What brands and consumers can expect for Christmas 2020

With the Christmas countdown starting as early as July 2020, how is your brand getting ready for the year’s most important shopping season during these Covid-times?

Have you been exposed to Christmas ads as early as August 2020? Was your reaction a mix of astonishment and uncertainty? Probably the last thing you’d expect in an already very unusual year.

Yes, because 2020 will be surely remembered as the year where the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the world as we know it. People are living differently, buying differently and, in many ways, thinking differently. Is Covid-19 going to affect Christmas 2020 too?

Consumers starting 2020 Christmas shopping earlier than usual

According to a research by financial comparison experts at money.co.uk, August 1st was officially identified as the best day for Brits to start shopping for Christmas 2020 and bag the biggest discounts.

John Lewis opened its Christmas shop earlier than ever after it found that searches for festive products had nearly quadrupled compared with last year (Guardian, 24 August 2020).

In US Burger King ran a multichannel campaign to celebrate Christmas in July 2020. Image Source: marketingdive.com. Courtesy of Burger King

Brands have started launching their Christmas advertising campaigns earlier than ever, and this is happening not only in the UK and not just online. In the US, Popeyes has already started the 2021 New Year countdown in Times Square, 135 days early. Burger King ran a multichannel campaign to celebrate “Christmas in July (2020)” aiming to bring goodwill and cheer to consumers during a difficult year.

What Brands can expect for Christmas 2020

According to a report by Pinterest, Earlier than Ever: Holiday 2020, “historically, people on Pinterest start making holiday plans in September. This year, they started searching and saving for the holidays … in April.” The report suggests families, in particular, are focused on making this year’s holiday period feel special by making it feel as normal as possible but better and on a budget.

In facts, a research from Rakuten revealed that the top priority in 2020 is to celebrate in the most cost efficient way possible. Consequently, more than a quarter (27%) of UK consumers are to start Christmas shopping and prepare for the 2020 holiday earlier than usual.

The same trends are confirmed by a recently released Ebay’s Christmas Spend Trends report. The survey, based on a sample of over 2,000 adults in the UK who celebrate Christmas, found out that almost half of consumers plan to do more of their Christmas shopping online than they have done previously, with a third expecting to do all their Christmas shopping online this year.

Consumers are more likely to conduct their peak Christmas shopping via online channels

Surge in demand prompted John Lewis to start online sales 10 days earlier than 2019. Image Source: John Lewis Christmas

What Consumers expect from Brands this Christmas

In touch with reality. Informative. Inspirational. This is what consumers want from brands this Christmas, according to the Ebay’s Christmas Spend Trends report.

A survey by OnePoll and production company Truman Films, found that one-third of consumers said they would feel less positive about a brand that spends a lot of money on Christmas TV ads considering the impact of the pandemic.

Asked about the style of advertising they would like to see, respondents of the OnePoll survey signalled a preference for real stories and a move away from scripted, fictional characters. Just 8% of people thought brands should cast actors over people telling their own stories.

How to plan marketing and advertising this Christmas

At this stage, it is impossible to predict what will happen and what our new normal will be. One thing is for sure: gone are the days when companies and brands were able to plan their marketing strategies months in advance. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, to adopt a strategy that has within it the potential of adapting rapidly to changing messages that reflect the rapid change of the unpredictable times we are living in.

What messages brands need to be sending outs

There are two important messages that we, as a company assisting in the distribution of brand messages, believe that brands need to be sending out right now:

  1. Reassurance: brands need to let their consumers and audience know that they aren’t just still up and running but that they are, even more so than before, here for the long haul. Brands need to show that they are still able to provide the products, services and offers as they have done before…even in a situation of drastic change as with Covid
  2. Innovation: ensuring that how the company is adapting to the current change is being made known to people as this is a demonstration of flexibility and strength at a time when many of our certainties are crumbling.

3 practical ideas to connect with consumers this Christmas

If you are a marketer or a founder working on strategies for the important Christmas period, these are some simple ideas that we at Vertis Media have put together to pivot and prepare your business for the Christmas shopping season.

