Column by Scott Thorne
Posted by Scott Thorne on November 6, 2017 @ 2:41 am CT
Facebook has become the go-to advertising medium for most people in the hobby game (and comic) industry, much to the dismay of my local newspaper publisher. We were discussing advertising earlier this week, well, he wanted to convince me to buy advertising since he reaches 35,000 people daily but didn’t have a very good answer when I asked him if he could get my message out to just those that were My Little Pony fans or Ticket to Ride players. Unfortunately, despite the growth in boardgaming, the industry is still a niche market, only doing a fraction of the sales that video games or movies do, meaning that Facebook and other social media, with their capabilities to target specific niche market segments moreso than traditional print media, prove very valuable to stores operating in the industry. That is why I found this holiday advertising guide sent out by Facebook interesting, especially some of the statistics the company provides (all of the statistics quoted come from the guide). Like many "ebooks," it has about 1-2 sentences in large type per page so you can read it in just a few minutes.
Granted that Facebook conducted the research, but the statistic saying that 49% of surveyed shoppers indicate that Facebook will prove influential in their holiday buying give a pretty good indication that if you want to reach holiday shoppers, you need to plan on having some form of Facebook presence. Even if most of your holiday sales come in the form of gift cards or certificates, a store needs to have top-of-mind awareness in the mind of the customer and making sure your customers see you on Facebook is one way to achieve that.
I don’t know if it is a case of chicken and the egg but Facebook’s research says that 47% of consumers start thinking about holiday shopping prior to Halloween. I am not certain if we do that because of the avalanche of Christmas merchandise and décor we start seeing in September, or if retailers put out the holiday stuff in September because customers already start thinking about it, but seeing Christmas merchandise alongside black cats and Halloween candy is a fact of shopping today. Incidentally, Facebook also says that time spent by users on the website starts increasing in the early part of October, peaking at New Year’s Eve, then slowly decreasing over the first half of the year.
We have two huge shopping days coming up in November. All US retailers are familiar with Black Friday, which, while it does not generate quite the massive sales it did in the past, still moves a huge chunk of merchandise. However, few US retailers participate in Singles Day, the largest shopping day of the year bar none. Primarily "celebrated" in China, Chinese shoppers will spend about 5 times as much on Singles Day (November 11th) as US shoppers spend on Black Friday. Eventually, some US retailers will figure out how to get a chunk of that.
Moving on to December, 62% of your customers will make their purchases between December 1st and 24th with 25% making their purchases between December 11th and 20th. As December 25th gets closer, more customers turn to brick and mortar stores to make sure they get the items they want on time. Incidentally 65% will continue with holiday shopping during the period between December 26th and January 1st especially as they start using those gift cards they received for Christmas and 46% will still be in the mood for holiday shopping through much of January. So you’ve still got time to get your holiday ducks (turkeys?) in a row.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.