Results tagged “Research” from IABlog

Holiday Shopping Trends 2011

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shopping.jpgAs we approach the 2011 holiday shopping season, a multitude of studies have been recently released which attempt to predict consumers’ holiday shopping plans, behaviors, attitudes and spending. In this post, we’ll attempt to summarize some of the recurring themes that span the various studies. IAB is also adding to this quantitative knowledge with qualitative points garnered from tests conducted as we develop our online community, called HearWatchSay, a joint venture with IPSOS/OTX.

Let’s look at some of the recurring themes this holiday shopping season:

Early Shopping and the Preference for Cyber Monday over Black Friday

The turkeys haven’t even been cooked, much less digested, and yet many consumers have already started their holiday shopping. comScore states “Four in ten have already begun holiday shopping.”

Our HearWatchSay community members who participated in our shopping survey told us they’d already started shopping and the overwhelming majority of that group (about three-quarters) reported that they will avoid Black Friday. At first glance, this seems to imply that consumers are open to shopping early in the season, but this is more likely due to consumers trying to avoid the crowds that the shopping season brings, based on what we are learning from HearWatchSay. Instead, it appears that our community members are looking forward to shopping on Cyber Monday.

Researching Gifts

Researching gifts is a top activity across mobile and digital, both online and in-store, with price comparison more frequent among smartphone users. NPD states that about half plan to do gift research online before shopping. The top online holiday shopping activities of our HearWatchSay panel members who responded to the shopping survey are researching gifts on shopping sites, reading online reviews to help decide, researching gifts using a search engine and using a price comparison site/app. 

Spending Less

With increasing economic uncertainty and declining consumer confidence, it’s no surprise that many consumers plan to cut down on spending this holiday season.  According to Nielsen, 41% of Americans are planning to spend less this year. 

Consistent with shoppers’ plans to spend less, the top holiday shopping purchase influences for HearWatchSay members who responded to our survey are email coupons& discount codes, in-store coupons and Cyber Monday specials. NPD states that the #1 influence on where to shop is ‘special sale price’ followed by overall value for the price and convenient location. 40% (#5) also are influenced by free shipping offers.

More Online Shopping This Year

Consumers may be spending less this year, but more of that spending is being done online. One-third of HearWatchSay survey respondents state they plan to do more online shopping this year, largely driven by cost-saving (deals, coupons, price comparison) in addition to crowd-avoidance and convenience. Additionally, eMarketer predicts that U.S. retail ecommerce holiday sales will grow 16.8% this year to $46.7 billion, which is five times faster growth than the total retail industry.

Overall, top drivers for holiday shopping behavior this year — both online and offline — imply cost-saving measures; online deals, in-store coupons, in-store shopping to save on shipping fees.

Mobile Shopping… or In-Store Price-checking

Another category that is seeing increases driven by cost-saving behaviors is mobile holiday shopping. Many (about half of HearWatchSay respondents) are planning to shop in stores with their smartphones, using them for in-store comparison shopping, scanning QR/UPC codes in the store or doing gift research on their mobile devices. According to Deloitte’s Annual Holiday Survey, 27% of smartphone owners will use their devices for holiday shopping this year.

Smartphones are being used more for in-store comparison shopping than actual purchases (only 15% of HearWatchSay members said they’d buy via mobile phone). Tablets, however, are gaining ground as a device for making purchases with tablet holiday shopping behaviors resembling those done on a laptop computer — comparison shopping and buying. Paypal with Ipsos and IBM Coremetrics expect an increase in mobile purchases overall this season, whether via smartphone or tablet.

In summary, holiday shopping this year appears to be shifting more to digital and mobile, with mobile being used more to ‘optimize’ in-store shopping. That isn’t to say that people won’t be crowding the aisles in stores looking for that perfect sweater or to use their store coupons. But more of them will be tapping away at their phones while shopping, looking for a better deal at another store or online. Many will forgo the crowds at stores to shop online in the convenience of their own home, at a time that suits them.

Perhaps the defining factor driving both online and offline shopping this year is saving money. Cost-saving measures seem to be strongly influencing consumers’ behaviors and purchase decisions this year whether online, mobile or in-store. Consumers are looking forward to Cyber Monday and plan to take advantage of online coupons and deals. At the same time they cite in-store coupons and saving on shipping fees as major influences in offline shopping, which will of course be accompanied by their mobile shopping assistant.

