Consumers lifestyles are changing and marketers must adapt – by Vamp’s Karl Mapstone

With Ramadan around the corner and COVID-19 continuing to make an impact, Vamp’s Karl Mapstone advises how brands can cater to stay-at-home customers

 As Ramadan approaches, I always advise clients to adapt their strategies to align with the  inevitable shift with customer behaviour. This goes beyond just referencing the holiday is your communications. It’s about marketers looking at their customer’s lifestyles and offering them meaningful content that fits into that lifestyle.

This year, it’s more important than ever. Coronavirus is likely to intensify the seasonal shifts in consumer behaviour caused by Ramadan. People are self-isolating or being forced to quarantine, so are spending more time at home. Away from offices, away from gyms, shops and restaurants.

The first step in delivering advertising that will resonate is for marketers to understand how this shift impacts consumers lifestyle and spending habits.

Social media usage surge

During Ramadan, people spend more time on social media. According to Facebook’s managing director for Middle East and North Africa, Ramez Shehadi, ”consumption and time spent on our platforms increases.” Later nights and more downtime means there’s a 5% increased use of Facebook’s platforms. It may sound small, but that translates to nearly 58 million additional hours.

Meanwhile in China, where people have been forced to stay at home to curb the spread of COVID-19, they have reached for their smart phones for some human contact. Weibo saw usage grow by 31% and Douyin (Chinese TikTok), reportedly grew by 102%. This is a trend we can safely assume will continue elsewhere.

Mobile content and commerce

It’s not only social interaction. We also see both Ramadan and the impact of COVID-19 causing people to consume more content online. Google does not disclose total watch time for YouTube during Ramadan, but says that in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, viewing of sports videos jumps by 22% and travel videos by 30%.

With Coronavirus quarantine, it’s a similar story. Michael Norris, Research and Strategy manager at AgencyChina, a consultancy in Shanghai, told the AFR that while internal research showed that skin care purchases in China are down 30%, time spent watching skin care-related video is up 300%.

Brands have already been reacting to this increased appetite for content, adapting their strategies to cater for bored Chinese locals. Nike for example has been posting home workout videos to their TikTok channel, replacing weights with water bottles.

Tips to capture attention

It’s a unique and crucial time for brands to be present on social media, as their customers spend more time browsing for products and entertainment. Take time to assess your current content strategy and see how it can be optimised.

  1. Think mobile first
    Your customers will be spending the majority of their screen time on mobile, so ensure your ads are set up for this. Invest in mobile-first content that is instantly engaging and can stop a social scroller in their tracks. For social ads, this means fast edits, animation and sounds that will help grab your customers attention.
  2. Call to action
    Focus on conversions by adding simple a call to action in your content and advertising. Whether it’s ‘visit our website’, or ‘shop now’, a clear message will help point your customers – who may well be ill, hungry or sleep deprived – in the right direction.
  3. Entertain with video
    With social users spending more time online, and looking to be entertained, this is a great time to trial some longer form video. Influencer content is a great way to provide a storytelling element and build a stronger connection with your customers. Just remember to keep it optimised for mobile, with a vertical view and subtitles.