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How Travel Brands Should be Using Social Media

As millions of vacationers now share vacation snaps and travel experiences online, social media has become a holiday browsing hotspot and commentary hive to inspire travelers globally.

And with around 8 in 10 social media users going on a domestic or overseas holiday at least once a year, there are lots of decision-making consumers at travel marketers’ fingertips.

How can travel brands make the most of the opportunity?

We asked 2,000 vacationers in the UK and U.S. questions around holiday planning and social posting. Here’s what we found.

1. User-generated content still works.

There’s no shortage of user-generated content (UGC) on social media that keeps friends and family updated and allows users to save a snapshot of their experiences; two thirds post about their holiday on social media, with 4 in 10 posting while on the holiday.

This has a huge impact on vacationers’ decisions. Consumers are actually more likely to discover travel destinations through content their peers share on social media – whether that’s photos/videos (37%) or recommendations (32%) – than branded travel ads (24%).

When researching potential destinations, social media emerged ahead of review sites like TripAdvisor, travel brands’ own sites, asking friends, and price comparison sites like Skyscanner. A third agreed social media content influences their destination choices more than content seen on TV, in print media or elsewhere online.

UGC is still a win-win for holiday makers and brands.

The brands’ experiences and destinations on offer are showcased free-of-charge, and consumers get to share themselves at their best on their own feeds. Singapore’s tourism board is just one example of a brand that has tapped into this strategy, inviting travelers to participate in their #VisitSingapore campaign on Instagram. The hashtag has generated more than 500,000 posts to date.

Graphic showing where users find inspiration for holidays

2. Authentic content showcasing local experiences has the biggest impact.

As traveling is far more accessible than it used to be – in part thanks to the digitalization of the industry – marketers aren’t just targeting the affluent anymore. Knowing exactly what will capture attention could really make the difference.

When asked what would sway their destination choice, it’s not surprising that climate/weather came out on top, especially among UK respondents (68%). Beyond this, the local history and culture of a place was very important for half of consumers.

Some travel brands may be playing it too safe with shots of familiar destinations or landmarks.

Instead, showcasing the local life and unique experiences could be the persuading point, especially among a new generation of travelers who want to learn about cultures rather than seek the sun. The success of Airbnb Experiences, which offer one-of-a-kind activities designed and hosted by locals, reaffirms this new travel trend.

For social media, UGC is the obvious option, as travelers are naturally more likely to post content that feels genuine and reflects the destination most accurately.

Working with the right influencers can be another effective way to ensure content is authentic and of high quality – and with guaranteed impressions – especially as travel is one of the categories where influencers are most influential. But it’s essential that brands and influencers are transparent about any paid partnerships, especially when marketing a costly holiday or experience.

3. Instagram is a natural fit for sharing, but don’t underestimate dark social.

Instagram’s format naturally lends itself to travel content – #travel is included in 363m posts on the platform – but Facebook is still the go-to for the majority of vacationers to share content when they’re away (58% vs. Instagram at 43%).

For 16-24s, Instagram just takes the lead. Travel brands’ social presence or initiatives across the platforms should ensure they’re not missing out on ways to connect with all audiences.

WhatsApp falls next in line, giving a small insight into dark social sharing.

The implication of this invisible sharing for marketers is they may be less able to track what consumers are discussing in private messaging, and the likelihood is your brand’s content is getting shared far more than you might think.

The world of dark social is still relatively uncertain, but creating content strategies tailored to encouraging travelers to share on public platforms could prove a hugely effective way for travel brands to boost their engagement with these audiences.

Alongside the challenge of keeping up with the developments that new technologies, AI and chatbots are bringing to the travel industry, it’s more essential than ever for marketers to get the most from their brand’s social presence.

Consumers don’t just want to see holiday or travel-based ads.

To stand out, travel marketers need to think outside the box, delivering authentic and easily shareable content that showcases what a destination truly has to offer.

Click through to Social Media Trends 2019 Report

Campaign of the Month: We Are Social – ‘Ask Me Anything’

Girl looking up at sky

Social media platforms and content aggregators, like Reddit, provide useful and entertaining sounding boards for the opinions of internet users across the globe.

But vetting the validity of this content is a familiar challenge. This leaves platforms open to becoming breeding grounds for wrong and harmful information.   

