As part of ongoing research on occasion-based marketing, our data intelligence team at Online Circle Digital has used digital intelligence software to analyse online trends and social media conversations around Easter, including more than 800 thousand pieces of shared public content such as tweets and Facebook updates, and 1 million Google searches from 2013.
By delving into this great swathe of data, we unearthed some correlations which can form actionable insights that can provide retailers with an edge over their competitors when leveraging Easter in 2014.
When to start and finish an Easter-driven marketing campaign
We analysed online mentions of Easter between December 2012 and April 2013.
Twitter data shows that Australians began publicly referring to Easter just two to three weeks before the actual occasion, with these mentions growing significantly higher day by day in the final week before Easter.
Interestingly, in December 2012 and January 2013 there were some adverse consumer responses to the immediate shift in focus from Christmas to Easter.
The associated negative sentiment was often directed at the retailer (eg. “Retailer name just ruined my last days of Christmas”). A positive trend toward Easter grew as the occasion drew closer, with the steepest growth in this positivity occurring two to three weeks out. Perhaps not unexpectedly, online mentions quickly petered out in the days after Easter.
These findings suggest that to capitalise and leverage this trend, the best time to activate a campaign is two to three weeks prior Easter, and the best time to finish is almost straight afterwards.
Special attention should also be paid to the first day of the Easter long weekend, as it has the highest online activity for shopping-related mentions.
Analysing online conversations associated with Easter shopping shows that they take place during typical store opening hours, with the audience posting between 9am and 5pm, but peaking at 11:30am.
This means that Easter is relevant for realtime social media, paid and organic communications, as it presents the opportunity of consideration marketing for last minute shopping, leisure and entertainment.
Easter and retail
Although it makes sense that Australians are interested in chocolate and hot cross buns during Easter, our study also showed a deep relationship between Easter and retailers.
Woolworths, Coles, Kmart, and Big W are examples of retailers increasingly mentioned and searched for online during the Easter period, with opening hours and catalogues key topics of conversation.
There’s also a clear correlation between the increase in online searches for Easter recipes and food with searches for convenience retailers.
Some correlations found in our research are less obvious, hidden opportunities. An example is online searches for ‘Easter colouring’ which peaked on March 28, just prior to the long weekend.
So what is an actionable insight from this data? It should make you think about the different ways you can engage your audience and exactly who your audience is on this occasion. From colouring competitions for kids instore, to Easter colouring book giveaways, or gifts with purchase, you are only limited by your marketing imagination.
Our preliminary data analysis of 2014 trends also shows a sharp increase in DIY and craft activities, with online Easter mentions and searches connected with retailers like Bunnings.
Taking into account the diversity of Australia, don’t neglect the opportunity to engage consumers in their native language.
As searches and mentions of Easter related keywords increase in English, the same occurs in other languages in Australia. For example, mentions in Australia of the term 复活 节 (which is Mandarin for Easter) grew exponentially prior to the occasion.
There is clearly great potential for customer loyalty if you consider a digital campaign executed in the great variety of languages spoken across Australia.
What to do
Remember that holidays are personal times for family and friends. Consumers don’t want your brand intruding on their special occasion. This is not to say your brand can’t be at the party – it can, just be a guest, and not a gatecrasher.
Finally, there are plenty of opportunities to provide convenience and value for consumers.
To give your brand exposure over the Easter holiday, prepare your tweets and Facebook updates and consider the best times to be communicating with your followers.
During holidays, people have lots of time on their hands. Eventually they’ll want a break from family and friends and login to their social media accounts. Just make sure when they’re there, they see you!
Lucio Ribeiro is lead strategist at Online Circle Digital in Australia.
This article first appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 1995.