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More than half of consumers will be using social media for Christmas shopping this year


The past 18 months have been transformative, including for brands, businesses and consumers. A seismic shift caused consumers to pour from brick and mortar stores to social media platforms, e-commerce apps and streaming services at breathtaking speeds of the moment.

The way consumers interact with brands has irrevocably changed – and as brands and retailers prepare for the holiday season, so does marketing.

According to a recent report by Smartly.io that surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers to better understand current shopping behavior and sentiment towards brands, the pendulum is unlikely to ever swing back to pre-pandemic times will. Of those who already shop online, 87% plan to continue doing so once restrictions wear off and physical retailers reopen, suggesting that affinity with online channels will remain long-term.

Impulse spending has become the norm as consumers seek to make up for lost time by buying items they couldn’t buy during global business closings. In fact, Bloomberg estimates U.S. consumers had around $ 1.5 trillion in savings from the pandemic last year – and they’re ready to burn them.

Smartly.io found that the easing of restrictions motivated more than half (53%) of US consumers to buy online items such as new clothes and travel accessories that they can now use at least one of the following categories: Apparel / Retail (59%), food / beverages (44%), travel / hospitality (39%), entertainment (39%), home improvement / decor (38%) and automotive (17th)%).

Not only are consumers ready to spend, but they will continue to spend online by making impulse purchases for items they can finally use, and that sentiment will last at least until the rest of 2021.

The role of social media in the shopping mix has also changed. eMarketer predicts the number of social commerce shoppers in the US will increase 12.9% to 90.4 million in 2021. After all, nearly four in ten (38%) of respondents to the Smartly.io survey said they made an online purchase based on a digital ad they saw on social media in the past 30 days, while 44% discovered a new product or brand.

The statistics indicate a confident attitude among consumers about online shopping and product search through social advertising, but brands cannot afford to delay their attention on respecting consumer data. Consumers are more privacy conscious than ever, with 85% of US consumers prioritizing their personal information more than it was a year ago. You want to see companies prioritize privacy too. 91% of U.S. consumers are more likely to buy from a brand online if they believe the brand is trustworthy and has transparent data practices, and 74% are more receptive to branded digital ads when they are clear about their data be used.

Differentiate with creative

In a world where privacy comes first, where consumers dictate the online experience they want, brands need to evolve their approach to ad personalization and have the flexibility to adapt and leverage new tactics to get trusted connections Build consumers and target audiences. As? It’s all about creativity.

“Brands need to rely more on relevant, personalized creatives that are delivered to the right place at the right time, with privacy-friendly context targeting,” says Riikka Söderlund, Marketing Director at Smartly.io. “The best performing audiences can no longer be the only focus because they have become more opaque. It is also necessary to be more iterative and to scale the creative production faster and more agile to ensure that there are enough creatives to find the ‘those’ who resonate. “

Advertisers need to use creative rather than specific targeting to highlight what is unique about an offer, what gets noticed, and what is relevant – throughout the buyer journey to make the creative compelling at every possible conversion point.

It’s easier said than done. Content demands are increasing and design teams often run out of bandwidth to manually produce the amount of content they need for the huge channels and formats.

According to Smartly.io, it’s all about volume, speed and, quite simply, smarter ads. That means giving advertisers the creative tools to quickly produce and launch creative variations across markets, channels, products, and more, to ensure they resonate with audiences.

“By uniting design and performance from start to finish, advertisers get the speed and agility to iterate and scale creative production, break creative and data silos, while delivering deep insights to test what hits the market and optimize campaigns, both in-flight and in the future, to increase engagement, ”adds Söderlund.

The current environment may seem challenging, but it also offers an opportunity for brands to stand out. Online shopping and social media advertising are in demand, but to meet consumer needs for convenience and privacy, brands need to build trust and be clear about how data is being used.

As marketers prepare for a future without third-party cookies, the focus is on getting creative to reach a wider audience. This often unused and overlooked function can serve as a panacea to differentiate yourself in the future – especially as creative optimization becomes more and more sophisticated.

The future of social advertising will be a winning combination of creativity, data and insights. The brands that will catch on will use creative insights to serve ads that drive sales across all platforms while keeping an eye on privacy. If you overlook any of these components, consumers may overlook you.

For more information on how consumers will shop this upcoming holiday season, please visit Smartly.io’s Social Advertising Trends Report here.


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