With a difficult festive season on the way, marketers should waste no time preparing

A potential recession has thrown dark clouds over the upcoming holiday shopping season, and cast doubts for marketers. But Outbrain’s Head of Sales ANZ, Yury Glikin, reveals that there’s still a strong opportunity to create a powerful shopping moment.

In 2022, the countdown to the end of the year and all its celebrations hasn’t felt the same as it used to.

It’s been a tough year for everyone, and the last few months have seen news cycles dominated by the slackening economy and warnings of tough times ahead. 

It’s this doom and gloom that makes it seem as if the upcoming holiday season could be a lost cause for marketers. But in fact, there’s strong evidence to suggest otherwise.

Outbrain recently published its annual Holiday Shopping research report, digging deep into how consumers are spending this season. It revealed that even with all the financial uncertainty, there are still ways to reach consumers willing to spend, and even those more reluctant to part with their money.

So it’s now up to marketers to make the most of this holiday period, and to seize the opportunity that’s rapidly approaching.

Behind the buzz on the cost of living crisis

If you’ve spent more time than usual worrying about your personal finances, you’re not alone. The cost of living crisis is continuing to have ripple effects across the country, and it’s now one of the most important considerations for consumers. 

These concerns are now evident in the ways people consume information online. Page views for Business and Finance content, for example, skyrocketed 106 percent between May and June this year. That’s a massive increase, and an indication that even people not typically focused on this content are now taking an interest. 

Brands that have picked up on this shift are already starting to see the benefits of updating their messaging to reflect it. Brand messaging that focuses on current economic conditions has already begun to drive consumer clicks, which has grown by 40 percent from Q1 to Q4 this year. Communication relevant to the cost of living crisis isn’t just a way for brands to be timely – it can also be a key marketing tactic as well. 

But the cost of living crisis won’t last forever, and there are signs that it will ease enough for the holiday shopping season to gather steam. Outbrain’s research discovered that 61 percent of consumers surveyed globally believe their personal finances will get better over the next six months. 

What seems apparent is that consumers are preparing to emerge from a period of austerity.  Which means the holiday season is as crucial a time as ever for brands to show up for their customers. 

Yury Glikin.

Making the most of this year’s festive period 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there have always been shoppers that are more reluctant to part with their money. These are the frugal shoppers, who look to save their money and get the most value from whatever purchases they make. 

But frugality doesn’t mean marketers should give up on reaching them – in fact, there are a number of reasons why it’s still worth targeting this group. 

More careful spenders will take time to research products before buying, and the research tells us that 50 percent of them are loyal to the brands they like, compared to just 40 percent of other shoppers. So while it may be a tougher job to convince these consumers to spend, the long-term benefits are higher. 

To reach these customers, brands need to be present across a variety of channels, particularly on the open web. Outbrain’s research revealed that more surveyed consumers typically find out about new brands and products via ads on the open web, compared to social media. Videos, reviews, recommendations – these are all ways consumers are looking to make purchases, and the open web is increasingly the place where these decisions are being made.

It is also crucial to emphasise convenience this year, as supply chain issues continue to increase the cost of doing business across the globe. Free delivery or quick delivery times are powerful methods to entice or attract new customers, with 68 percent of surveyed shoppers saying free delivery increases their chance of buying a product. Providing this service not only appeals to frugal shoppers, but also makes your brand more attractive to new audiences.

So while it may seem like this year’s holiday shopping season will be a hard slog, it might actually be a blessing in disguise. Look at it as a chance to reach new customers, build long lasting loyalty, and better establish your brand for years to come. And, with any luck, we may still enjoy the end of 2022. 


All statistics: ‘The Marketer’s Guide to Boost Sales in 2022: Data, Insights and Native Advertising Recommendations from Outbrain’, Outbrain 2022

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