Emotions run high in the build up to Christmas, with sentimental songs, moving charitable causes, and emotive TV ads all tugging at consumer heartstrings.
So, in the midst of the festive shopping frenzy that starts this week with Black Friday and continues right through to the January sales, retailers mustn’t overlook the impact of sentiment on their festive campaigns.
Christmas spending remains strong, with a recent survey suggesting almost nine-in-ten are planning to spend the same or more than they did last year, so retailers have it all to play for. Despite some scepticism around the value of Black Friday deals, UK shoppers are still expected to spend over £2.5 billion on the day – a significant rise from last year.
With a continuing trend for consumers to move online during this busy shopping period, rather than face the crowded High Street, retailers need to pay particular attention to how their brand and products are perceived in the digital world.
The peak shopping days place a lot of focus on low cost deals, but getting the cheapest price isn’t the only thing that impacts a consumer’s decision to buy. Factors such as value for money, simplicity in delivery and returns, and the quality of customer service are also crucially important.
And, as consumers do the majority of their festive shopping research online, their opinions of a retailer or product are greatly influenced by online content in the form of reviews, articles, or blog posts.
As festive shopping drives an increase in online traffic around this type of content, retailers need to ensure their brand messaging and products are seen in environments where surrounding sentiment is positive. This can be achieved through a holistic, semantic approach to content analysis that goes beyond the words on the page and looks at the relationships between those words to gain an in-depth understanding of what the content actually says, before making the decision to place an ad.
Sentiment analysis identifies and categorises opinion expressed in written content such as articles and reviews to determine whether the attitude towards a particular product, brand or retailer is positive or negative. While constructive, positive opinions affirm the shopper’s decision and encourage them along the path to purchase, negative sentiment can just as easily influence undecided shoppers and can prevent a potential consumer clicking ‘buy now’.
In general retailers will want to ensure their ads and messaging appear in high quality, brand-safe environments, and at this vital time of year they should take advantage of relevant targeting segments such as ‘Black Friday bargains’, ‘Cyber Monday deals’ or ‘Christmas gifts’ to ensure their messages resonate with the contextual environment.
But they must also actively ensure their ads are kept away from negative feeling, and placed alongside content with an affirmative vibe, reaching consumers when they are feeling positive about the product and putting sentiment at the heart of their festive campaigns.