One case in point is Holocaust denial. While in 2019 it may surprise many to see this as a recurring phenomenon, the facts show the problem is widespread.

In an effort to raise awareness around the issue, We Are Social partnered with the National Holocaust Centre and Museum and Green Cave People to form a campaign tackling one of the most prolific conspiracy theories plaguing digital platforms.

Released ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day on the 27th January, We Are Social’s meaningful and impactful campaign seeks to shift perceptions amongst a young, digital audience.

Here’s why ‘Ask Me Anything’ is our January campaign of the month.

The Insight

Around two-thirds of the world’s population either deny the Holocaust, or don’t know it happened.  

This is according to Diego Chicharro, Senior Strategist at We Are Social, who also reveals “this proportion only goes up when it comes to younger, more connected generations”.

The suggestion is that, if left unaddressed, the proportion of people who deny the Holocaust, or are unaware that it took place, will increase overtime.

This troubling insight provided the basis for the campaign, bringing to light the damaging potential of widespread, misguided content surrounding the Holocaust.

The Message

The campaign begins with a music video designed to strike a chord with a young, digital audience who are likely to feel more removed from the events of the Holocaust than older generations.

The story of Janine, an 86 year-old Holocaust survivor, is overlaid onto an R&B soundtrack by Kapoo (an American rapper) with a young female actress playing Janine as a child in the video.

We Are Social then contacted Reddit, one of the platforms on which Holocaust denial content has become prolific, requesting an ‘Ask Me Anything’ question and answer session with Janine and Kapoo.

This tactic is often used by A-list celebrities to speak to internet users on a human level.

Why it Worked

The campaign found a unique, open and honest means of talking about the Holocaust in a way that resonated with young social media users.  

Using the very platforms on which this kind of toxic opinion spreads to promote the campaign both effectively amplified its reach and allowed its powerful sentiments to tackle the problem where it originated.

Diego offered us an exclusive comment on the message and delivery of the campaign:

“Our challenge was to use social media to get a young, desensitized and hard-to-reach audience involved in Janine’s story first hand, with a total budget of zero.

Reddit, the self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’ is probably the most influential online community and where many of the conversations about the Holocaust, informative or toxic, start to spread.

Janine, myself and the team are completely overwhelmed by the response we’ve received from the community and we’re looking forward to finding new ways to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.”

The question and answer session will be posted to over 50 million users on one of the largest subreddits on the platform.

It proves that with a truly impactful insights behind you, you can make active efforts to promote positive change.

“The internet can be a tremendously powerful tool for change,” says Diego, “and we believe it is our duty, as the world’s biggest social media agency, to use it for good when given the chance.”

Graphic: Social Media 2019 Trends

5 Digital Trends You Might Have Missed in 2018

As we head further into 2019, we have a chance to make predictions for the year to come, and check in with what transpired from the year just gone.

Our data identifies some developments that took hold in 2018, but didn’t register as much wider attention. Here are five trends from last year that might have slipped under your radar, and how they might develop in 2019.

1. Video calling may pave the way for virtual hangouts.

Whenever mobile video is discussed – particularly for younger age groups – it’s almost always in the context of entertainment.

Watching videos on mobile rose sharply last year, but there’s another type of video on the rise.

Video calling is often talked about from a business perspective, like using software to keep in touch with remote colleagues. But in 2018, video calling increased for all nearly all demographics, including students as well as professionals.

All age groups are increasing their number of video calls, but Gen Z are the ones to watch, as they could define how the trend develops in 2019.

Social services like Houseparty and Squad revolve around video calling, allowing friends to hang out when they’re not physically close. They point towards a possible new frontier in social media, where entertainment and communication are more closely interlinked in virtual hangout spaces.

2. Smartphone challenger brands coming from China onto consumers’ radars.

The global smartphone market continues to be dominated by Samsung and Apple, but there are some early signs of change.

The parties doing the most to upset the status quo are Huawei and Xiaomi, the Chinese phone manufacturers headquartered in Shenzhen and Beijing, respectively.

Just days into 2019, Apple issued its first profits warning since 2002, and, while it’s not the only factor, the growing market share of these Chinese challengers is one of the reasons behind Apple’s diminished position.

Our data finds not just an increase in ownership of those challenger brands, but an even sharper increase in consumers considering purchasing them.

