Member Article

Four retail insights to reach consumers ahead of shopping peaks

It has been a transformational year for consumers - from a mass shift to online shopping to spending considerably more time consuming digital content. Despite the uncertainty of COVID-19, online retail sales on Black Friday were strong this year coming in at +38 per cent, with the full Black Friday week (between 23th – 30th November) seeing growth of +30 per cent, according to IMRG. This presents a welcome silver lining for this upcoming seasonal period for many retailers. But the pandemic has also fuelled challenges for the retail industry. As such, brands need to be even more considered with their seasonal communications this year. Tanzil Bukhari, Managing Director EMEA at DoubleVerify provides four insights to help retail brands effectively engage consumers in a safe way in the run up to seasonal shopping peaks - whether it’s January sales or Valentine’s Day.

1. Embrace appetite for content, but don’t rely on one channel or legacy strategies

According to our recent global study, that surveyed over 2,000 UK consumers, online content consumption has skyrocketed. Spurred on by further regional and national lockdowns, the average UK consumer is spending an additional 3 hours 7 minutes each day viewing content, doubling overall digital content consumption. The most significant consumption increases are across social media and connected TV (CTV), with nearly one in two (47%) spending more time on social platforms (e.g., Facebook, YouTube and TikTok) and 39% using CTV devices more since the pandemic. Consumer behaviour has changed in 2020, so naturally traditional approaches to seasonal shopping peaks should evolve too. Identifying new opportunities to target audiences, especially on channels such as social and CTV, should be front of mind for retailers, as they continue to adapt to the new shopping normal.

2. Consumers are open to ads but brand suitability is key

Despite uncertainty, over one in three (38%) UK consumers have tried a new brand due to spotting a relevant ad. This is partly thanks to the extra time people are spending viewing content. But equally important to the environment an ad is displayed in, is appearing alongside content that is suitable and contextually relevant for the brand.

Appearing next to content that doesn’t align with a brand’s ethos and values could result in long-term reputational damage.

Navigating the increase of misinformation and fake news presents a further challenge for retailers. Over half (51%) of UK consumers say they would be less likely, or wouldn’t purchase from a brand again, if it appeared alongside fake news. In light of the pandemic and Brexit, thoughtful brand suitability strategies are more vital than ever to ensure brand-content alignment, and to maintain consumer interest and loyalty.

3. Don’t underestimate the need for trust when engaging with consumers

Our research reveals the majority (64%) of UK consumers are more likely to engage with an ad on the website of a publisher they know and trust. This focus on trusted news also aligns with an acceleration of subscription revenue growth—both within video streaming services and online media sectors—which have seen revenues grow between 9-14% year-on-year, according to Zuora’s Subscription Economy Index. This shows consumers are willing to pay for trusted content, or provide personal data to access it, in an attempt to avoid misinformation, fake news, as well as view premium, credible content.

Consumers don’t just value credible and trusted brand alignment, they want to trust that brands respect their privacy.

Mounting regulation has made a privacy-friendly approach to ad placement critical. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, is an important and necessary regulation in Europe, but it also limits the data advertisers can use for targeting, analysis and optimisation as we prepare for the sunset of third-party cookies coming into force in 2022. To target consumers effectively during this seasonal shopping sprint, advertisers therefore need to find an alternative for cookie-based targeting.

Adapting strategies to factor in context for advertising relevancy is the way forward.

4. Aligning targeting strategies to focus on context

69% of UK consumers are more likely to engage with an ad that’s relevant to the content they are already looking at, according to our recent data. To place ads effectively in the first place, it’s important to know what content they are appearing alongside.

That’s where contextual targeting comes in. Contextual targeting technology improves suitability standards but also boosts ad value. It does this by understanding the topic of content that an ad appears next to, as well as the context, tone and underlying meaning of that piece of content, to determine if it’s brand safe. For example, recipes and at home exercise routines would likely be deemed safe and suitable for most brands.

By using contextual targeting approaches, retail marketers can drive placements to content relevant to their brand, continue to advertise alongside suitable news content, and safely avoid content that poses a risk.

These four insights will help retailers take advantage of a newfound appetite for content—to engage with existing and new audiences—without switching consumers off during seasonal periods.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tanzil Bukhari, Managing Director, EMEA at DoubleVerify .

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