widely considered to be a dead format, but in mobile media they still play a critical role, and that’s to inform rich media ads. According to Liuzzo, mobile rich media ads provide an opportunity for brands to educate consumers about their products because consumers are now accustomed to seeing interactivity in mobile. They expect it – after all, we’ve trained them to – and therefore without it your ad will probably fall flat.
That said, Liuzzo notes that far too often rich media banners aren’t properly branded until the third or fourth frame, whereas static banners deliver this vital information right from the start (it’s for this reason that they can still be effective). When you’re designing your mobile rich media ads, take a cue from the static banner and keep your branding prominent and immediate.
- Take consumers’ expectations about how much they’ll shop…and raise them. Intent to shop as illustrated by the report, versus actually doing so come the holidays, may not always be perfectly congruent. If anything, however, consumers will ultimately alter their behavior more than expected. When asked about the accuracy of consumer responses in InsightExpress studies, Liuzzo said there was a 50 percent increase last year in what respondents said they would do and what they actually did. In other words, there’s a very good chance your target audience will spend even more time and money shopping on the mobile web this year than you – or they – think.
And remember all of those survey respondents who didn’t want to brave the crowds over Thanksgiving weekend? About 16 percent of them will be doing their holiday shopping on their mobile phones on Thanksgiving Day. “Socially, this is perfectly acceptable,” Liuzzo points out, painting an image of the typical holiday family gathering. Whereas a host or guest at a holiday event wouldn’t sneak away to shop on their laptop, they can easily whip out their phone and mark a few names off their gift list.
As you plan your media buys, therefore, go heavy on your mobile exposure for Thanksgiving Day as well as Black Friday, when 29 percent of men and 31 percent of women plan to shop using their phones. Smartphone owners have already begun to research and shop for their holiday gifts, but failing to target them effectively on these days may mean missing out on some major purchases.