How can brands and agencies emerge in what will be the most digital and crowded shopping season ever?

In the 2020 shopping season, brands can no longer limit themselves to selling products and/or services. For consumers this is no longer enough. Brands are now required to create engaging and meaningful consumer experiences by rapidly transforming insights into messages and content for their online communication strategies in any type of format.

But how can brands and agencies emerge in what will be the most digital and crowded shopping season ever?

2020 was, and still is, undoubtedly the most complex year to navigate ever, both on a business and personal level. From dinners on zoom to almost totally remote work, COVID-19 has done nothing but accelerate digitalization trends on every front.

The 2020 shopping season, now upon us, will be its culmination.

According to Think With Google, 77% of consumers will shop online during the holiday season. 62% have already started buying, or looking for products, since October to prevent those of their interest from going out of stock. There is no industry vertical that has not seen or won’t see a peak of growth in online sales this year. From the retail sector, up 600% on sales compared to last year, to the automotive sector, in which 65% of consumers will rely on the online world for a new purchase, up to the food sector – even for pets – for which online sales have doubled compared to last year.

All these sectors have only one common denominator when it comes to the decision-making process and the consumer journey: video.

Video is no longer just part of the consumer journey. Video is the consumer journey. From brand discovery to product reviews, 94% of users rely on video, advertising or marketing, at all stages of the purchase. According to Nielsen, video formats are those that more than any other have a positive and direct impact on sales.

Simply doing video campaigns is no longer enough, however, and above all it will not be during this 2020 shopping season.

Internet users, as we all are, are increasingly affected by advertising blindness. If until a few years ago it was mainly banners that were subject to it, now even the effectiveness of plain videos is fading away. For most of the impressions, we just look for the skip button on the bottom-right corner of an ad to switch as quickly as possible to the editorial content we are interested in, as if the ad were a medicine to swallow.

It is therefore clear that video advertising must offer more to users. Content can no longer be redundant and generalist airing online the exact same commercial being shown on TV. The content must then be personalized and relevant. Whether it is a video built specifically for the web or designed for other channels, the content must be able to exploit the properties offered by devices, both mobile and desktop, to maximize the effectiveness of an online video strategy.

There are so many ways to make video content relevant and generate direct response from users. The solutions vary in complexity and sophistication but now more than ever are accessible to any type of brand without barriers to entry.

Over the past three years, we have conducted tests with Connected-Stories over and over again to quantitatively and qualitatively measure the impact of dynamic and/or interactive videos compared to classic videos (derived from television) and the results are very positive for each type of metric, both media and business.

We have noticed that simply adding an interactive call to action, not embedded in the video itself as the final payoff, leads to double the CTR levels. We have seen how the inclusion of interactive elements is relevant in the awareness phase, generating a “earned time” with advertising content from + 35% upwards. It is no coincidence that Youtube and Instagram have also made available the enrichment of video ads with interactive elements to be appealing to all stages of the funnel.

The most important uplift then comes when data is applied to the video strategy. Whether it’s audience segment, intent, context, or user behavior, when video becomes data-driven, performance grows exponentially.

The quality of the traffic generated to the site, we measured, increases up to 2x compared to the benchmarks of standard video ads. Even more if you measure the conversions generated, data-driven videos result in an uplift of up to 3x making them a real performance tool.

Whether it is programmatic or reservation, the benefits of data-driven planning on video formats substantially exceed the activation costs.

In the most digital shopping season ever, brands that will be able to move in an agile and innovative way with data-driven planning, both at a media and a creative level, and equipped with tools capable of providing granular insights for real-time optimizations will be those that will emerge. For all the others, we’ll talk about during next year’s shopping season then.