There are caveats here, though. Saying a brand is under consideration doesn’t mean consumers will actually buy the brand, or be comfortable with moving from one mobile operating system to another. But it’s increasingly clear that consumers are open to a wider selection of brands when buying a new phone, with Huawei and Xiaomi squarely in the mix.

3. Travel is getting a revamp through apps.

While almost all activities are now mobile-first, some are worth paying particular attention to. Travel is one example.

There’s an increase in internet users going to travel websites on their mobile, as well as those using travel apps.

The growth in travel app usage is one of the biggest and most consistent growths in any app category we track.

Both developments point to fundamental changes in travel behavior. The smartphone’s becoming more relevant to travelers in the planning, buying, and visiting stage of their journeys.

Mobile has compressed many aspects of travel, from tickets to accommodation, through navigation and check-in, allowing internet users to access everything they need in one place.

You could argue this goes even further, thanks to the simultaneous growth of visual platforms like Instagram. They provide the ideal forum for travel inspiration to take hold. Researching, booking and arranging a trip is just a few taps away from seeing a tempting vacation spot.

4. Alipay makes a bid to conquer APAC.

South East Asia will be a battleground across a number of online industries in 2019.

With hundreds of millions of users due to come online, tech companies are jostling to compete for potential new customers.

Mobile payments, where a lack of infrastructure for credit cards or PCs means smartphones have become crucial for commerce, is seeing a lot of activity.

Hong Kong is an exception to the regional picture. It’s a mature market, with high penetration for internet access and credit card ownership. But, bordering China, it’s a handy case study for tracking the battle between Western and Chinese mobile payments services across the region.

Apple Pay took an early foothold, leading the pack at the start of 2018, but as the year progressed, Alipay rocketed to the top. Alipay’s parent company Ant Financial has benefited from a device-agnostic approach that lets the service spread easily across users, as well as a good number of visiting Chinese who expect to use the payments services they’re comfortable with when they travel.

But they’re far from the only contenders. Dreams of continental domination from Apple, Ant Financial, Tencent or PayPal in South East Asia may be checked by local providers with market-specific expertise.

Both Grab (based in Singapore) and Go-Jek (Indonesia) have spun off payments services from popular ride-hailing apps that are well placed to make waves in the region.

5. Privacy concerns are still finding their footing.

So far, we’ve covered some trends that might not have attracted as many headlines as they emerged through the last 12 months. There’s one trend we can now turn to that many expected would take hold, but hasn’t yet done so.

In the first months of 2018, data privacy was rarely out of the headlines. There was the long countdown to GDPR Day on May 25, as well as the revelations about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.

When fieldwork for our Q1 2018 data took place during those months, we saw a spike in the percentage of people concerned about how the internet would affect their personal privacy. But in our later waves of research, we found that it was just that – a spike.

The GDPR, and scandals in the social media industry, led to consumers feeling deep concern at the time, but so far it hasn’t instigated a sea change in consumer attitudes.

Once the GDPR passed, consumer sentiment reverted back to normal, making this a 2018 trend that, despite a lot of industry focus, hasn’t quite taken off in the way that some expected.

A bespoke survey we carried out in September 2018 found consumers’ biggest frustrations with the GDPR were from a user experience perspective, especially having to read long privacy notices. The legislation has created some fatigue with users who have become used to seamlessly browsing websites and apps – and this may have chipped away at the concern they felt early last year.

That’s not to say data privacy has become irrelevant – far from it.

6 in 10 are still concerned about their data privacy.

Legislators have already been busy this year. One of the biggest headlines at the start of 2019 was the €50 million fine handed down to Google from French regulators CNIL, who cited Google’s blanket opt-in to data collection as unsatisfactory.

2019 promises more tension between websites and apps who have to provide transparency to their users about data collection, without compromising user experience.

Mapping 2019 Trends

Not all trends are obvious, and not all of them pan out as expected. One thing is for sure: 2019 promises even more twists and turns.

For brands to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s really happening in the industry, granular consumer data, harnessed at regular intervals, provides vital insight and direction.

The Evolution of Online Sports Betting in the U.S.

In May 2018, the U.S. supreme court lifted a federal law ban on sports betting. Until then, Nevada was the main location for legalized sports betting. The ruling was fueled by New Jersey’s years-long battle for legalization.

