While marketers traditionally launch advertising campaigns a fortnight before mega sales such as 9/9 and 11/11 across APAC markets, the onset of the pandemic and the subsequent shifts in purchase and consumption have upended some of these rules. According to findings from a whitepaper from Facebook and MediaCom, marketers need to now plan as much as a month in advance of these mega events and consider widening the scope of their target audience to maximise their sales.
"Brands able to advertise earlier are in a position to to beat competition and do so with lower CPA [cost per acquisition]," Josh Gallagher, MediaCom’s chief product officer for APAC, told attendees on a call held to discuss findings of the whitepaper. Three weeks prior to such sales, the cost of advertising could be as much as 19% lower.
As brands consider extending their campaigns to target confined consumers, they should also look to prospect for new customers rather than retargeting existing ones, according to the paper. As the online audience has widened, not only have newer users come aboard (from new demographics such as Gen X), but also what constitutes essentials has changed. Leading brands tended to gain more business by targetting new customers, rather than relying on existing clients alone, the study showed.
While consumers prospect for the best deals during these sales, low pricing and discounts may not be the only triggers for purchase, the Facebook-MediaCom report suggests. Instead, the research shows that across APAC markets, consumers are willing to consider other factors ranging from innovation to trendiness, reliability and authenticity as purchase triggers. "Brands must have more tactics to maximise mega sales," Gallagher said.
Unlike previous years, in 2020, the nature of online sales is likely to be different for other reasons too. For example, there are likely to be more older shoppers this year, and given how locked in consumers have been, they may be more willing than usual to try out new products during these events.
While traditional sales, driven by festivals or religious events may be driven by gifting to family and friends, online sales in APAC tend to be more opportunistic, Facebook’s strategic communications planning lead for APAC, Carlos Palacios said on the call. "Sales such as 9/9 and 11/11 tend to be more about self-gifting, but at the end of the day a deal is a deal... a commonality is brands need to cater to what consumers are looking for," he added.
(This article first appeared on CampaignAsia.com)