Holiday retail sales this year are forecasted to increase between 3.8% and 4.2% from 2018, according to the National Retail Federation. With that in mind, retail marketers aim to be everywhere consumers are during the holiday season, beginning with TV.
With so much on the line during the holiday season – Adobe Analytics estimated 2019 Cyber Monday sales increased almost 17% over last year for a total of a total of $9.2 billion – retail marketers are taking a more data-driven approach to TV, creating sequenced campaigns that move customers through their purchase journeys and boost sales during a key period for retailers’ businesses.
The key challenge this year (and likely the key challenge next year) will be reaching fragmented viewership. In order to meet potential customers with a relevant message everywhere this holiday season, marketers have to start with an understanding of viewers.
The evolution of TV viewership
There are many types of TV viewers today – advanced cord cutters only watch on-demand TV; some viewers still like to tune into linear TV for a set amount of time; and transitional viewers, those who fall somewhere in the middle, sometimes watching live TV, and sometimes watch on-demand.
During the holidays this year, marketers have had to orchestrate unified campaigns around constantly changing consumer behavior. The “holy grail” of digital and TV is leveraging the data and insights from one channel and bridging it to another channel for continued success. The opportunity for bridging digital and TV is rich., but unfortunately, data silos are all too common, and strategies for TV and digital remain squarely separate.
Through audience-based buying technology, retail marketers can bridge the gap for cross-screen success. For instance, when consumers engage with social media, they invariably reveal things about themselves of interest to marketers. Engaging with certain hashtags on social media shows affinity for a product or activity. For instance, engagement with #DogsofInstagram reveals that the user has a dog or is interested in dogs, while tagging posts with #FitnessMotivation or #Keto shows an interest in exercise and health. Marketers can sequence messages and control frequency through data-driven TV, keeping their brand top-of-mind with prospective customers and further spreading its message during the holiday season.
Addressable TV advertising can be used as an extension to digital by applying data to TV. A retail marketer can place a pixel on their website to track exposed TV households that visit their sites. Afterward, they can target those visitors on TV again to reach them with a message specific to whatever stage of the customer journey they’re in. Putting all the data together, a marketer can get a much better idea of a consumer’s wants and interests than they would otherwise.
Use TV to spark an omnichannel experience
Retail marketers today know that seamless customer experiences, from online shopping to in-store pickup, are critical to driving sales during the holiday season. The in-store experience is a still a significant differentiator – consulting firm A.T. Kearney found that 81% of Gen Z shoppers in the U.S. said they liked to transact in-store, and three out of four said they appreciated a “well-curated store experience focused on a limited number of products.”
TV, with its ability to reach customers at scale with relevant messages, is still the most successful medium at reaching a wide swath of audiences with a message and driving results. Linear TV can drive awareness of a promotion or particular items offered on Black Friday, for instance. Through data-driven TV, retail marketers can reach households during the consideration phase of their journey, such as customers who previously bought a competitor’s products or who lapsed in purchasing and could be influenced to buy again.
Addressable TV can be used to target viewers with relevant messages at the household level. What’s more, campaigns return a wealth of insights to retail marketers post-campaign, including incremental impact of addressable TV against a brand’s KPI, such as return on advertising spend (ROAS), lift in penetration, share shift and foot traffic to store locations.
An orchestrated approach to holiday retail marketing is critical this year and will be for years to come. Retail marketers today understand customers are shopping on devices and in brick-and-mortar shops, and they’re consuming content in a variety of ways.
In the past, retail marketers could reach the 25-54 demo through a few major TV networks. But with the proliferation of OTT, TVE, AVOD and more services, it simply doesn’t work anymore. By some counts, consumers subscribe to four services to get the same content that used to be on one platform. The average consumer subscribes to three streaming services, according to Deloitte research, and with Disney+ and Apple TV Plus gaining steam and others launching in 2020, it’s not going to get easier to reach unified audiences anytime soon.
TV viewers today watch more premium content across more channels and devices than ever before. A holistic approach to retail marketing during the holidays spans the full customer journey, from awareness to action.
For more on retail marketing campaigns, get in touch with us.