This historic development opened the doors for individual states to legalize sports betting, and offered the opportunity to break into a lucrative industry.

Following the ruling, many states, including New Jersey, have legalized sports betting and are set to cash in as a result, and relationships between sports leagues and sports betting operators have thawed.

With the upcoming Super Bowl fast approaching, we decided to dive into the online sports betting landscape in the U.S to understand what legalization means for sports leagues and betting operators.

We surveyed 1,553 internet users to explore their perceptions behind online sports betting, and dug deeper into the behaviors and motivations of online sports bettors. Here’s what we found.

What is the current sports betting landscape?

Sports betting remains relatively niche – around 1 in 5 U.S. internet users say they’ve placed a sports bet in the last 12 months. But with the sports betting market evolving rapidly, this number is likely to grow.

For internet users who plan to watch the Super Bowl on the 3rd February 2019, the number of those who have placed a sports bet increases to 29%. This shows the influence of the major sports leagues when it comes to betting.

The most popular place to bet is online (69%) thanks to the convenience and accessibility that smartphones offer. More younger audiences are placing bets online, whereas the favorite spot for sports bettors aged 55-64 is a casino (45%).

Our data shows nearly 70% of online sports bettors gamble on sports at least once a week, which is more frequent than their UK counterparts.

Interestingly, there’s no big difference in betting rates between states that have legalized sports betting and those who haven’t.

Our data shows U.S. internet users are betting across all states, regardless of legal status.

Motivations behind online sports betting.

When we asked sports bettors what they enjoy most about sports betting, just over 60% cited the feeling they get from winning and 55% said the anticipation is fun.

Financial gain didn’t come in first place, showing money isn’t the primary motivator – the adrenaline rush and excitement of taking part are.

We dug a little deeper into what motivated online sports bettors to first place a sports bet online.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, friends and family recommendations are the primary motivators. This demonstrates the power and value of word-of-mouth over traditional brand discovery methods, such as TV adverts. This is because recommendations from friends or family are often perceived to be more trustworthy. It also suggests that people are more likely to get involved if they’re surrounded by online bettors, whether that’s friends or family.

When we ran a parallel survey in the UK, the results were quite different.

Sign-up offers was the number one influencer (48%); conversely, in the U.S. it’s the last. This reinforces the importance of brands recognizing national differences and tailoring their approach to best fit consumer needs and habits.

In the UK, the online betting industry widely uses sign-up incentives as a marketing tactic, and the bettors are naturally more receptive to this strategy.

How do U.S. consumers feel about the new regulations?

Our study shows that 56% of internet users in the U.S. are aware of the lifted federal ban on sports betting.

Just over half of U.S. internet users support the legalization of sports betting.

Only 10% oppose the legalization, with the remaining users either saying they’re undecided or simply don’t care.

Almost 3 in 4 internet users agree it makes sense for betting to be legalized because people are betting regardless. And with the majority of U.S. internet users supporting legalization, the general attitude appears to be: it’s happening anyway so why not make the most of it?

What does this mean for sports leagues and betting operators?

For many years, sports leagues resisted the legalization of sports betting because it risked damaging the integrity of their games. However, since last year’s Supreme Court ruling many have been quick to pivot in the other direction.

Many leagues are recognizing the benefits of working with betting operators.

The NBA partnered with MGM Resorts International soon after the ruling and several other major U.S. professional sports leagues have followed suit.

The most popular leagues to bet on are the top 5 U.S. professional sports leagues.

Taking the coveted first spot is the NFL with 77% of sports bettors choosing to gamble on this league – not too surprising considering the Super Bowl is one of the most watched sporting events on TV. Millions of people from around the world tune in to not only watch the game, but enjoy the half-time show and commercials. And with the Super Bowl kicking off this week, we can expect to see a surge in betting activity soon.

Sports leagues are set to benefit from the wider legalization of sports betting. They can expect to see increased revenues largely as a result of spending from betting operators on things like advertising, data, and sponsorships.

Legalized betting will likely create a surge in viewership because those who have placed a bet on a particular league will want to watch the game. And if the team wins, this could also encourage consumers to purchase the league’s merchandise.

Betting operators will also benefit by being able to use official, real-time sports league data – especially to develop their in-game betting offerings, a phenomenon which is expected to grow in the U.S.

