Social Media: Top Driver Of Brands & Festive Shopping

Social media is driving brand discovery and purchases during the festive season

Facebook India has released its Festive Marketing Guide for 2021 which called out social video, influencers, immersive experiences, and conversational marketing as the key trends that will drive the discovery of brands and festive shopping this year.

The key insight from the Guide is that social media is a leading channel to drive brand discovery and purchase during the festive season. A Facebook commissioned online survey by GFK showed that 96% of the surveyed people said that they discover brands and products online. Of the people who use Facebook platforms weekly, 83% who discover new brands and products online typically discover on Facebook platform. The same study showed that of the online shoppers who use Facebook platforms weekly, 96% ultimately purchased fashion, beauty, furniture or consumer electronic products they discovered on the platform.

Arun Srinivas, Director, Global Business Group, Facebook India, said, “The intent to spend on festive is higher this year and several businesses on our platforms have already seen strong results from their festive campaigns as early as August. Digital has emerged as the largest influencer of festive purchase decisions and with more than 400 million Indians on Facebook, we play a pivotal role in discovery and delivering truly incremental business outcomes. The opportunity for businesses, small and large, is to leverage digital to enable personalised discovery through video content, creators, immersive experiences, and conversational marketing.”

Facebook’s Festive Marketing Guide also highlights the structural trend towards online shopping, with 1.2x people adapting it in April 2021 vs before the pandemic. The Guide cites independent research from August 2021 indicating that Diwali spending index for 2021 is higher than last time indicating stronger spending intent.

The Festive Playbook brings together insights from key Facebook commissioned researches, most notably with YouGov, GFK, IPSOS and CrowdDNA, and calls out multiple key trends.

Rise of social video: A Facebook commissioned study by IPSOS shared that connection is a key reason why people watch video with 1 out of 3 people surveyed saying that they watch videos on Facebook to connect with brands. 88% also said that they watch videos at least once a week on Facebook and Instagram. Another Facebook-commissioned study by CrowdDNA found that 94% of viewers who watch publisher videos on Facebook, share it further.

Festive shoppers like recommendations from influencers: Influencers are increasingly playing a critical role in the discovery and purchase process. According to the IPSOS study, half the people said that influencers help them discover new products, and 45% added that influencers help them make a purchase decision. People also said that ‘Lives’ on both Facebook and Instagram help them discover the best deals.

Growth of immersive experiences: Unique virtual experiences have the ability to bring people closer to the brands they love. A Facebook commissioned research on Emerging Trends revealed that 81% people think immersive technologies like Augmented Reality can bridge the gap between online and offline. On Facebook, AR has been creating a new path to customer engagement and conversion, and there has been a whopping 169% year-on-year growth in the membership of Facebook Groups related to AR/VR. The YouGov study has shown that festive shoppers are increasingly influenced by virtual demos in their purchase decisions - 58% for Apparel, 59% for Health & Beauty, 64% for Cars, and 59% for mobile phones.

Seamless, frictionless purchase experiences through conversational marketing: Conversations with businesses simplify customer experience and enable more buying opportunities. There has been unabated growth in the adoption of conversational commerce with 8 in 10 Diwali shoppers messaging a business when shopping, with messaging services used primarily to provide a frictionless shopping experience as per the YouGov study.

Start early, stay nimble: Another key takeaway from this year’s Festive Playbook by Facebook is that 1 out of 3 shoppers start planning their festive purchases as early as the month of September with the interest increasing significantly by October. Brands thus need to immediately re-strategize their campaigns and adopt a ‘start early, stay nimble’ approach, in order to inspire consumers by enabling discovery of their loved products.