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Advertising

Christmas

GUEST BLOG: Planning for paid social advertising success at Christmas

By Rob Kabrovski, VP Accounts EMEA, Adaptly

The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year, but it can also be stressful for retail marketers. That pressure is for a good reason: UK sales amounted to almost £43 billion in 2016, with shoppers spending in excess of £805 million on Christmas Day alone.

With consumers facing messages and advertisements from all different directions, it takes careful planning and strategising to execute campaigns that will break through the noise.

It is possible for advertisers to own the Christmas season timeline, making this year’s campaigns the most effective yet.

Dominate the Pre-Season Period

Christmas conversations often start as early September but there’s a huge spike in interest once Halloween has passed.

Almost half of UK shoppers claim to have planned most of their Christmas purchases by early October, but just over 15% will have actually finished their shopping at the end of the following month.

Make sure to get ahead of competitors by carefully creating a content calendar and owning the pre-Christmas planning period. This is a key time for driving awareness and increasing product consideration, as consumers are in a much more relaxed state-of-mind. Christmas season is saturated with ads and it’s important to get a head start to reach your target audience before ad fatigue sets in.

Users increasingly turn to social platforms to plan their Christmas purchases and activities. The sooner you start adding content, the more likely you are to get noticed and stay top-of-mind throughout the entire period.

Test and Learn

Use the October pre-season period to do your testing. Iterate on creative and ad formats to identify what resonates best with your customer – setting you up for success later on. This is a perfect time to identify which products, assets, and messaging your audiences are responding to, in order to optimise top performers closer to the actual date.

Focus this time on driving brand awareness and create excitement in the run-up to major shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Seed your messages to core users – customers, fans, site visitors, and email subscribers – then reach your entire target audience on the actual day of a sale.

But remember that announcing promotions too early can delay consumers from making a purchase. 60% of UK customers say that they have hesitated to buy a Christmas related item in the hope of picking up a bargain later on.

Bid Aggressively

The competition tightens towards the end of November, in particular around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That means you’ll have to be willing to bid aggressively to get a bigger share of users’ wallets.  This can have an effect on your usual sales targets, so use historical data to determine the best timeline and appropriate budgets for your business.

Even though this period may be slightly pricier than usual, you’re reaching users while they are most receptive to offers and gift ideas, and while purchase intent is at its peak.

Most consumers are actively looking to make purchases, so creative elements should be focused on product demos or inspiring users with gifting ideas. At this point, use ad formats that drive traffic to site and bring customers closer to purchase.

Drive Sales with Retargeting

In the immediate run-up to Christmas, driving sales becomes more important than ever. A total of £25 billion was spent online between Black Friday and Christmas Eve last year, and compared to 2015, ecommerce orders saw a 51% increase for the week leading up to the 25th.

Leverage the audiences you have already driven to your site; and dynamically retarget users based on product pages they have viewed.

Put the right items in front of shoppers at the right time and personalise your content based on users’ previous behaviour.

Don’t forget customers who are likely to purchase your products for their own use; retarget them with items they viewed earlier in the year. Entice these users with the opportunity to buy their own perfect gift – now available through a Black Friday deal or with a special Christmas discount.

Christmas can be a stressful time for marketers, but it also presents ample opportunities to connect with customers while purchase intent is high. As long as you plan your activity well in advance and focus on driving users through the purchase funnel, this is definitely the season to be jolly.

www.adaptly.com

VW Polo Vindis

GUEST BLOG: VW Polo – Why does controversial advertising work?

Volkswagen are known for their alternative approach to advertising campaigns – in particular, their VW Polo campaigns. VW dealership, Vindis, explores how Volkswagen have used controversy and humour by taking advantage of potentially bad news, and why they have worked – can other SME’s capitalise on this advertising technique?

Controversial branding and advertising campaigns can ruffle some feathers within society, but one thing that is guaranteed, is that it will catch people’s attention. But the question remains, where do you draw the line? How far is too far? Is there such a thing as bad publicity?

Alternative approaches to advertising such as the use of controversy and humour in campaigns can spark engagement and discussion within society. However, it’s subjective to the person viewing it – an advert can be interpreted in many ways, and what one person might find amusing, another could find grossly offensive. The trick is to be clever with your message and imagery, rather than offensive. With 30% of men and women admitting they avoided purchasing from brands with distasteful advertising campaigns, be careful with how you approach your campaign.

Clever advertising?