If the the major leagues bring in more viewers, they will be able to charge more money for ads – and 30 second ad slots are already reported to be selling for upwards of $5m at Super Bowl LIII.

This, in turn, has a knock-on benefit for brands who advertise during the Super Bowl. Our data shows around 70% of internet users who plan to watch the Super Bowl are more likely to buy a product based on the ads they see, which is very promising.

There’s no doubt the U.S. sports betting market will continue to evolve. And in the meantime, the majority of U.S. consumers appear to be open-minded towards legalized sports betting, meaning we should see more businesses and brands wanting in on the action.

These 5 Brands Aced Personalized Marketing in 2018

It’s no secret that personalized marketing was a key talking point last year. And with consumers increasingly demanding more personalized experiences from brands, in 2019 it’s set to reach new heights.

Dynamic Yield surveyed 700 marketers and executives and found 92% believe personalization is valuable, with 49% of companies identifying it as a top-priority investment for them.

For every consumer-centric brand in 2019, garnering trust and loyalty through personalized experiences is top of mind. In 2018, these brands proved how to do it in a unique and compelling way.

1. Asos

Asos is the leading online fashion and cosmetics retailer who netted nearly 50 million app installs in 2017 alone.

Having uncovered the insight that 43% of its shoppers using the saved items function had more than 50 products in their list, and some as many as 500, the brand saw an opportunity to help its consumers organize and compartmentalize these items.

In response, the new Boards function was released in late 2018.

These boards allow its users to sort their saved items into specific categories, either created by the users themselves or suggested by the site. This way, their brand experience is completely personalized to their own wishes, and Asos gets more in-depth insight into the product categories most important to shoppers.

With personalization at the heart of the product, the brand plans to continuously improve using tech like machine learning to cater to its customers in more unique ways.

Asos Product Manager, Charmaine Aksakal, told Drapers, “Future updates, from sharing functionality to new layouts and product and Board suggestions driven by machine learning, will empower our customers with fresh ways to find and share inspiration and discover their personal style.”

2. Graze

Healthy snack company, Graze, is no stranger to to personalization. And it’s a brand that knows for personalization to work, it means data, and lots of it.

The business idea is deceivingly simple: customers share their snack likes, dislikes and allergies and receive a regular subscription box full of personalized goodies.

And with the brand offering around 500 products, there are 20 million possible snack combinations for any given Graze box.

It clearly shows the importance of knowing exactly what each consumer wants and, perhaps even more importantly, doesn’t want to receive.

Graze’s answer to this is to use advanced algorithms to decide what goes into each box.

According to the team, the algorithms use 300 million customer ratings of its products at a rate of 15,000 an hour, as well as other factors. The end result is that the snack boxes are customized based on data straight from the consumers, along with other elements like nutrition and variety.

Proving the power of personalized marketing with data at its core, Graze is one brand that’s keeping the focus squarely on its consumers.

“Graze is a data-fuelled culture,” Co-Founder and CTO Edd Read says. “We use it to make enormous decisions – we are incredibly inquisitive, almost obsessive on some things.”

3. Spotify

It’s no secret that music streaming giant, Spotify, loves to create marketing campaigns based on its in-house user data.

But for its end-of-year campaign, #2018Wrapped, the brand took personalization to the next level.

Going beyond its staple witty billboards, Spotify created an end-to-end experience, entirely tailored to each user.

First, the user received a personalized email revealing bite-sized insight into their listening habits in 2018, such as the number of songs they listened to, along with a CTA to click through to a customized microsite.

Next, after connecting the site to their account, the user got an editorialized overview of their 2018 music habits, including their top artists and genres, minutes spent listening, and even how their habits compare to other users’.

Finally, their personal account generated custom playlists for the user, such as their Top Songs of 2018 and Tastebreakers, i.e. songs they haven’t listened to but Spotify thinks they would enjoy based on their past interactions.

With #2018Wrapped, the brand made use of its wealth of data to create a highly personalized and easy-to-share campaign. It stretched across platforms, but still enabled users to really dig into the catalogue and reminisce over their relationship with the brand.

4. Nike

CEO of the legendary sports brand, Mark Parker, says Nike’s goal is “to be more personal at scale.”

