How retailers can guarantee success this festive season

Whether it’s Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot, or John Lewis’ The Bear and The Hare, Christmas adverts are often the ones that stick in our minds as consumers, with an influence that lingers long after the trees have been taken down and the turkey sandwiches devoured. For retailers, the festive period offers a lucrative opportunity for sales, which is why the Christmas ad can make or break festive success.

 This is not without justification. Our own research, carried out with The Harris Poll, has shown that two thirds (65%) of Christmas shoppers have had an idea for a gift after seeing an advert, and 35% have purchased a gift after seeing an ad. The study found that shoppers are set to spend an average of £485 this Christmas season, with 21% saying they will rely on adverts to inform them of offers and products. 

 No wonder then, that with the cold nights kicking in, it’s not just consumers preparing to spend big. With the right investment, retailers, too, have a unique opportunity to get ahead of the competition and put their brand in the limelight. But how can retailers factor in the changing landscape to get the best bang for their buck in their Christmas ads?

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Find the right screen at the right time

 Although retailers are continuing to invest heavily in Christmas advertising, many aren’t aware that the way in which consumers engage with the media channels where they see those ads is transforming. For example, our research shows that 27% of UK Christmas shoppers don’t watch any live TV, and their attention is moving to streaming, with 60% now subscribing to to at least one streaming service. 

The best advert in the world is useless if its target audience don’t see it, and these findings are further proof of the challenge retail brands face in finding the right screen at the right time for their content. Smart retailers should explore a mix of media channels for their advertising and increase their investment in digital platforms to make sure their campaigns resonate with their audience and have maximum impact.

Take advantage of streaming wars

 With the likes of Netflix, Britbox, Apple TV+ and their ilk, barely a day goes past without the streaming wars hitting the headlines. As these broadcasters fight to undercut their competitors through cheaper subscriptions, our research shows advertising is looking increasingly attractive as an alternative source of revenue for streaming providers.

 As streaming providers experiment with and introduce ad supported subscription services to remain competitive and grow their audiences, this presents a huge, new opportunity for retailers to reach consumers

where they spend increasingly more time. The average millennial for example spends 77% more time streaming than they do watching live TV. Beyond this, the data available through streaming channels provides ample basis to ensure advertising is highly targeted – translating to much more relevant ads, a better user experience, and ultimately much better success rates. For retailers looking to succeed this festive season, OTT

(over the top) advertising is certainly something they should be considering.

Go mobile – and go multi-channel

 Interestingly, our research also showed that half of all UK shoppers spend three hours or more per day on their mobile, with one in five millennials spending more than six hours on their device daily. Increasingly consumers watch their favourite shows on mobile devices, meaning ads must perform the same on mobile, desktop and tablet.

 Traditionally, mobile advertising has been more targeted at driving direct sales than TV advertising, with consumers more likely to click onto a link mid-advert. Indeed, our research showed that 54% of consumers state they have seen an ad while streaming TV and paused their program to learn more about the product or service being shown to them.

With a variety of different channels available to consumers, live TV offers a great opportunity for brand awareness, while mobile and OTT catch consumers in a more ‘invested’ frame of mind.By combining a mix of formats, retailers can get the best of both worlds and allow their content to have the maximum impact possible.

Wrap it up

 Ultimately, there is no one size fits all approach to an effective Christmas advertising campaign. But taking advantage of these changing trends in behaviour and embracing a range of channels and ad strategies can help to make sure festive campaigns are as effective as possible – delivering results for retailers and inspiration for shoppers. So keep your eyes on the prize, and give consumers what they really want this Christmas.

Gavin Stirrat, VP of partner services at OpenX

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