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Holiday Shopping Report: Consumers Want More Social Media Deals

Marketers Have to Find the Balance: Shoppers Increasingly Open to Money-Saving Offers on Social Channels, but Not to Promotional Message Overload

PORTLAND, OR – October 30, 2012 – According to a new holiday shopping report from Yesmail Interactive, consumers want to see more deals on social media than brands have been offering; however, the research also shows that shoppers tune out companies that bombard them with too many promotions around the holidays.

The findings suggest that retailers have to get the tone and timing of their campaigns right in order to drive critical fourth-quarter sales.

“Consumers are oversaturated with holiday messages this time of year,” said Michael Fisher, president of Yesmail Interactive, an Infogroup company. “We’re not suggesting that brands ignore the holidays on social media, but marketers have to strike a balance between using social channels to drive sales and simply engaging with customers who are celebrating the holidays.”

The Yesmail report, based on a consumer shopping trends survey and an analysis of the digital marketing campaigns of 20 brands over a three-month period, found that many leading retailers are underutilizing social media as a channel to promote deals.

The survey found that:

  • Half of consumers are influenced by social media when making online purchases, compared to 42 percent for in-store purchases.
  • 34 percent have purchased a product as a direct result of a social media promotion.
  • Only 8 percent of Facebook campaigns and 4 percent of Twitter campaigns for the brands tracked focused on money-saving promotions.

While the report shows that consumers are more open to social media promotions in general, it also revealed a point of caution for marketers: Holiday-themed promotions often perform worse than non-holiday promotions in terms of engagement.

The study tracked the social media campaigns for the brands released during the spring and summer, where 14 percent of Facebook campaigns and 8 percent of Twitter campaigns had a holiday theme. The findings showed that those campaigns that focused heavily on getting the consumer to purchase showed less-than-average engagement, while the messages aimed at simply getting followers into the respective holiday spirit performed much better.

“The winners focused on what the season means to consumers, rather than using the holiday to directly promote a product or sales event,” Fisher said. “Brands have to be especially careful about not being overly promotional during the holidays, even though customers are increasingly turning to social channels to find deals.”

Other Yesmail findings provide additional insight into how brands can leverage social media this holiday season:

  • Consumers are most likely to interact with a brand on social channels when researching a product and after getting an email promotion, and less likely right before they make a purchase and immediately afterward.
  • Almost 60 percent prefer to interact with brands on social media between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., but the majority of brands run social campaigns during office hours.
  • The most common interaction with brands on social media is liking a Facebook page (57 percent), followed by commenting and asking for product recommendations from friends.
  • The least common interactions are tweeting about a brand (8 percent) and adding a brand to a Google+ circle (4 percent).

To gauge consumer shopping preferences, Yesmail polled more than 500 consumers about their general and holiday shopping habits. Using its Yesmail Market Intelligence tool, the company also tracked the digital marketing campaigns of Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Crate & Barrel, Dell, Game Stop, HH Gregg, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Pottery Barn, Rue La La, Sears, Sprint, T-Mobile, Toys ‘R’ Us, Verizon, Walmart and Williams Sonoma.

To view the full Yesmail report, “Consumer Online Behavior Report: Developing Informed Digital Marketing Strategies for Holiday Success,” please visit www.yesmail.com/surveyreport

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About Infogroup
Infogroup helps companies increase sales and customer loyalty through its high-value data and innovative multi-channel digital and offline marketing solutions.  Infogroup enables its clients – from local businesses to Fortune 100 companies – to target, connect with and engage their most valuable audiences.  With cutting edge technology and analytics bolstered by our proprietary, real-time Data Axle ™ of contextually relevant information on more than 235 million individuals and 24 million businesses, Infogroup delivers the complete spectrum of value added data, direct and digital marketing solutions. For more information, please visit www.infogroup.com.