Volkswagen have a reputation for piggy-backing onto current affairs to keep their advertising campaigns up-to-date and attention grabbing. They have continued to approach all VW Polo advertising with the moto ‘small but tough’.

In 2014, after an image went viral off an elephant straddling a Volkswagen Polo, assumedly using the vehicle as a scratching post, the brand capitalised the image using it as part of their campaign suggesting that the Polo comes with ‘Elephant Impact Protection as Standard’ – the campaign was amusing to the audience, whilst also relatable and current as the image was ‘real’. Whilst this could have been potential bad news about an elephant getting close and personal, crushing the VW Polo, the brand saw an opportunity to utilise the image in their favour, tactfully making the most of its ‘small but tough’ slogan.

The internet played a major role in the success of this campaign. Had it not been for the power of social media, it’s likely that VW would have not seen the image and the cleverly thought out campaign would not exist. Following the rise of digital media and social media apps, advertisers and brands can use ‘viral marketing’ as a tool to spread information almost immediately.

Another campaign that saw VW capitalising the ‘small but tough’ slogan was the 2003 ‘Cops’ advertisement. Showing a dozen police officers taking cover behind the VW Polo whilst in a gun battle, the brand cleverly got their message across to the audience – ‘small but tough. Polo.’

Volkswagen are clever at using a model’s best feature to its full advantage in their advertising campaigns. One of their campaigns capitalised on the size of the brand’s supermini. With the tag line ‘one benefit of the new Polo is that you can park it anywhere’, the advertisement shows a VW Polo parked on top of the billboard. Suggesting you literally can park it anywhere.

How can SME’s capitalise on controversial and funny advertising?

Controversy can pay off if you are clever about it, with potential to get your brand noticed. However there are some topics which you should always avoid. Generally, it’s a safe option to avoid anything to do with racism, sexuality, religion and politics aswith these topics, everyone is likely to have different opinion. SME’s in particular should stick to safer topics which you are more likely to get away with a controversial approach. The best way to approach your advertising campaigns is to keep up with viral and current trends. Capitalising with reactive marketing is a great way to drive engagement towards your brand. Reactivate marketing campaigns are designed to jolt the viewer awake – shock adverts catch the viewer’s attention, and usually keeps their attention.

SME’s should take advantage of digital presence, especially social media. Whether you are a large corporate business or an SME, Google, and the likes, can’t differentiate between each and treats you both the same – it’s up to the users and readers to choose who deserve the exposure and recognition. Remember, it’s free to set up a social media profile. Whilst you might not have the same budget as a larger competitor, that’s no reason not to be seen, or heard for that matter. Keep current trends in mind, and be clever with your advertising. If you can catch your audience’s attention, there is nothing separating you from the big boys.

New GDPR legislation creates confusion within the marketing and advertising sector

A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of law firm Irwin Mitchel has revealed serious confusion regarding General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation within the marketing and advertising sector, less than a year before it comes into force.

GDPR is a regulation by which the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission intend to strengthen and unify data protection for anybody living within the EU.

Companies not upholding legislation could face fines of 20 million euros, or 4% of a company’s global revenue.

The survey of 187 marketing and advertising companies found that 70% of those polled admitted that they wouldn’t be certain of their ability to detect a data breach, while just 37% said they would be equipped to deal with a data breach within the required three day timescale.

Only 34% of advertising firms polled said that they were aware of the GDPR directive. 17% said that they would be forced out of business if they were subject to a fine.

“These results are concerning because with next May’s deadline fast-approaching and with so much at stake, our study reveals there’s a very real possibility that a large number of marketing and advertising firms will not be compliant in time,” Joanne Bone, partner and data protection expert at Irwin Mitchell told The Drum.

“Contrary to popular belief personal data is not just consumer information. It is hard to think of a business today that does not use personal data. Whether you have employee data, customer data or supplier data – if the data relates to an individual you will be caught by the new data protection laws.”

ANA: Brands need ‘chief media officers’ to oversee potential conflicts of interest…

The US-based Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has warned brands that, without the creation of a ‘chief media officer’ role in an agency, conflicts could potentially arise amongst third-party ad tech partners and agency rosters.

As a result of its recent ‘Media Transparency: Prescriptions, Principles, and Processes for Marketers’ report, other recommendations made by the organisation are: advertiser should have a disciplined and reliable process for managing conflicts of interest; marketers must implement disciplined internal processes to deliver contracts designed to ensure strict accountability, and senior management oversight; and to ensure that all contracts with media agencies include ‘robust language’ to provide full transparency.

 

Download and read the full report here