The Power of Real-Time Conversation Data: Happy Holidays!

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The classic challenge of brand advertising is to reach audiences at scale, when they’re paying attention. The stakes are always high, but the game gets much more intense every year around the holidays as more brands compete for a dwindling share of audience attention. Your marketing can gain an edge by tapping into the power of real-time conversation data to zero in on what consumers care about most in the moment, even during the hectic holiday season.

Of course, not every advertiser has a an always-on social media war room stocked with the talent and tools to do this. Even for those that do, manually aligning advertising campaigns with real-time conversations is difficult to scale and sustain. Enter innovation. Specifically trend-based advertising.

Trend-Based Advertising

In a nutshell, trend advertising technology lets brands move beyond technical or human resource limitations to get back to what they really want to do: reach specific audiences online when they are most engaged. Think Primetime online for today’s age of extreme fragmentation when audiences are jumping from social platforms to articles to videos on their phones. Luckily, programmatic media buying makes it possible to align display and video advertising with trending content automatically, in real-time. Technology can help translate real-time audience trends into actionable targeting criteria.

Making Your Holidays Brighter

Arguably, there’s no better time to understand the benefits of this approach to media buying than during the busiest time of the year for consumers and marketers. With reference to some recent research we’ve completed and in the spirit of holiday giving, here’s three tips for how your brand can leverage trends-based advertising this holiday season.

1. Target Conversions Wherever They Are

Modern consumers navigate to articles from social feeds rather than directly to a brand’s website to learn about the latest products. By targeting campaigns around real-time trends you’ll can reach prospects where and when they are engaged, instead of relying on stale content categories and segmentation methods. You need to cast this wide net because consumers find and share content from a wide cross-section of publishers. For a single demographic of women 25-54 during the 2015 holiday season, we saw engagement and ad performance within targeted holiday content across a wide variety of websites including technology (best tech gifts), shopping, finance (holiday deals), and relevant celebrity news such as Mariah Carey’s holiday book release.

2. Tap the Power of Non-endemic Opportunities

Holiday shoppers engage with other content throughout their path to purchase. By targeting the trends they’re most engaged with in the moment, you can capture additional opportunities to drive sales. For example, in 2015 broader content trends in auto, fashion, and entertainment drove very strong performance for advertisers that correlated that activity with more traditional holiday related trends. And moms everywhere were heavily influenced by TV, web and social media (particularly Pinterest) to spend millions so their pre-schoolers could head to class in the latest Boho-Chic look (yes, really). Those transactional decisions were made a long time before credit cards came out.

3. Take a More ‘Always On’ Approach

The growth of online and mobile shopping mean the significance of the actual Black Friday and Cyber Monday dates on the calendar is declining. But the window around these tentpoles is still very much open — social conversations around Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping actually start to increase about 12-24 days before the sales events. Translation: by expanding your brand’s window of address and using a real-time, tends-based approach, you can more effectively target pre-Black Friday online buzz, post Cyber Monday purchases and multichannel shopping.

Trend Advertising in Action

One retailer looking to create awareness for their holiday clothing sale used trend advertising technology to deliver ads at scale within the content that was being talked about the most by the retailer’s core demographic of women 18-44. In this case, it turned out that the audience had a specific focus on trends around young children’s fashion. So, by focusing ad placements around trending content in this realm, the brand was able to capture an engagement rate of more than 6x the industry standard. Despite the chaos and competition of the holiday season the brand was able to reach their audience at scale in a relevant environment with the right message. That’s the essence of good advertising.

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