Few meals incite as much preparation and shopping as a Thanksgiving feast. Home cooks are turning to online sources to find recipes and cooking tips, and they start researching Thanksgiving meals as early as two months in advance to create the perfect spread. Brands that want a starring role in this year’s holiday celebrations should be present online when and where consumers search for cooking inspiration.
During Thanksgiving week, recipe searches are twice as high as the average week. Most marketers focus campaigns on the weeks leading up to the holiday, but online searches for cooking-related content reach a peak on Thanksgiving Day. Brand marketers that want to surpass the competition should take advantage of this predictable traffic spike to influence consumers in the moment. After all, connected cooks love to have mobile devices on hand to look up their bookmarked recipes and tips while preparing holiday dishes.
In 2013, about 44 percent of Thanksgiving recipe searches happened on mobile devices, and this traffic increased by more than 20 percent the following year. So what type of recipes are most popular among connected cooks? People tend to stick to what they know when it comes to turkey, making them more likely to search for tasty side dishes and desserts. On an annual basis, dessert-related searches have increased three times faster than that of turkey recipes. However, searches about Thanksgiving leftovers are popular immediately after the holiday, and turkey plays a prominent role at this stage.
When planning online campaigns, brand marketers should produce cook-friendly videos and make sure all content is easily searchable. Because cooks are increasingly using mobile devices in a food-filled environment, they frequently perform simple voice searches for hands-free navigation. Millennial cooks especially prefer videos over written content, so they can see and hear instructions while busy in the kitchen. Subscriptions to online food channels have soared in recent years, making video-hosting sites or branded video portals the best places to engage with consumers on Thanksgiving.
With Thanksgiving being a time of family and tradition, marketers should aim to tie in brands with emotional and celebratory experiences. Although many cooks are looking for creative twists on classic side dishes, their Thanksgiving menus are heavily influenced by their families, childhoods and hometowns. Consider the example of spice brand McCormick, which successfully used a lookbook content series that provided compelling background material for each recipe with personal stories and memories.
Geographic location is another key factor, especially when it comes to food preparation. Classic roasting is the most popular turkey preparation method in the Northeast, while Southerners tend to pull out the deep fryer. Smoking is common in Midwest states, and brining is gaining ground in the Northwest. Brands that take note of these regional variations have the best chance of creating content that feels personal and relevant to home cooks.
For successful Thanksgiving promotions, smart brands should reflect upon the type of foods consumers are most likely to prepare and interesting ways they can incorporate new ingredients and flavors, such as seasoning blends and brines. Also, think beyond food prep, and produce content relating to other aspects of the meal, such as elegant plating and the best cooking techniques.
Marketers should plan content for every stage of the search cycle, making sure to ramp up advertising on Thanksgiving Day when more cooks are connected online and fewer competitors are active. Before planning your Thanksgiving campaigns, contact the LA Times for tips on reaching consumers through digital and print strategies.
In a tense political season, voters are continually looking for confirmation that their candidate of choice has a stronger value proposition than the competitors. Although traditional media, such as TV and newspaper ads, are critical to the election cycle, voters often believe these sources provide limited information about a candidate’s stance on specific issues and policies. Today’s tech-savvy voters are actively researching candidates online to gain a more complete picture of the facts, and marketers who embrace digital media may win a key advantage in future election cycles.
TV and Digital Media Both Influence Ballots
Voter behavior has drastically changed in recent election cycles, but marketers can easily overlook the trend by heavily focusing on the starting and ending points of a voter’s decision. During the 2016 election season, the Video Advertising Bureau reported that TV had the greatest impact on ballots, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or party affiliation. In the self-reported study, 80 percent of voters agreed that political ads were most likely to get their attention, compared to 53 percent for Internet ads and 11 percent for email ads. However, 44 percent of voters also said they searched online after viewing political ads on TV.
Research shows that consumers spend nearly two hours online for each hour spent viewing TV, and voters perform roughly 60 percent of election-related searches on mobile devices. A 20- to 60-second TV ad doesn’t directly motivate a voting decision, but it does inspire voters to look for answers to their most pressing questions. With mobile technology readily available, consumers turn to smartphones and tablets to learn about candidates and interact with party affiliates in real time. For marketers, this engagement creates a wide variety of touchpoints to connect with voters and even sway their opinions.
Voters Value Multichannel Campaign Marketing
Political TV ads tend to have a negative spin, driving voters to seek less biased information from a wide variety of sources. Consumers are accustomed to interacting with online communities and piecing together disparate views to understand the pros and cons of an argument, so they rely on a diverse mix of news site, candidate and party sites, social media sites, video-streaming sites and forums. Because these searches are self-guided and driven by personal interest, voters are receptive to longer content and stay on the website as long as it delivers relevant information.
