As the 2021 holiday season approaches, we’ll see an overload of consumers on social media, many expecting a seamless shopping experience from their favorite brands. What’s the most pressing question for marketers? Where will this year’s holiday shoppers be? And what is most important to them? We’ve just conducted a survey highlighting consumers’ plans and preferences for this holiday shopping season, including how social media ads impact their decision-making.
According to our latest data, 52% of consumers find gift inspiration from social media ads. Additionally, U.S. consumers’ mindsets this holiday season show growing interest in purchases on social media, personalized content, and flexible options. If you’re a marketer in need of holiday consumer insights to inform your ad strategies – you’ve come to the right place!
Well, what exactly are they buying?
Even though the pandemic continues to persist, vaccinations have allowed most of the world to remain open (with varying levels of restrictions). Shoppers have taken note of this ability to remain active outside of their homes, with 48% of our survey respondents confirming they are planning to gift ‘experiences’ – from concert tickets to spa days to cooking classes this holiday season.
We’re also seeing a surge in home goods. Specifically, 47% of consumers indicated they plan to shop for home goods as part of their gift purchases this year. Global shutdowns in 2020 spurred many consumers to start DIY and home improvement projects, and the consumer interest seems to remain. Other popular holiday gift categories include apparel & accessories (62%) and electronics (51%).
What’s more, is that consumers are looking to specific social media platforms to find holiday gifts in these categories.
On which platforms?
Facebook is the most popular platform people consider purchasing holiday gifts from (52%). Our 2020 survey uncovered that 34% of U.S. consumers who have purchased holiday gifts from social ads, clicked an ad on Facebook, and 43% of U.S. consumers feel they are most likely to see relevant holiday ads on Facebook. Other platforms consumers say they would consider purchasing holiday gifts from this year include Instagram (37%) and YouTube (34%).
So, how do you get your social ads to lead to purchases?
While a variety of factors influence the decision to buy a product through social media ads, discounts, trustworthiness, and visual appeal are some of the more common things consumers look for. Here is a breakdown of the numbers:
- 44% are influenced to make a purchase from social media ads if the brand seems trustworthy and respects their data.
- 34% noted the ad needs to be eye-catching and visually appealing to prompt them to purchase.
- 32% of respondents marked relevant and personalized ads as an additional influencing factor.
Consumers also want personalization, and as many options as possible. To really tip a consumer over the edge to make a purchase via social ads, it comes down to giving them what they want, as well as the flexibility of having multiple options. When it comes to flexibility – more is always better. Spending extra time and ad dollars on flexible options for your customers, especially this holiday season, should be top-of-mind.
70% of our survey respondents said they would be more inclined to make a holiday gift purchase via a social media ad if the ad showcases products that are in stock at their local stores – a massive indicator that personalization – and more specifically localization – speaks volumes to shoppers. Nearly half of respondents (47%) also said they would be more likely to purchase holiday gifts if they were offered “buy now, pay later” options in their social ads, while slightly more (52%) will be inclined to make a purchase when offered Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS), or “click to collect” options. Curbside pickup is also a popular motivator for buying holiday gifts directly from social media ads – in fact, 51% are influenced by this option.
The type of ad format you use matters. 39% of respondents said image and in-feed ads, rather than video or Story ads, are what they are most likely to purchase a holiday gift item from. Having said this, every consumer will react differently based on the brand and the creative they’re displaying. Meaning early testing is essential to really figure out what format of ad will work best for you and your audience.
Over the past year and a half, brands have had to twist and turn in response to changing consumer behaviors to meet their online shopping needs. As we head into another, dare we say it, unprecedented holiday season, retailers must continue this adaptability and seek to understand shoppers’ behaviors and preferences.
From our latest survey, we’re seeing a greater opportunity for consumers to discover, and even purchase, products and services from their social media feeds. To capitalize on this environment and differentiate, brands should look to create winning campaigns that prioritize creative ad strategies across social platforms. Learn more about this latest research from Smartly.io, and how brands can capitalize on their social advertising strategies this holiday season today!