Mobile shopping and the silly season of opportunity

The Christmas season poses immense opportunity for retailers who effectively engage with consumers via the mobile and social space. Jay Revels discusses the recent growth in mobile shopping use and what this means for retailers.

Retail marketing is heating up as brands look for innovative ways to capture shopper attention in the countdown to the holiday period.

Brands with significant advertising dollars have witnessed first hand the impact of mobile spending, with shopping ad click-through rates significantly increasing following Google’s success with Product Listing Ads and Shopping Campaigns.

In turn, many publishers have come out with their own product ads, such as Facebook’s Dynamic Product Ads. The usage and acceptance of this ad type has become the norm for consumers, and digital advertisers have followed suit in their search for ad campaign strategies.

With publishers like Google and Facebook making shopping ad platforms the norm, ad campaign strategies will no doubt echo this trend.

What does this mean for retailers looking for cost effective ways to get their brand noticed?

The intensity in which Australians consume technology provides rich opportunities for brands to capture eyes and potential customers, particularly around social media.

As more and more consumers move to mobile, we’re seeing the same shift in their on-the-go purchasing behaviors. According to Marin Software’s recently released report Google and Bing shopping ads report – surveying international advertisers spending over $130,000AUD – at least 45% of all shopping ad clicks would likely be on a smartphone this holiday season.

Consider the rise of Instagram and the highly anticipated rollout of its API programme. Each day, Instagram users share an average of 70 million photos and 68% of users aged 13-24 say they interact with brands regularly, either by looking at photos, liking content, following a brand, visiting its website, or engaging in some other way.

It therefore makes sense to market to the consumers who live and breathe image based social media. Retail, consumer packaged goods, travel, fashion and automotive industries are particularly rushing to get in front of the social platforms’ millions of users. Net-A-Porter has seen significant growth from using the API, having already used Instagram to promote fashion events with top industry influencers.

The brands most likely to thrive within Instagram (double) tap into aspirational and emotionally compelling content to create a community of potential customers ready to endorse and share their products.

Low hanging fruit is not limited to the Christmas season

The ease of which consumers can shop on mobile means advertisers who don’t have savvy strategies in place to capture click-through rates year around will miss out on conversion opportunities, significantly impacting their bottom line.

A recent Australian Bureau of Statistics study found Australian retail turnover rose 0.4% in August following a fall of 0.1% in July 2015, being seasonally adjusted. The cyclical shopping behavior of Australian consumers in this study indicated a significant spike around school holidays, including but not limited to the silly season.

Our data indicates similar trends. Mobile activity increased significantly throughout the year on both desktop and mobile. While desktops had a strong 25% increase in clicks during November and December, smartphone clicks increased almost 90% between January and December.

Effective management, monitoring and optimisation of spend through digital channels will deliver impressive returns for brands if they have strategies in place to capture and convert leads, with particular attention to mobile devices.

This provides opportunities for brands to start planning for 2016 activity and to think on how to cleverly utilise online and social media tools to their advantage.

Jay Revels is the managing director of Marin Software Asia Pacific.