Checklist: swimsuit, straw hat, … and phone! The idea of a disconnected summer is over, as Brits are never far from their phone whilst on holiday. Even though 83% of holidaymakers say they want to take a break from their screen, more than 9 out of 10 take one or more devices with them. So while the environment has changed, the behaviour hasn’t, but what does that mean for brands and content – how can brands match the expectation with the experience?
#1: Communities disconnect in summer
Digital detox is a myth: six out of ten people say they use their smartphone more during their holidays, and for an average of two extra hours per day. Not addressing your communities in the summer means neglecting a strategic time of year when audiences are more receptive to advertising. With 45% of 18-34 year olds saying they are more receptive to advertising during their summer holidays, summer provides a captive opportunity to address the likes of Gen-Z and Millennial targets. The challenge? To connect the expectation with the opportunity.
🦩 Tip: Think community first: opt for interactive formats like « surveys”, contests and gamification. Engagement more than reach. The goal is to create interaction with audiences and gather insights that will be used to prepare for the rest of the year. Kill two birds with one stone!
#2: Summer is a slower commercial period
It is commonly accepted that the summer months, particularly July and August, are slow months in terms of purchase behaviours, as consumers are supposed to take advantage of the summer break to slow down their consumption habits. However, even though people take a few days off over the summer months, consumers are still connected and do not stop consuming just because they are on holiday.
Each product has its own seasonality, and each community has its own habits. For example, more televisions are sold in December and January, but in almost identical proportions in the other months, including summer. Another community peculiarity is that September is the month dreaded by parents, because it is the month that comes with the most bills (think back to school!). The lifestyle sector (fashion, accessories, home and garden) accounts for the largest share of summer spending. Unsurprisingly, the outdoor-focused sectors explode during the high season (tourism, catering, sports, leisure activities).
☀️ Tip: Extend your campaigns into the summer and design 100% summer campaigns to fit in with the season. The combination – which we at JIN call the ‘Social Experience’ – of social media, influencer marketing and social commerce must be extended through the summer, otherwise, you will miss the sales potential associated with those months which are known for a high level of spend, equivalent to the annual average.
#3: There is only room for snappy content
Infographics, GIFs, memes, micro-videos,…snackable content has been on the rise for a few years now and has made its way into brands’ editorial lines. In the summer, however, audiences take the time to consume longer content, such as live streams, podcasts, ebooks or articles. They essentially take the time to catch up and to go deeper!
In 2021, an early years brand, that JIN is supporting in the production of its branded podcasts, achieved more than 40% of its annual listening between July and August thanks to a strategy of amplifying the best episodes of the year on Google Ads. Summer becomes an opportunity for brands to give a second life to their high value-added evergreen content by integrating a new push to their summer social media calendar and to take advantage of lower ad prices to sponsor their content. Practical and efficient!
⛱️ Tip: Identify the long-form evergreen content that has worked best during the year to share again on the brand’s various social platforms. Plan a wave of content amplification (podcasts, replays) and take advantage of lower bidding costs of the summer months.
#4: There is no longer a craze for sales
With the proliferation of promotional events (sales, Black Friday, etc.), one might think that summer sales no longer create the excitement of a few years ago. However, 44% of people wait for the ‘Sales’ to make a specific purchase. The summer sales are still a popular commercial event for consumers. Also, given the current inflationary situation, it is a safe bet that they will continue to look for good deals in physical stores alongside digital environments. From an e-commerce standpoint, 60% of people say they have abandoned a purchase because they couldn’t find an available promo code.
🍹 Tip: Share promo codes, yes, but only on the condition that you do it in a considered way. Two options: first, by playing the exclusivity card. For example, using an influencer to share a promo code as part of a summer campaign on a certain product category. The influencer can also directly share exclusive discounts during a live shopping session. A live shopping campaign held for an eyewear brand by JIN, in collaboration with a French macro-influencer generated 1.4M reach and over 14K clicks to site.
Secondly, by thinking of gamification, like Sézane, who hid promo codes behind little fish icons on their website in celebration of April Fool’s Day.
5: Summer is not the right time to launch new formats
Summer is the period chosen by the edgy franco-german-european media ARTE to adapt its schedule and follow the theme of the season, with a lighter and more entertaining tone. In general, it is customary to avoid launching a product in the middle of summer (except for seasonal products, of course), and to reserve big announcements for the beginning of the school year. However, summer is an ideal time to try out new things and launch campaigns that include elements of ‘test & learn’.
For example: the new Pinterest Lens feature, the latest TikTok trends, or even making your posts compatible with bionic reading…
🌴 Tip: Take advantage of the summer to realize projects you have been thinking about for months: Kick-start your TikTok account, open your Pinterest store or test the latest social shopping features on Instagram.
In addition to being a commercial period (almost) like any other, summer is the perfect time to focus on the rest of the year without getting caught up in the flood of daily emergencies. Whether it’s to move forward on your content calendar, review your editorial approach, publish long-form content or deepen your social selling strategy, summer is a rare period where brands and agencies can focus on large-scale projects. In short, a successful summer means a smoother start to the end of the year!
Simon John, Managing Director, UK & Head of Brand, EMEA at JIN