While long-form content is more persuasive, marketers still need strong hooks to capture attention in the first few seconds and give voters a reason to care about a candidate’s message. To connect with voters, marketers must pay attention to key topics that drive search behavior and recommend follow-up content based on individual interests and video engagement. Consider the example of President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 election campaigns, which leveraged direct email and data analytics to target untapped audiences with tailored messages at every stage of the election season. Presenting the right content at the right time convinces voters that marketers understand their priorities and can be trusted to provide on-target information in the future.
Consumers Trust Companies That Make an Impact
Both brand and campaign marketers can benefit from creating narratives that build the audience’s investment in an issue, whether it’s environmental sustainability, ethical business practices or social equality. Consumers don’t expect corporations to take a staunch political stance, but they do develop loyalty and favorability toward companies that support social change. Campaign seasons provide countless opportunities to market product tie-ins that encourage activism, awareness, philanthropy and even good-natured competition.
The majority of voters have strong views at the start of election season, and they gravitate toward brands and candidates that cater to their interests. Marketers with in-depth knowledge of their audiences can predict where and when voters will look for specific types of content, providing a framework for online marketing strategies. If you need guidance planning a multimedia marketing campaign to coincide with upcoming events, contact the LA Times today.
The equalizing effect of digital media has maximized brand competition, making it possible for businesses of all sizes to gain visibility with global consumers. For both B2C and B2B audiences, video marketing is key for connecting with customers and encouraging them to learn more about a brand. Not only is video easy to share with consumers around the world, but it also allows marketers to convey brand stories in short, engaging morsels that keep customers thinking about and interacting with a brand as they move toward a purchase. Find out what key trends in video marketing will distinguish successful brands in the new year.
Diversified Content and Sales Efficiency
In the past, many marketers dismissed the value of video content if a brand or product didn’t have obvious virality or meme potential written all over it. In reality, video is just another way to tell a story, and that information doesn’t have to be presented as a traditional ad or pop-culture content. Cisco estimates that video content will make up 69 percent of Internet traffic by 2018. Transactions are increasingly happening online, making it essential for brands to provide mobile-optimized videos that answer consumer questions quickly and succinctly.
From testimonials and tutorials to webinars and product demos, videos can build brand awareness at every step of the consumer journey and shorten the sales funnel. Video delivers a compelling sensory experience, allowing brand marketers to highlight value propositions and familiar pain points without aggressively selling a product. The end result is that consumers feel empowered by what they learn and gain the confidence to finalize a purchase.
Interactive Storytelling for Personalized Marketing
Companies such as Vidyard are leading the movement to make videos less generic and more personalized, making viewers feel invested in the content right from the start. Personalization techniques are especially valuable for B2C applications, allowing marketers to weave a company’s name, website and other identifying information into product demos. While still in its fledgling stages, interactive and 360 video hold the promise of a choose-your-own-adventure experience in which consumers decide how to proceed through the content. In addition to boosting click-through rates, this self-guided model outlines each consumer’s interests and priorities, giving marketers precise data to tailor their content experience in the future.
Video Analytics for Targeted Marketing
More insight equals better strategy, and that’s why brand marketers are using video analytics to create results-driven content. Without analytics, the majority of consumer behavior while watching videos goes unseen, and brands cannot be sure whether the content is achieving its goal. Instead of hoping for the best when viewers click “play,” marketers can use data to determine how long viewers watch videos, what type of content generates the most interest, how often videos are shared and why viewers click away.
In one case, a marketing company discovered that opening videos with long vanity logos made viewers more likely to stop watching the content — an issue that could have gone undetected without analytics. In another instance, a company studied the order in which videos were viewed before a purchase. The most minute details, such as the design and sequence of a video, can influence viewing rates. In short, video analytics replace guesswork with hard facts and help marketers match the right content to different buyer profiles and stages of the sales funnel.
Branded Content Libraries for Self-Guided Engagement
With videos becoming a staple media, companies are recognizing a need for branded libraries. Rather than hosting all of their content on popular social media sites, many companies are providing content libraries on their own websites, making it easy for consumers to pick and choose the information they want to view. Branded libraries offer greater opportunities for marketers to collect consumer data and develop targeted playlists. Product demos, testimonials and video blogs are key examples of immersive content that can encourage customers to imagine how they can use and troubleshoot a product. By delivering answers in one place, branded libraries also keep consumers on the brand website longer, increasing the likelihood of a purchase.
The Rise of Dedicated Video Marketing Teams
Digital technology trends have a way of creating niche competencies, and video marketing is no different. Instead of using videos to rehash the same advertising messages over and over, smart companies are hiring production teams to create distinct brand stories that leverage the visual and interactive capabilities of video. As new interactive formats emerge, such as personalized, choice-driven and 360 video, marketers must find inventive ways to make consumers feel immersed in the product or brand experience. For guidance on targeting your audience through video marketing, contact the LA Times today.
