July 2017

Summer: when desktops sleep, but consumers do not

Changes to consumers' digital behavior during the summer are pretty intuitive if we take a few minutes to think about how our own lives change when the weather gets warmer.

Summer used to be a time when consumer purchases across many categories dropped, and when reaching consumers with any marketing message - whether on TV or through traditional digital - was challenging. People go on vacation. People spend more time outside. People just aren't in their normal, digitally-focused routines.

But, as mobile has matched - and, in some cases, overtaken - desktop usage, people no longer walk away from the digital consumption during the summer. Instead that consumption just shifts from our desktops to our smartphones.

According to Allison Mooney, "People are more likely to use a mobile device to go online in the summer months than in other seasons."1 This usage includes everything from everyday search to researching more vacation-related topics; like maps, weather, news and travel info.

Not only are consumers using mobile to stay informed during the summer, they're also snapping photos, recording videos and using social media much more than the rest of the year. According to Facebook, in summer 2015 the rate at which people posted on their platform "increased 26% on the rest of the year, while sharing of video content increased by 43%." 2 And doesn't that make sense? After all, there's just more to share in the summer.

So what does this all mean for brands? Here are a few key things to remember about reaching your consumers during sweet summertime.

  • Go mobile first. It's not just mobile friendly that matters in the summer - it's mobile first. Optimizing your experience for consumers' mobile devices goes a long way toward getting them to engage.
  • Target your media. Shift digital media (and those precious media dollars) to channels your consumers are most likely to see, like search and paid social.
  • Speak the vacationer's language. How does your brand, product or message fit with consumers' preferences in the moment?3 Get that down, and you'll have an easier time competing with ocean views and piña coladas for their attention.
  • Be in the know on seasonal trends. As Hampton Roads says, "Dig into the data to uncover seasonal trends in your category, while keeping your eye on broader shifts in behavior."4 Knowing what consumers look for in the summer is key to tailoring your engagement so it gets on their radar.
  • Optimize your email. 60% of email is now read on a mobile device. If your email is mobile friendly, it can be a powerful tool for reaching sun-soaked customers. For more, check out these tips.

Sources Cited

1. Mooney, Allisson, Rost, Jordan, and Johnsmeyer Brad. Think With Google, " From BBQ to Burns: 5 Hot Summer Trends to Plan For." https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/bbq-to-burns-summer-trends/

2. Hutchinson, Andrew. Social Media Today, "Facebook Releases Data on Usage Trends Over Summer." http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/facebook-releases-data-usage-trends-over-summer-infographic

3. Ellington Marketing Soulutions, "Summer is Coming and so is an Increase in Facebook Traffic." http://ellingtonmarketingsolutions.com/summer-is-coming-and-so-is-an-increase-in-facebook-traffic/

4. Hampton Roads Marketing, "Updated Consumer Trends Impacted by Hot Summer Weather." http://www.hamptonroadsmarketingnow.com/blog/updated-consumer-trends-impacted-by-hot-summer-weather

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By Kristen Clough
VP, Strategy & Analytics