About the Author

Kristina Sruoginis

Kristina Sruoginis is Director of Digital Research at IAB


An Inside Look at Hulu Ad Swap

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When we pursue a research project to advance our goal of building the world’s most effective advertising service, we start with some foundational questions: What problem(s) will the innovation solve? Can it scale? How will we measure the effects? What are the paths to increasing monetization? Will this create value for our customers?

Of course, we asked these same questions when designing Hulu Ad Swap, announced live today onstage from the IAB MIXX Conference & Expo during NY Advertising Week. Hulu Ad Swap is the next evolution in user choice and control—an ad innovation designed to dramatically improve the advertising experience for users and results for brands. Hulu Ad Swap puts complete control in the hands of the user by enabling them to instantly swap out of an ad they are watching for one that is more relevant.

We conducted research to determine whether Hulu Ad Swap could quantify (in both statistically reliable and valid terms) the improvement of the ad experience for advertisers and viewers across a variety of dimensions.

Going into the study, our thesis was that users wanted more choice and control, and  advertisers wanted to eliminate waste (via targeting) and drive better outcomes (improved effectiveness measures).  A recent Advertiser Perceptions study commissioned by the IAB entitled, An Inside Look at Demand Side Perceptions of Video Advertising quantified the criteria that advertisers, marketers, TV and online video buyers look for in their online video partnerships. Here’s what they stated (in rank order):

1. Targeting 82% - 88%
2. Results 85% - 86%
3. Reach 68% - 84%
4. Cost 28% - 46%

Advertisers want better targeting and results, and viewers want more choice and relevancy, so naturally the question we wanted to address was simple: through a format rooted in choice, could we deliver on improved relevancy and results? 
Our success measures were the predictive success measures that brand marketers use: Brand recall, favorability and purchase intent.  

Results from the research study were very positive. Video ads that a user proactively chose to swap into (versus a video ad that was served at random) performed to a significantly greater degree than those that were not:

  • Unaided Recall of the brand went from 30% to 58% (+93%)
  • Aided Recall became near universal, from 59% to 91% (+54%)
  • Brand Favorability went from 34% to 43% (+27%)
  • Purchase Intent went from 23% to 31% (+35%)
  • Stated Relevancy went from 15% to 22% (+46%)

The measured performance of choice-based ad formats like Hulu Ad Swap illustrates why offering interactivity can be a powerful mechanism to improve the effectiveness of advertising. Interactive formats can significantly exceed the effectiveness and efficiency of traditional video ad formats for the following reasons:

  • Self-addressability—the consumer can choose the most relevant ad to them at that moment.
  • Increased attentiveness—when a choice is made, a viewer is invested in seeing the outcome.
  • Cognitive dissonance—consumers like to feel justified about the choices they make.

Going forward, we are not expecting all Hulu users to swap ads every time they are offered the option to swap. The power behind Hulu Ad Swap is that a user has maximum control over their ad experience, and can swap their ad if they choose to do so. In fact, we expect response rates of around three percent. But for those who do choose to interact with this feature, we’ll have learned a little more about their preferences. We can turn that learning into a better ad experience for our users, a better ad platform for our advertisers, and an improved monetization vehicle for our content partners.

We are continuing to research Hulu Ad Swap, and as we work to improve this ad innovation over time, our goal is to deliver both a more frictionless consumer advertising experience and even better results for our advertising customers.

With regards to the research we conducted on Hulu Ad Swap, there’s a more comprehensive research FAQ you can read here: Hulu Ad Swap Research Results.

About the Author

sp_schafer_bryon.jpgBryon Schafer
Director of Research & Sales Strategy, Hulu

Bryon Schafer is a member of the IAB Digital Video Committee and serves as Hulu’s director of research and sales strategy, where he is responsible for all research efforts across Hulu’s business units. This encompasses audience measurement, advertising and marketing research, as well as global market research in support of product development. In addition, Bryon leads the company’s advertising sales strategy, where he is tasked with “making it easy” for advertisers to buy Hulu. Prior to joining Hulu in 2008, Bryon held marketing and media research roles at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group and ABC Television Network. Bryon holds a BA in Anthropology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, and he began his career in the media planning department of Ogilvy & Mather in New York City.