Black Friday was once a strictly American holiday, a post-Thanksgiving blowout targeted at families hunting for the best deals before Christmas. In recent years, this shopping trend has reached British shores, expanding the target audience for ecommerce marketers who want to reach global shoppers during one of the biggest retail frenzies of the year.
In 2014, Black Friday became the top ecommerce shopping event in the United Kingdom, accounting for £810 million in online sales and 59 percent of online retail searches. The phenomenon is particularly significant because British shoppers have no cultural connection to Thanksgiving, the American holiday that officially launches the Christmas shopping season for U.S. consumers. This budding trend suggests that advertisers (both in the states and across the pond) can condition consumers to shop more during this busy season by creating an expectation of great deals and high-value products and services.
With the rising interest in Black Friday, brands should be prepared to ramp up online advertising as shoppers search for holiday deals using a variety of media. Unsurprisingly, mobile shopping is one of the fastest growing sources of revenue. During the UK’s 2014 Black Friday event, roughly 30 percent of revenue and 50 percent of online traffic came from mobile shoppers.
Home appliances, furniture and apparel were among the top search categories, suggesting that UK consumers are less concerned about holiday-themed purchases and more focused on using the heavy discounts to buy big-ticket household items. Not only does the UK market offer more opportunities for brands to engage, but it also enables a wider range of retailer to target shoppers who are thinking beyond the holiday mindset.
The most important key to success is launching Black Friday sales at the right time. Consumers typically start researching Black Friday sales up to three weeks in advance, and specific categories peak at different times of the shopping cycle. For example, clothing searches usually peak during the early hours of Black Friday, as apparel items are in high demand and availability can change rapidly. Consumers prefer to search for high-ticket, high-value items, such as jewelry, days in advance, ensuring they can find the best prices and stay up to date on availability leading up to the big day.
Ecommerce retailers who hope to cross over to a British audience should start marketing earlier than usual to generate buzz. While Black Friday is a much-anticipated tradition in America, it is still a new phenomenon for many UK shoppers. Online searches about the origins, definition and date of Black Friday trend heavily in the United Kingdom, offering a chance for marketers to divert attention to brand websites and catch attention with online ads by answering shoppers’ most pressing questions. When is Black Friday, and what great discounts await?
For tips on targeting our massive local and U.S. national audience with your Black Friday promotions, contact the LA Times today.
A brand is no longer a mere marketing image to sell a product. Millennial consumers are turned off by one-dimensional marketing messages, and they expect brands to be dynamic entities that have a voice, personality, purpose and social consciousness. Because online commerce has given customers unlimited places to shop, marketers have more chances to reach consumers through ads and more competition vying for attention. Staying up to date on the latest digital marketing trends can help brands develop smart strategies to win over online audiences.
In the past, marketers relied on many passive strategies (and guesswork) for measuring the value of ad campaigns. Today, data is king, and brands who pay attention to how customers engage with ads can increase their effectiveness at driving a purchase. With data analytics, marketers can determine the best layouts for websites and the best placement for online ads.
When it comes to content marketing, data can be precise enough to tell marketers the factors that kept viewers watching a video or reading a blog, the pages a reader viewed before clicking an ad, or the order in which website pages were viewed. Armed with data about consumer behavior, marketers can test every aspect of a website or ad to produce the most optimized and results-driven content.
Many companies are quick to claim millennials are not brand loyalty, when in reality, this convenience-oriented generation forms strong connections to brands that address their needs. When big brands ruled commerce, businesses had more power to decide what products and features were available to consumers. Now, online shoppers can tap into a global marketplace, and companies that want to survive must satisfy consumer demands.
The result is widespread customer centricity — products and services that offer customization and preference-based marketing. Consumers want personalized experiences based on their searches and buying histories, and they stick with brands that help them save time or money by using only the features they need.
The prevalence of digital technology has created more channels for completing transactions, increasing the number and variety of places where consumers can engage with ads. From social media platform and mobile sites to wearable gadgets and smartphone apps, purchases are happening beyond web storefronts. For brands, these diverse touchpoints make it easier to reach consumers earlier in the buying cycle to influence their decisions long before they make a purchase. For example, marketers can use ads to target search traffic when buyers are in the research and planning stages or publish mobile apps that let consumers search store inventories and buy what they need on the spot.
Integrated Content Strategy
When used in conjunction, data analytics and social media allow marketers to understand what consumers value and build brand favorability through repetitive engagement. Consumers are attracted to brands with a consistent message that aligns with their own priorities, especially if the brand provides valuable content without expecting anything in return. Blogs, tutorials, videos, apps, social media profiles and memes are just a sampling of the tools businesses can use to start a dialogue with consumers. Based on the product or service, marketers can develop a well-coordinated strategy to influence consumer opinions about a brand. As the brand builds trust and loyalty, shoppers increase the frequency and amount of their purchases.
