For Marketers, Social Commerce to Bring Holiday Cheer

Robert Rothschild Nov 08 2019 4 PM | 4 min read

It’s officially November now, and because it’s 2019, that means the holiday shopping season is already in full swing! In fact, nearly half of US consumers began spending before Halloween - indicating that the holiday creep is real. With major retailers like Kohl’s, Walmart and Best Buy dropping their Black Friday and holiday ad previews in the last week, and retail brands across the globe beginning to ramp up digital ad campaigns, consumers can expect to be bombarded with opportunities to shop over the next two months.

While the holidays serve as a clear and present opportunity for brands to drive revenue from consumers who are ready to buy, there’s a certain holiday lyric that comes to mind for marketers thinking about reaching those individuals: “it’s the most saturated time of the year.” But, don’t be discouraged! We asked 1,000 US consumers their preferences and behavior when it comes to holiday ads. Here’s what you need to know.

Window Shopping Goes Digital

Unlike shopping seasons of the past, 2019 promises to offer consumers more options than ever to source gifts for family and friends. According to PwC’s 2019 Holiday Outlook report, 54 percent of U.S. consumers plan to shop online in 2019. As shoppers continue to spend more time online, retailers must consider where those users are spending their time, and how to monetize it. Currently, 77 percent of Americans have at least one social media profile - making social media networks extremely valuable territory for brands. So, how can you capitalize on that?

Based on our research, we found that 57 percent of holiday shoppers feel social media ads help them source new gift ideas, and 48 percent are considering purchasing from an ad on social media this year. What’s even more interesting is that of those who plan to purchase, 40 percent said they are likely to spend at least $50. Simply put, half of your target audience is open to buying an item they see in a social media ad. So, if you’re not leveraging paid campaigns on networks like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, you could be leaving a sizeable amount of revenue on the table.

All I Want for Christmas Is Creativity

The opportunity is ripe for marketers to take advantage of, but what makes an ad engaging in the mind of a consumer? What spurs them to click through and make a purchase? According to our findings, 35 percent of consumers indicated that an ad with compelling or engaging video, animation or imagery was the top factor influencing their decision to buy a product they see in a social media ad. 

Marketers hoping for high conversion rates in Q4 should take this to heart and ensure their ads blend seamlessly into the user experience. Those brands who can design their ads to be as unobtrusive to the consumer as possible, and to conform to the native content each placement has, will likely find themselves celebrating in the new year. 


Making Consumers’ “Nice List”

However, nobody wants to be stalked across the webisphere by ads using every format and network possible to get their attention. It’s important for marketers to consider where consumers are most open to encountering holiday ads - and steer their sleighs clear of ad fatigue by targeting them on those networks above all others. 

Our findings show that 61 percent expect Facebook and Instagram to show the most relevant ads, and another 57 percent expect those ads to be higher quality than any other network. Notably, shoppers hold Pinterest in high regard as well, with nine percent expecting that platform to display the best holiday ads. Since consumers feel strongly about high-quality creative, it’s not surprising that they are most likely to convert when shown ads on social networks that prioritize visual storytelling. Brands who understand the role creative plays in the ad process are likely to see many happy returns this holiday season.

Regardless of whether they have converted from social media ads in the past, 2019 is the tipping point year where those consumers are ready to buy. Marketers just need to understand how they can enable them to do so.


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Robert Rothschild

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