(Opinion & Insight)

Elizma Nolte, Head of Business Marketing, Africa at Facebook writes that South African brands that want to maximise conversion and brand building opportunities during the summer holidays and festive season should be looking at what the data tells them about how people are behaving and interacting online during key moments.

One of these key moments was Black Friday. Facebook data shows that Black Friday is South Africa’s busiest online shopping day of the year.

Key moments to consider in your festive campaign planning
By Elizma Nolte, Head of Business Marketing, Africa at Facebook

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South African brands that want to maximise conversion and brand building opportunities during the summer holidays and festive season should be looking at what the data tells them about how people are behaving and interacting online during key moments.

Friday 25 November was Black Friday. Traditionally the day following Thanksgiving. This US-inspired sales event is generally regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping season and often associated with stampedes and product shortages as consumers rush to take advantage of special offers.

This day is so profitable for retailers, that it’s been adopted by other parts of the world where Thanksgiving does not even exist. And, the offers are being run earlier, and across a longer period of time. South Africa, too, is starting to follow the madness. As elsewhere, it’s predominantly driven by tech and e-commerce players, the likes of Makro and Game, Spree and Takealot.

Facebook shopping data backs up the finding that Black Friday is becoming a South African trend, and like in the rest of the world, it’s starting earlier, and running for longer.  In fact, Facebook’s data* about how South Africans shop and share during the season offer some key insights that may challenge many long-held media assumptions about how brands should be investing their seasonal budget.

Here are some key trends we are seeing, that will help marketers make their brands count at the moments when consumers make key decisions:

The early shopping moment: Savvy shoppers research on mobile

TV schedules often dictate the start of Christmas, but many shoppers begin well in advance of seasonal brand launches. That’s why it’s wise to get to market early to target relevant people at the moments decisions are being made. And many of these decisions are being made on mobile.  Some 61% of South Africans say they will use a tablet to make purchases in the future and 58% say they will use a smartphone. As people spend more time on mobile – especially in apps – it is becoming a vital source of discovery that can fuel upper-funnel brand metrics like awareness, intent and consideration.

In some markets, Facebook accounts for 1 in every 4 minutes spent on mobile. That means social media is becoming a hugely influential channel in its own right when it comes to shopping inspiration on mobile.          

Black Friday: It is bigger in SA than you may think

Black Friday is an emerging moment for South African shoppers – especially younger women. Our data shows that Black Friday is South Africa’s busiest online shopping day of the year, presenting an excellent opportunity to drive conversions.

·         72% of Black Friday conversions are from women

·         67% of female conversions are from women aged 25-44

·         5.4 more desktop than mobile conversions on Black Friday

The Christmas moment: Don’t abandon the market over the holidays

More than 7,6 million South African visit Facebook every day on mobile. They are especially busy over Summer and over Christmas, when they upload 5 million pieces of content a day—24% more than any other time of the year.

Each of these actions represents an opportunity for brands to influence people at the point of discovery and decision-making. Where most brands cut their spending over the festive season, it pays to remember that people are online and on their mobile devices, even when you’re out of the office for the holidays.

·         95% of photos uploaded to Facebook during Christmas are shared via mobile

·         83% of videos uploaded to Facebook during Christmas are shared via mobile

The January opportunity: Beat the back to school blues

Many brands go into hibernation during January. But, the month is actually a great time to engage via Facebook with men and women aged 45-64, whose seasonal activity peaks at this time of the year. Many shoppers are looking for bargains at the start of the new year—especially in today’s tight economy—and CPM costs for Facebook advertising are lower than any other time of the year. It’s a great opportunity to stay close to your customers.

·         January is bigger than Black Friday for 45-64 year-olds

·         68% of conversions are from females

Tips to maximise the impact of your seasonal ad spend

·         Reinforce impact across screens: Multiscreening makes it important for marketers to understand how best to coordinate their messaging
          across channels. By running a Facebook ad then a TV ad, marketers can help increase the impact of their campaign across screens.

·         Preview TV campaigns on Facebook: One of the tactics that pays off for advertisers is launching or previewing new campaigns on Facebook
          before other channels, with a subsequent increase in the number of people sharing the content. When these ads are optimised for the
          News Feed (rather than being TV commercials run on Facebook) the effect is even more pronounced.

·         Design with the screen in mind: When designing video creative, marketers should be mindful of where that creative will be viewed. Develop
          creative for mobile that maintains the essence of an original TV ad by using short clips or imagery from the key brand moments of a TV
          ad—this could also help prime people for the full TV ad. If the TV ad features related vignettes, marketers could use each vignette as a
          separate digital asset.

* All conversion data is tracked by SDK and FB Pixel. Not necessarily definitive for entire market