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Social Commerce Will Supercharge Holiday Sales, Research Reveals

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48 Percent of U.S. Consumers Are Considering Purchasing Products Seen in Social Media Ads for Holiday Gifts, the leading social media advertising automation platform, announced new research outlining where and why consumers engage with social media ads to make holiday purchases. Based on 1,000 U.S. consumer responses from a Dynata survey, the results indicate that consumers not only recognize that social media presents a new way to shop for holiday gifts, they are also more likely than ever to purchase those gifts after being influenced by social advertising.

48 percent of U.S. consumers are considering purchasing products seen in social media ads for holiday gifts, @smartlyio research reveals.

Increasing social media spend

Amazon and other online retail marketplaces are dramatically altering the holiday shopping landscape, with PwC’s 2019 Holiday Outlook report indicating 54 percent of U.S. consumers plan to shop online in 2019. As shoppers continue to spend more time online, their propensity to use social media to browse and purchase gifts is growing as well. In fact, found that 57 percent of holiday shoppers feel social media ads help them source new gift ideas, and 48 percent are considering purchasing from an ad on social media this year. Further, of those who plan to purchase, 40 percent said they are likely to spend at least $50. This underscores a substantial opportunity for retail and brand marketers to incorporate more paid social into their holiday campaigns.

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“Brands have a tremendous opportunity to leverage social media ads this holiday season for authentic storytelling that will drive more revenue during the most critical time of year,” said Robert Rothschild, VP and global head of marketing for “Consumers are flocking to highly visual platforms like Instagram and Facebook as new marketplaces to find holiday gifts – and they expect digital ads they encounter there to blend seamlessly into their browsing and shopping experience. Regardless of whether they have converted from social media ads in the past, 2019 is the tipping point year where those consumers are ready to buy. The brands who stand out from the pack are, ironically, those who design their ads to be as unobtrusive to the consumer as possible, and conform to the native content each placement has.”

Cultivating strong creative

When asked about the top factors influencing their decision to buy a product through a social media ad, 35 percent of consumers indicated that a compelling or engaging video, animation or image mattered most to them – ahead of other factors like customer testimonials (32 percent) or influencer participation (26 percent). Brands that create and deliver visually engaging social ads and use a combination of both video and still images will likely see their campaigns resonate with shoppers, spurring them to convert quickly.

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Reaching your target audience on their turf

Visually imperative categories, such as Apparel and Beauty, traditionally thrive on paid social because creative can easily convey an item’s top selling points. However, found that electronics are also finding success through social ads. In fact, Apparel & Accessories (17 percent) and Electronics (15 percent) top the list of categories U.S. shoppers are most likely to purchase via social media ads, followed by Beauty/Wellness (11 percent) and Home Goods (10 percent).

Additional findings from the study include:

  • 61 percent of U.S. consumers expect to see the most relevant holiday ads on Facebook or Instagram, with Google’s video giant YouTube in second place (15 percent)
  • Shoppers have high expectations for Facebook and Instagram ads, with 57 percent expecting them to deliver the best quality holiday ads of any social network
  • Of those who have purchased holiday gifts via social media ads, 76 percent have done so via Facebook or Instagram
  • Twitter and Snapchat are barely on shoppers’ radars this holiday season, with consumers indicating they are least likely to find gifts on those platforms this year

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