From gadgets to pens & paper to new clothes, the back-to school shopping season is right around the corner.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average US family with children in grades K-12 plans to spend $630.36 on electronics, apparel and other school needs, down from $669.28 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $24.9 billion. And when you add spending for K-12 as well as college, it’s expected to reach $68B.
And much to the dismay of children around the globe, brands like Old Navy and Dell have already started releasing their back-to-school campaigns.
So how can advertisers break through the clutter and drive sales as we head into the busy back to school season?
Here are 5 tips to turning viewers into shoppers:
1. Pack an emotional punch
One of the key factors determining whether an ad attracts 100 or a million social shares is the strength of the emotion it elicits from its audience.
According to Unruly ShareRank data, around 70% of viewers who experienced an intense emotional response to an ad were more likely to buy the product.
Take advantage of this and leverage the anticipation and excitement of Back-to-School or the nostalgia, warmth and happiness of the Holiday season in your ads.
2. More story, less telling
US retailers missed an opportunity this past Holiday season. The 2014 UK retail holiday ads significantly outperformed their US counterparts because UK videos told highly emotional stories while US ads focused on price promotions.
From a Calvin & Hobbes-esque narrative in John Lewis’ “#MontyThePenguin” (4% share rate) to Sainsbury’s true story of the WWI Christmas Truce (5% share rate), these British ads generated more engagement than the top-shared US retail ad, H&M Magical Holidays, featuring Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett (2% share rate).
3. Get your timing right
The 2015 Social Diffusion Curve shows that 44% of video shares occur within the first three days of campaign launch, and engagement drops significantly afterwards.
During the extended Back-to-School and Holiday seasons, use paid distribution to slow viral decay and keep your ad discoverable throughout the season.
4. Ditch celebs for everyday heroes
Recent research carried out by Unruly, plus recent studies from leading academics, show that star power has very little effect on sharing success.
Most of the best-performing holiday ads of 2014 featured unknown actors, so skip the lavish celebrity salaries and reallocate those funds to smart distribution for greater video success.
5. Give people a lot of reasons to share
Word of mouth is a powerful driver for sales, so give your viewers strong reasons to share your holiday ads.
Key reasons to share include shared passion, zeitgeist and kudos. Back-to-School and Holiday campaigns already have a leg-up as these shopping seasons are the zeitgeist!
If you can elicit a diverse set of social motivations, this will help maximize your video’s earned media potential.
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