  1. Create Authentic & Real Content. Respond to customer needs by creating and re-purposing authentic and real content. Reach your consumers with relevant, engaging and timely content and ads on the platforms that most align with your brand values.
  2. Use native advertising effectively. Native ads are informational rather than promotional by nature and may be crucial for your storytelling and for building inspirational and effective Christmas 2020 ads. Native advertising is very versatile allowing brands to rapidly change and adapt overtime to match what consumers require in specific moments and by giving the ability to transform existing assets into thousands of unique ads.
  3. Be flexible. Given the historical moment we are currently experiencing, flexibility is everything. Be ready to adapt extremely quickly in order to react to the changes that are occurring, sometimes on a daily basis.

Should I do paid advertising on Facebook?

Did you think Facebook was big? Well, think again…Facebook is humungous! Not only is it the biggest social network out there, but it’s also one of the largest and results-oriented online advertising platforms that exist in the entire world.

How to run a successful Facebook paid ads

This fact actually blew my mind considering its beginnings as a uni intranet system and it shows how far we’ve come.
What shouldn’t come as a surprise however is that Facebook, with a user base of approximately 2 billion, has the potential to help you nail down the majority of your target audience. I.e. People who are actually interested in doing business with you.

All this sounds great, right? But in order to get the kind of positive results you want, you need to know what goes into running successful Facebook paid ads. Because if you get that right then it gets a whole lot easier to get a high return on your initial investment.
Don’t be discouraged by the process if you’ve never worked with Facebook paid ads before it can feel really frustrating. This is your money you are investing and it is real so the last thing you want is to waste your budget, here are some ideas to avoid just that.

Choose your market goal objective i.e.

  • More sales for your latest product?
  • Are there any quality leads that you can nurture?
  • Can you improve brand awareness?
  • Can a company blog increase your traffic?

No matter what your ultimate objective is, the Facebook paid ads you create and the campaigns you run must be aligned with it — right from the start. This helps you achieve two things:

  1. You will be able to design more relevant and click-worthy ads that your audience can connect with.
  2. You will be able to choose the best and the most relevant campaign objective (e.g. Local Awareness, Conversions, etc.)

Remember, choosing the right objective is integral for your campaign, not only because it’ll stop you from losing your advertising dollars but also because it’ll set you up for better Facebook paid ads campaigns in the future.

Target properly…Don’t waste your money!

SIZE ISN’T EVERYTHING… I guess you’ve heard that before? This is also true of Facebook’s user base! And especially so when it comes to choosing your audience.

Please avoid targeting anybody and everybody with your ads… Quality over quantity and so on and so forth! Doing so may let you generate a lot of engagement and a whole bunch of paid clicks. But what’s the actual point if the people seeing your ad if they aren’t actually interested in what you have to offer? Even if they engage and click, they won’t convert because they cannot benefit from your service or product.
So, don’t waste your money.

What size is your perfect size?

Some useful questions:
How large is the group of people that will be interested in your product or service?
Is it bigger or smaller than you thought?

In order to experience a strong return on investment, try to achieve a balance between the following:

  • Quality of your audience
  • Size of your audience
  • The price you’re paying to reach out

It’s all about the images

Facebook ads are all about the visuals. This means that if users stop scrolling and look at your ad, they will focused on how interesting the image is to them.
The challenge is to match the visuals or creatives used to fit the target audiences’ taste. If you snooze you lose (their attention) and their precious clicks.

Mad//Fest 2019 wrapped up

A huge thank you to our friends at MAD/ Fest for curating such a powerful and future-focused event last week. The Vertis team was delighted to sponsor the two-day conference that brought together the brands and people leading change across marketing, advertising and tech. From mega global brands like Google, Snapchat and TikTok through to fresher-faced startups, like, well, us, we came together to meet and learn in a hub of innovation, creativity and culture.

Brand clarity and purpose

Highlights include Dishoom’s Thamil Thakrar share how this deeply authentic group has imbued culture, story and experience into its brand to truly disrupt its category – on their terms, to deliver a customer experience that’s big-hearted and first class.
Elsewhere Skyscanner’s Jo McClintock took a full-house through the growth brand’s marketing transformation, rooted in values – for them, everything starts with the traveller – data and an attitude of courage.

