Facebook and Instagram have typically been top of mind for marketers’ full-funnel holiday planning, but with the rise of e-commerce capabilities across newer social media platforms, consumer perception of social issues, and the recent platform outage, is this the holiday season for emerging social channels? 

Holiday Trends Outlook for 2021

Users are spending more time online and the eCommerce landscape has been forced to adapt with the rise of mobile usage and media consumption. According to Insider Intelligence, “US consumers’ average time spent on their phones reached 3:13 per day last year.” As a result, online shopping has skyrocketed and eCommerce competition has never been greater. Holiday retail sales rose 8.3% from 2019, according to data released by the National Retail Federation, as consumers embraced the gift-giving season. 

Additionally, the path to purchase has changed fundamentally. People are shopping earlier than ever before for the holidays (some report as early as June!), and leaving brand loyalty to the wayside. Consumers are now favoring choice and convenience above all, and are eager to try new brands and channels.

They are also craving more customized “shoppertainment” experiences. Top-of-funnel marketing is critical right now to boost discoverability and capitalize on social media browsing. Many top brands are also turning to UGC in order to increase word-of-mouth recommendations and increase sales. 

Now is the time for marketers to experiment with different platforms and formats. 

The Rise Of Emerging Platforms & The Case For Expanding Social Media Strategy

Facebook performance has been on the decline over the last year with rising costs, and an oversaturated marketplace taking a toll on the media giant. In 2021, YoY Facebook ad costs were up 89% and ad prices jumped 30% just from Q1 to Q2. With an average CPM of $11, Facebook ads are becoming less cost-effective, pushing many marketers to consider alternatives. Privacy updates in the aftermath of iOS14 have also hurt Facebook’s performance, with some brands noticing upwards of 20% conversion loss. 

With TikTok & Snapchat rolling out shoppable integrations, marketers have a chance to think outside the box and to approach the holiday season differently through a test-and-learn approach. Brands are looking to invest and reach a deduplicated audience on these newer platforms. With 60% of TikTok users falling within the Gen Z demographic, brands can also leverage these newer platforms to gain a foothold with a younger audience.

While the younger social platforms are typically thought of as discovery tools and places to activate splashier campaigns, they can also help drive a stronger bottom line. Tik Tok and Snapchat continue to expand their capabilities for direct response marketing. “We are seeing 36% higher conversions on TikTok this year over the other platforms,” says Rachel Tipograph, founder and CEO of MikMak. From Tik Tok’s new in-app shopping tabs and Snapchat’s dynamic catalog ads, the opportunity to drive ROI is plentiful. 

Major retail brands like Aerie and Sephora have been leaning into Tik Tok and Snapchat marketing offerings. Aerie has seen lower CPA and stronger ROAS on TikTok and has opted for an always-on full-funnel approach. They’ve also harnessed the power of UGC to drive discoverability and engagement surrounding their popular ‘Crossover Leggings’ while Sephora tapped into Snapchat AR filters to increase engagement and sales.

It’s clear that the growth opportunities on these emerging social platforms are promising and the standard media mix and holiday planning model will no longer be enough for brands to succeed. 

Ronnie Andrade Alvarado, Director of Paid Media
Shay Roman, Content Marketing Coordinator

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