Consumers around the globe will be relying almost solely on the digital marketplace for their shopping needs this holiday season. A recent Google study shows that over 75% of U.S. shoppers said they will shop online more this year than they did in previous holiday seasons, and a similar number said they would also be looking for gift ideas online and not in store.
Even with a struggling economy, we can still expect Q4 to be the largest quarter for consumer spending. People will still be shopping for holiday gifts for family, friends, colleagues and loved ones; the difference is that they’ll be shopping (almost) exclusively online.
With no physical ‘Black Friday’ sales or impulse buying at brick-and-mortar stores, customers are left without the opportunity to physically discover or test products, making it more important than ever for marketers to intelligently advertise their products or services via high-value digital channels that encourage consumer trust.
The definition of ‘influencer marketing’ has fluctuated as the industry has matured over the past few years, but it has become particularly relevant during the pandemic as more consumers rely on digital channels for everything from news, to work, to relevant information about their communities, to lifestyle advice, and yes, to product recommendations.
Here are a few reasons brands should be investing in influencer marketing now to maximise their success during the 2020 holiday season.
A struggling economy means buyers are going to be more intentional about their holiday purchases. By partnering with online creators, brands are able to leverage ‘influence’ to increase consumer awareness of the best prices and promotions during the noisy holiday season.
Consumers will be actively searching for deals throughout the season and are familiar with the fact that their favourite influencers often give their followers unique discount codes as part of their brand partnerships. If your brand has developed a relationship with an influencer, and therefore with that influencer’s audience, those followers will automatically look to your influencer partner for a unique discount code when they’re ready to purchase.
Influencers aren’t just there to display products; their ‘influence’ is perhaps most highly felt in their personal product reviews.
The effect that online reviews have on whether or not someone ultimately makes a purchase is staggering. Influencer Marketing Hub reports that 91% of millennials trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends and family. A survey by BrightLocal shows 86% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase (though the number increases to a whopping 95% of people aged 18-34). The same study showed that consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before they feel they’re able to trust a business enough to buy from them.
Without being able to physically test items, reviews become paramount to the buyer’s decision-making process, especially if that buyer is as-yet unfamiliar with your brand. Partnering with influencers gives you access to the personal recommendation of someone that buyer already follows and trusts, giving you a shortcut into their good graces (and their wallet).
Earlier this summer, eMarketer reported eCommerce would rise by 18% in 2020 amid the pandemic, with a notable increase in both number of digital buyers as well as spending per buyer.
But reports are also showing that consumers aren’t just more comfortable with shopping online in general; they’re much more comfortable with making purchases via their mobile devices, and via social media. A survey from Salesforce shows that 37% of US adults say they are more interested in mobile app shopping than they were last year, with 22% saying the same about shopping via social media.
In particular, the popularity of ‘click-and-collect’ shopping has surged. In an updated post, eMarketer reported that they had previously forecast that US click-and-collect ecommerce sales would increase by 38.6% in 2020. But now, they report an expected growth of 60.4%, with ‘click-and-collect’ sales reaching $58.52 billion.
With regards to increased comfort shopping via mobile and social, it’s not only the ‘last click’ point of sale that matters. By partnering with trusted influencers, brands are effectively staying ‘top of mind’ all along the consumer’s digital shopping journey by showing up in their feeds with consistency. Consistency cultivates trust, and trust begets sales.
The right influencers give brands a direct line to their ideal audience, driving traffic and sales, and increasing overall ROI. With the advanced technology available to research and analyse an influencer’s affinities, marketers are able to specifically target those audiences most likely to have a positive response to a particular brand’s product or service.
Allegiant Media’s Influencer Marketing platform allows users to easily search and filter high-value influencers who are perfectly aligned with a brand’s strategy and values. Targeted research backed by data allows you to quickly and easily discover the perfect influencers so you can spend time focusing on campaign strategy and the signals that matter most.
It’s worth noting that working with influencers is reported to result in an 11X higher ROI than spending on traditional advertising. With tighter budgets and a need to reach digital audiences, online creators are marketers’ best bet for success this holiday season.
With retail closures partly still in effect due to pandemic restrictions, a robust digital presence and marketing strategy are more important than ever. Overall consumer spending may be declining, but it’s important to note that the way we spend money is changing, probably for good. Marketers can anticipate new widespread spending habits by responding to current customer behaviour patterns, and right now that means fully investing in digital advertising.
The best ROI, especially for holiday shopping, is found via influencer marketing. By partnering with trusted online creators you are taking a shortcut to earning followers’ trust, thereby making it much more likely they will give you their business, this holiday season and beyond.
This article was originally featured on TaggerMedia.com on November 24, 2020.