And it makes sense. The brand recently revealed that Nike+ loyalty program members and users of Nike apps (such as SNKRS, a personalized shopping experience, and NikeID, a product personalization app) spend nearly triple what casual shoppers on Nike.com do.

With this in mind, the brand has made strides towards becoming more direct-to-consumer and personalized than ever, partly by acquiring consumer data and analytics company, Zodiac, for easy access to bespoke insight.

Having this kind of deeper insight into its target audience paid off during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

During the two previous tournaments, the brand kept a singular focus on viral ads featuring international stars of the sport, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

But last year, Nike decided to do something different.

Jesse Stollak, VP of Global Football Brand Marketing at Nike, says, “The first thing we looked at as we built the strategy was how the consumer landscape had evolved since 2014. We noticed how teen media consumption had shifted to time spent on Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp and YouTube versus traditional broadcast.”

It is increasingly difficult to create a single, one-size-fits-all piece of content, but when we are more specific in the story related to consumer interests and channel, we’re more relevant and thus more effective.”

The resulting campaign spread its content across paid and owned media, creating one overarching storyline and allowing consumers to choose when, where and how to take in the campaign in a way that suits them.

It’s personalization at its finest – adapting strategy and creative to truly meet consumers in terms of where and how they want to engage with the brand.

5. Netflix

No one does personalization quite like streaming giant, Netflix, and it all comes down to being completely data-driven.

And it’s an approach that’s paying off – our latest entertainment report shows Netflix is now the top choice for video streaming in all the global regions we cover.

It’s become a well-known fact that no two Netflix homepages look the same, owing to the tracking and algorithms used by the service.

But interestingly, it doesn’t look at traditionally important demographic data such as age or gender. Instead, it all comes down to behaviors.

“If you click play nowadays in the streaming world, it tells volumes more information that is a lot less superficial than getting someone’s gender and age,” says Todd Yellin, VP of Product at Netflix.

To make the most of this data, the brand uses extensive A/B testing, shows a number of different product images for each title, recommends titles based on viewing history, and experiments with the timings of its recommendations.

In the end, the success of Netflix’ personalization lies in identifying and providing the content and experience its users want – and that may look different to everyone who uses the service.

How to make personalized marketing work in 2019

Consumers now demand more tailored and personalized brand experiences than ever – something that poses a huge challenge to brands heading into 2019.

New technology is making personalized marketing more achievable, but it doesn’t remove the need for marketers to take a hands-on approach. Here’s how.

1. Get access to the right data and make it work for you.

Use granular consumer data, based on behaviors, attitudes and more, to get to know your consumers and their actions. Bring all your data together to create a single customer view, enabling you to deliver a consistently personalized experience, regardless of touchpoint.

2. Profile your target consumers.

Use consumer data to build out real-life personas of your target audience, and personalize your communications for each group.

3. Offer the experience they want.

Once you know your consumers intimately, you can offer dynamic content to personalize the customer experience based on their interests, attitudes and behaviors.

4. Be authentic.

By matching your target audience’s brand experiences to your data, you can show you care about what they want. This not only boosts loyalty, but puts a human – or authentic – face to the brand.

6 Things to Know about the Six Nations Audience

5% of the European internet population are expected to view the Six Nations championship this year, which makes it Europe’s most-watched rugby championship alongside the World Cup. The UK alone is home to more than a quarter of Six Nations viewers1.

According to a new report by UEFA:

“The Six Nations championship is the best attended sporting event in the world, beating high profile competitors like the NFL and the football World Cup.”

We took a close look at this audience to help brands understand their defining characteristics and sense check their campaigns for 2019 and beyond.

1. Six Nations viewers use search engines for brand discovery.

On a global level, 63% of Six Nations viewers say researching products and brands is one of their most important reasons for using the internet, which is 14 percentage points above the global average.

Although search engines only recently surpassed TV ads in the first stage of the purchase journey, Six Nations viewers are 36% more likely to cite them as their main source of brand discovery (51% do).

TV ads tend to be the first or second-most popular brand discovery channel, but this is not the case with Six Nations viewers. They’re more likely to cite family and friends’ recommendations than TV, though only by a small margin.

Out of the five countries with the highest concentration of Six Nations viewers, those in South Africa have the most traditional ways of discovering brands. Viewers there are more inclined to find out about them through TV ads.

