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Facebook's 'Festive Playbook' to help brands build campaigns for Diwali, and beyond

Based on current consumer trends, the ‘Festive Playbook’ highlights that video, AR, influencers and messaging will play a crucial role in driving the discovery of brands, shopping and celebrations this festive season.

With people spending more time online and continuing to stay at home as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, video, augmented reality (AR), influencers, vernacular content and messaging will play a crucial role in driving the discovery of brands, shopping and celebrations this festive season. This, and more, was revealed in Facebook’s ‘Festive Playbook’ that the company just unveiled to help brands connect with shoppers on digital this Diwali.

The ‘Festive Playbook’ brings together insights from key Facebook-commissioned researches, most notably from two distinct studies with YouGov and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), along with other public sources. It will help provide the industry with key consumer insights and trends that it (the industry) needs to keep in mind for building and delivering effective campaigns in the run-up to Diwali, and beyond.

The ‘Festive Playbook’ comes on the back of a series of efforts by Facebook to work with the industry, and help in the recovery of businesses. Earlier this year, Facebook collaborated with BCG and released a series of reports that delved into consumer behaviour changes since the pandemic, and its impact on distinct industries. Subsequently, Facebook tied up with Ogilvy to release a ‘Creative Playbook’, and also collaborated with GroupM to unveil a ‘Media Playbook’ to help businesses navigate the ‘new normal’.

In a press release, Sandeep Bhushan, director and head of global marketing solutions (GMS), Facebook India, said, “Diwali and the weeks leading up to it are critical to businesses in India, and, consequently, to the economy. More than half the purchases in key festival spends of fashion and tech devices are now influenced by what consumers see on their mobile phones. A significant digital acceleration has happened on the back of social media, and with 400 million-plus Indians connected on the Facebook family of apps in India, we will play a consequential role this festive season in both brand discovery and delivering truly incremental business outcomes.”

There are six key consumer trends that the ‘Festive Playbook’ lays out for businesses in the upcoming festive season. With exactly a month left to go for Diwali, these insights could help businesses connect with consumers in the most engaging and effective way possible.

[1] Gear up for a potential surge in demand: A stronger demand can be expected this festive season, as the country (India) continues to ‘unlock’ and businesses continue to adapt to the ‘new normal’ by building solutions and experiences that are relevant for these times. The Facebook-BCG consumer behaviour study had revealed that consumers plan to increase online spends in key categories such as apparel, consumer packaged goods (CPG), mobile phones, home care and automobiles in the coming weeks and months.

[2] Festive shopping can be a positive outlet in difficult times: Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed in the YouGov research said that they start their Diwali shopping at least two weeks in advance. Forty-five per cent of the millennials (25-39 years) surveyed identified themselves as early shoppers. The research also showed that there is 17 per cent more spending by early shoppers, something brands can leverage. Apparel, food, electronics followed by jewellery, health and beauty were the top shopping categories last year (2019). Interestingly, the ‘Festive Playbook’ also shows that the festive season lasts beyond Diwali, going up to January, giving brands a long window to connect with the consumers and drive sales.

[3] Indians discover and purchase their favourite brands on the Facebook family of apps: Facebook and Instagram together influence nearly 80 per cent of Gen Z and millennials’ festive shopping, according to the YouGov study. Across categories, such as beauty and personal care, CPG and auto, people said that the Facebook family of apps emerged as their leading source of discovery and evaluation, ahead of other online channels and sources.

[4] Virtual experiences and ‘made-for-social’ videos inspire action among festive shoppers: Video, AR and interactive ads will play a leading role this festive season, as people continue to remain at home. According to the YouGov study, more than a half of the festive shoppers post or watch videos on their social media feeds, and 46 per cent would like to see videos that get them into the holiday mood. Fifty-six per cent of the festive shoppers for apparel and beauty say that product videos would help them with their purchases. One out of four automobile consumers, who have cancelled/postponed their purchases, would also reconsider, if there is minimal contact with the dealership.

[5] Influencers and vernacular content resonate with festive shoppers: Influencers and vernacular content will also drive festive purchases this Diwali, and beyond. Forty-six per cent of the apparel consumers said that they are influenced by videos posted by influencers during the festive season. Sixty-eight per cent of the festive shoppers also prefer to see advertising in the local language, and half of those surveyed said it’s important to have information available in a local language while shopping.

[6] Indians prefer messaging brands while festive shopping: The YouGov study showed that Indians prefer messaging businesses during festive shopping. According to YouGov findings, 48 per cent used messaging service to track an order and 45 per cent used it to purchase a product in last year’s festive season. Sixty-one per cent of the respondents said that they used WhatsApp for messaging a business, and 36 per cent said they used Facebook Messenger.

One of the key takeaways from Facebook's ‘Festive Playbook’ is that irrespective of whether consumers select offline or online channels for their purchase, they are now discovering and engaging with brands on their smartphones. It is a key consumer behaviour trend that brands will need to build for in the run-up to Diwali, and beyond.