CMO Katie Evans shared Burger King’s journey to re-invent itself as a legacy brand, and its integrated strategy to create Whopper Day resulting an instant 30% surge for the brand.
The common thread running through these brand strategies is having foundational values and purpose at your core.

Key adtech trends for 2020

Laura caught up with MAD//Fest’s content team to share her thoughts on 2020’s key adtech trends too. Here’s what she predicts:

  • With 80% of internet traffic being video by 2020, marketers will need to ensure their content creates cut-through. Using the latest video formats across your marketing funnel is how your brand will stay competitive.
  • Producing innovative, memorable content with storytelling at its centre will create the opportunity for brands to connect with their customers on a more emotional level – essential for the purpose-led consumer.
  • We’re seeing a rise in long-form video content. Already brands such as Patagonia are going beyond “snackable” content, to create longer-form (beyond 3 minutes) content that is engaging, culturally relevant and inspires stronger brand loyalty.

Putting human back in brands

MAD//Fest was the opportunity for our team to forge new relationships, explore partnerships and meet our peers in person as well as stay ahead of the adtech trends defining 2020. A great reminder of the power of real connection.
If you’d like to discuss where contextual and native advertising fits in your 2020 plan, get in touch.

What is the brutal truth about advertising?

Native knows what I need before I do…

The brutal truth about advertising

It is an important time for advertising: never has it been accessible to so many people.
There has never been less control over what is distributed generally. To think back at a time when a publisher decided whether to accept all of someone’s budget based on whether their readers were actually engaging with their print ad is ridiculous… But that is exactly how things work today digitally. With the enforcement of GDPR legislation, advertisers have even less control.

A lot of the consumers are now more vocal than ever about not wanting to be exposed to marketing. Ads are being ignored. The first banner ad came out 25 years ago which in internet years is around 100 years for every human year (!). Perhaps what was at one time disinterest has quickly turned into displeasure and to be honest most advertising is just making it worse!

Native advertising presents the consumer with an alternative that is creative, non intrusive and that actually makes sense to their journeys as customers.

I heard someone say the other day, ”Sometimes, I don’t even know what it is I need but I log on to my instagram account or read an article and the “right” ads come up with things that I wanted to get anyway!”.

This is because native ads respect peoples’ boundaries and look nice… This may seem like a strange thing to say but it is also equally as important for the ads not to give you a sore eye!

Win a £3000 worth Golden Ticket for MAD//Fest London 2019 with Vertis Media

Vertis Media is hosting a Golden Ticket give-away for MAD//Fest London 2019, the most exciting adtech, martech & tech disruption festival in the world.

MAD//Fest opens its doors on the 13th November for two days of inspiring content with the biggest brands and break-out start-ups. If you’re a marketer, advertiser or disrupter, join us to meet, learn and seek out new ideas, connections and partnerships.

VertisMedia, the European adtech startup are proud sponsors of MAD//Fest, committed to promoting diversity and opportunities for people from all backgrounds to enter the media industry and switch brands, agencies, publishers and tech firms.

The festival line-up includes some of the most influential senior marketers in the UK and:

  • 2,000 + brands
  • 150 + speakers from the world’s top brands, agencies + platforms
  • Pub of the future, interactive cocktail bar + MAD//Senses Room
  • 100 exhibitors across three curated halls.
  • Lots + lots of networking, drinks, parties + unconventional fun in an old East End brewery.

Register here for a chance to join the people carving out the future of marketing, advertising and technology.

The winner will be announced on 08/11/2019.

What is digital display marketing?

Display advertising is a type of advertising that uses text, animations, photos or videos to target users with a commercial message.

digital display marketing

There are 3 main types of display advertising campaigns:

  1. Retargeting
  2. Acquisition
  3. Brand awareness

Retargeting, also known as behavioural marketing relies on custom segmentations in order to deliver relevant ads to your audiences.

Acquisition ad campaigns can be very expensive and not give great results: a lot of banner ads are competing for the same space with highly retargeted ads that have a stronger chance of converting.