App and Mobile Marketing
Consumers are increasingly gaining confidence in mobile commerce and making split-second purchasing decisions from smartphones and tablets. By creating mobile websites and apps with optimized layouts, businesses make it convenient and tempting for shoppers to handle purchases on the go. Whether they’re making travel plans, searching for the nearest pharmacy or picking up a last-minute dinner, consumers frequently make purchases in the moment as need arises.
Shoppers value apps that help them learn, find and do while providing a localized experience when they need to get products on short notice. Although app streaming is still in its experimental stages, the concept of surfing apps without the need for downloads will lead to a significant increase in traffic and visibility for online companies of all sizes. Ultimately, branded apps encourage customers to repeatedly use a company’s product and trust the brand to make valid recommendations, planting the seeds for higher ad engagement.
The diversification of online marketing is beneficial for brands that want to stand out in saturated industries. While it’s essential for all brands to approach consumers from multiple channels, not every marketing opportunity is right for every brand. For tips on launching an effective multimedia strategy for your business, contact the LA Times today.
Without a doubt, consumers are increasingly using mobile devices for everything from shopping to travel planning. Yet, the level and type of engagement varies for different products and services, and brands benefit from learning which mobile site and app features influence customer behavior. By collecting real-time data, brands can refine their marketing strategies to stay connected to shoppers through multiple stages of the consumer journey.
Site optimization is only possible when brands know why and how consumers use mobile apps. A recent study tracked how mobile users in the United Kingdom interact with apps in three different product categories: retail, finance and travel. The study showed that businesses can improve their sales funnels by promoting features that encourage shoppers to routinely use branded apps for research and planning.
Retail Marketing With Mobile Apps
In the study, apps in the retail sector were most competitive and had the highest rate of abandonment. Over a 30-day period, 34 percent of retail app users made no purchases, while 51 percent spent £100 or less. In a market flooded with retail apps for both broad and niche shopping, 44 percent of UK shoppers use them daily. Most users have multiple retail apps installed at once, increasing the challenge of building brand loyalty.
Fortunately, the retail audience was also the easiest to regain, as customers are always on the prowl for great deals and quick methods of comparison shopping. Browsing and reading reviews are the top uses for retail apps, and consumers are more likely to increase their interaction if an app offers exclusive benefits, such as discounts and recommendations. In fact, consumers valued apps that retain preferences, helping them find relevant products faster.
For brands, retail apps provide crucial opportunities to drive buying habits. Roughly 61 percent of UK shoppers used mobile apps to browse product selections, 45 percent made purchases, and more than 20 percent researched products before visiting a store. Today’s customers want a convenient, centralized hub where they can find out what they need, understand the benefits of a product and gain real-world insight from fellow buyers. They also want to stay up-to-date on the latest deals without a lengthy search. Brands that cover all these touchpoints create an uninterrupted pipeline that encourages customers to make a purchasing decision on the spot.
Reinforcing Brand Loyalty With Finance Apps
Similar to retail products, finance apps are used by 44 percent of UK consumers. However, the market is much smaller, and most users only download one or two apps. Security is still a top concern for the majority of consumers, and they are more comfortable with completing retail purchases than banking transactions on mobile devices. Approximately 36 percent of users performed transactions, while the remainder primarily checked for status updates or made payments.
As a result, brand marketers should promote apps as convenience tools to complement their regular websites and services. While infrequent, transactions in finance apps tended to be high-value, making it worthwhile for businesses to provide a full dashboard of account tools. At the same time, attract customers with money-management features that let them access real-time data on the go.
Provide a Seamless Experience With Travel Apps
In the travel sector, customers regularly used mobile sites and apps, but showed a slight preference for the latter. With that in mind, travel brands must offer a seamless, positive experience across both media, ensuring customers get the information, deals and payment options they’re looking for. The good news is travel brands have the unique advantage of drawing users who already have a favorable opinion of the company. Most users who downloaded travel apps were acting on word-of-mouth referrals or desired further engagement with the brand.
Much like finance products, travel apps aren’t typically used for transactions, but customers make substantial purchases when they decide to spend. To keep the travel audience interested, provide apps that include price comparisons, loyalty programs, holiday ideas, discounts and customer reviews. Users specifically value location-based information to streamline the planning process, so gain loyalty by tracking their personal preferences and delivering the most up-to-date data from a wide range of geographic regions.
No matter where brands do business, knowing the audience is the key to growing revenue and boosting market share. To find out how to target your messages to local audiences, contact the LA Times today to learn about our multimedia marketing strategies.