Dal Gill, global head of programmatic at Seedtag, discusses how creative and relevant Christmas ad campaigns can have on impact on which brands consumers choose to spend their money with
Though Christmas campaigns may seem festive and fun, the truth is there is a lot of hard work and planning behind them to make them work successfully. Brands focus their communication efforts on these last six weeks of the year when consumer spending is at its highest level. That is the reason why during this period advertising is a crucial factor and could lead people to shift their budgets from one brand to another, based on the effectiveness of brand communication. Think about how many of us look forward to the John Lewis advert every year and how much of a talking point it is amongst friends, at work and even at the hairdressers.
Advertising spend keeps growing every year, and according to Criteo, the Holiday marketing spend is expected to grow as much as 46 per cent in the US and 38 per cent in the UK this year. If we look closer at how these budgets are allocated, we notice an increasing trend among planners to give more weight to digital campaigns. According to eMarketer figures, worldwide digital ad spending is predicted to reach $375bn in a couple of years, and without a doubt a large proportion of this budget will be spent in the last months of the year.
During Christmas, users’ attention is scarce as they are continuously bombarded with advertising on many different channels. If brands want to engage with their target, they need to come up with new and compelling content and combine different channels to maximise the impact.
Regardless of the industry, there are certain tips that make all the difference, setting great Christmas strategies apart from average ones.
First of all, it is well known that ad recall is linked to emotions. According to a research from the BBC, delivering multiple emotional peaks is key to content memorability in the long-term. This study proved how content delivering more than 10 emotional peaks was remembered easier. This effect is widely used in holiday campaigns and generates a strong bond with consumers.
Another point we must bear in mind when defining a Christmas strategy is the brand’s sector and consequently the audience. The one size fits all approach should be ruled out and each brand requires a different approach. For instance, youthful brands frequently use social media strategies as their core target usually spend a lot of time connected. On the other hand, luxury brands require a completely different approach, as their consumers expect well-produced, beautiful and inspirational campaigns.
Finally, and due to the vast amount of Christmas-related content generated during this season, it may be worthwhile to consider contextual targeting strategies to leverage it all. These strategies can help brands boost their reach, spreading brand messages amongst thousands of people or hitting niche targets related to specific topics such as cooking, gifts, etc. Besides, placing relevant ads alongside content that users are reading and consequently have an interest in, it is a great way to boost main brand KPIs. According to the The Power of Relevance: Content, Context and Emotions study, carried out by IPG Media Lab, contextual targeting is prone to increase purchase intent by 63 per cent and brand recommendation by 83 per cent.
Some specific dates and events provide a great opportunity for brands to make profit by creating an explicit link to the event. For instance, sport sponsorship campaigns have proved their ability to seize the emotional wave created around certain dates and capitalise from it.
As with any big sports event, the holiday season gives brands the same exact opportunity to be seen by thousands of people in a moment when they tend to have a more positive mindset and are therefore open to advertising messages.
Powered by a cutting-edge in-house technology, Seedtag offers accurate and cookie-less targeting capabilities. Based on a careful analysis of each article, we allow brands to match users’ interests in real time, delivering the campaigns right next to the content they are consuming. This precise targeting is available for both direct campaigns and programmatic deals, letting advertisers choose the option that better fit their brand objectives.
Once the content is identified and brands have decided which topics or territories are best for them to be associated with, they will also be able to tailor their creative assets, according to their objectives, audience and devices. This process takes place in our Seedtag studio platform, which enables building fully responsive, compelling and interactive pieces that make a true impact on consumers.
Lastly, we cannot forget to mention the importance of the content where your ads are placed. As several studies have proved, users pay three times more attention to ads when these ones are displayed on premium content sites. At Seedtag we only work with a network which features curated editorial content, providing a more pleasant experience to users and ensuring brand image would not be at risk or compromised by appearing next to, for instance, users’ generated content, the one we have no control over it and sometimes could be harmful for brands.
Christmas is such an important time of the year for many of us, however we choose to celebrate it. It is a time for us all to switch off, spend quality time with friends and family (if we are lucky) and for many of us to stuff our faces without thought. Having a less hectic schedule may lead us to appreciate the things around us a lot more, and with that we may acknowledge the endless ways that brands are trying to capture our thoughts and attention. The question is: do we want to see these ads in a creative and relevant environment? Or targeted with the same ad for the vacuum cleaner that I did not purchase during Black Friday? The latter will definitely have us reaching for that ad blocking extension!