Brand awareness focuses on reach as opposed to direct conversions. The aim here is to reach as many people as possible and make sure they get interested in the brand/product advertised. These campaigns need to run for longer if they are going to be effective

Does advertising on social media work?

Advertising on social media appears to offer more control over what is said about a brand but is actually giving less power over content positioning.

Facebook is leading the way when it comes to paid social media at approximately 2.23 billion monthly active users (source: 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report : Social Media Examiner). Since Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s shift from branded content prioritizing user’s posts, marketers are in agreement that their reach has dropped noticeably. People are now also willing to invest in other platforms, such as Instagram the second most used social media platform, to see what works in terms of engagement.

Advertising in social media

Paid social is continuing to grow on all platforms. As more marketers realize the importance of meeting customers where they are, they’ll turn to smaller platforms to reach those core audiences.

The shifting dynamics of social media marketing makes it especially challenging to understand which steps to take towards success, but the elevated number of users and levels of activity make it one that cannot be ignored.

It’s undeniable that paid advertising on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram can be effective as part of a wider media campaign. But if what you are aiming for is to actually get results in how a brand is perceived, what you need is a native campaign strategy. With banner blindness on the up the move to a type of advertising that is able to tell a larger story which features a brand contextually is the way forward. In fact, advertising on social media appears to offer more control over what is said about a brand but is actually giving less power over content positioning. When and where an advert appears is just as important as what appears.

If the only time your advert comes up is on social media then your targeted user’s mindset is probably not tuned in to what your goals are at those moments in time. The reason they are on social media is probably to check out what their friends are doing or look at cute dog pics. If, on the other hand, they are online already engaging in content that has links and shares relevance with your brand then it will be more effective because they will be of more interest at that moment in time- they will have the right mindset to embrace and welcome the information you are providing.
See how Vertis Media can help with your campaigns.

Programmatic and native: a match made in heaven?

Combining programmatic with native advertising will help to create the perfect combination that will ensure a rise in sales for your business.

What is Programmatic advertising?

It is an automated process that involves an auction, where the winner is the one willing to bid the most on a web page. The top price each advertising company is willing to bid for the impression is fixed which means that these mini auctions are be completed within the time it takes for a page to load.

What is Programmatic advertising4

Programmatic advertising allows you to target the right audience– the once actually interested and more likely to have an interest in your brand.

Vertis Media combines programmatic with native advertising creating that perfect combination that will ensure a rise in sales for your business.

This report shows that native advertising, with its tailor made created format, will be responsible for 63.2 % of all mobile display advertising by 2020. The combination to programmatic means we can gear audiences to your brand message in a way that is guaranteed to generate the results you need to hit your targets.

Native and programmatic together lead to ads are delivered contextually to consumers who are most likely to be interested in what you are promoting, which for your company means a more efficient use of your advertising budget. It is a match made in heaven: the native side ensuring that the information you are transmitting adapts to the look&feel of where it is positioned and the programmatic side, able to extend your reach to the right audience.

Programmatic marketing is seen as the future of advertising on the web, with Google targeting 60% of digital advertising budgets spent on Programmatic by next year. According to these stats, programmatic will see a constant and steady rise over the next few years and to take this a step further this other report predicts that by the end of 2019 it will be 50% of all advertising.

Programmatic and native have partnered us in order to involve individuals in advertising campaigns in both a more relevant and respectful way, ensuring that the information they see is engaging as it is pertinent to their existing horizon.

The real value of viewability and the power of creative execution and contextual relevance

It doesn’t matter how much a brand spends on viewable advertising, if ads are bland and uninspiring they won’t drive the required business outcome

Viewability metrics are usually made up of two parts – percentage of pixels in view and time in view – definitions of viewable impressions vary greatly. Continue reading “The real value of viewability and the power of creative execution and contextual relevance”

Vertis Media joins the 2019 London & Partners Business Growth Programme

Vertis Media will be representing London B2B sector at the London Business Growth Programme Winter Cohort 2019.

Vertis Media, an already successful brand in Italy and Spain, has decided to grow in one of the most exciting and competitive cities in the world when it comes to start-ups and entrepreneurial talent: London. Continue reading “Vertis Media joins the 2019 London & Partners Business Growth Programme”