While app-based brand discovery, vlogs, and expert/influencer posts are widely discussed in the industry, they have proved to be more effective with younger millennials and Gen Zers.

2. Loyalty is at the core of the path to purchase.

Six Nations viewers are an attractive audience in part because they’re very brand loyal: 71% tend to stick to brands once they’ve found one they like, versus 61% on average globally.

So what does it take to fulfill their desires as customers?

A third of Six Nations viewers say they want their favorite brands to make them feel valued as customers – it’s the single most common request.

On top of that, they value financial incentives above easy return policies and next-day delivery.

They also respond well to concrete incentives: coupons/discounts (49%) and loyalty points (43%) are the second and third-most commonly mentioned purchase drivers for this audience, after free delivery (77%).

3. Brand interactions on social media are limited.

Overall, Six Nations viewers have traditional media consumption habits.

They spend an average of 1h 49m on social media per day: 32 minutes less than the average internet user. This time is mainly spent on social networks, keeping up with the latest sports news and events.

This audience is also less likely than average to follow brands or to discover them via updates on their social media pages.

Six Nations viewers are 1.3x more likely to follow sports stars and journalists on social media.

They spend significantly less time on their mobile phones than most people, at 2h 13m compared to the average of 3h 21m. This means they still rely on larger screens for most online activities like product searches, buying and selling, and to access the internet in general.

For instance, 54% have used their PC to purchase a product online in the past month, compared to 39% on their mobile.

4. Six Nations viewers are traditional TV consumers.

Watching TV is a large part of Six Nations viewers’ daily routine.

They spend an average of 2h 34m watching broadcast TV per day, devoting only 52 minutes to online TV streaming.

This is also reflected when it comes to watching the Six Nations championship. Just under a quarter of them say they watch it online, while the large majority (92%) choose linear TV.

They prefer to watch broadcasted content on the TV (88%), followed by PCs (44%).

Globally, mobile units are the most popular way to watch subscription services like Netflix, but Six Nations viewers choose to primarily do this on their TV as well.

Besides TV advertising, how can brands engage them while they’re on the big screen? Second screen devices provide a huge opportunity for brands to maintain the attention of consumers across platforms.

62% of Six Nations viewers use their smartphones while watching TV.

Six Nations viewers are 1.5x more likely than average to read their emails while watching TV (51% do). A large share of them (46%) are also on social media, most likely reviewing commentary and opinions of the game.

5. Facebook is key to second-screening.

Six Nations viewers are active social media users when it comes to sports.

3 in 10 say watching or following sports events is one of their main reasons for using social media.

This is considerably higher for younger respondents, nearly half of which made this statement.

Facebook stands out in particular when it comes to sports second-screening. 16% of Six Nations viewers said they have commented on a sports event or match they’re watching, rising to 21% among 16-34-year-olds.

This is a timely opportunity for brands to tap into fans’ passion and ignite conversations while getting their message across.

Being part of the fan base by participating in discussions and posting exclusive content may be one way to raise awareness and grow a brand’s social media community.

It’s a very exciting time for sports brands to increase their presence on Facebook as the platform is restructuring its global sports division in 2019. Key priorities will be the development of sports accounts, as well as boosting the number of sports media collaborations.

6. Six Nations viewers enjoy a drink.

Sport coverage and alcoholic beverages are commonly enjoyed together across the world, but Six Nations Viewers are even more likely than the average sports fan to drink alcohol.

30% of them say they do it more than once a week, compared to 16% of Premier League fans and 14% of all internet users.

Pub culture is closely associated with rugby, so it should be no surprise that beer is the most popular choice.

77% of Six Nations viewers drink beer at least once a month.

Heineken is the most popular beer brand among the viewers: 22% of Six Nations viewers drank it in the last month.

This holds true for both males and females, as well as all ages and income groups. Heineken has actively honed in on this connection leading a rugby fan club and sponsoring numerous rugby-related initiatives.

The latest one is the brand’s sponsorship of a new rugby podcast on Ireland’s sports website The42, through which the brand aims to solidify its relevance among rugby fans.

Targeting Six Nations viewers in 2019.

Six Nations viewers is an ever growing consumer segment and is high in spending power, especially around the upcoming sports event.

Search engines and word-of-mouth recommendations are the most effective channels for brands looking to prompt them along the purchase journey.

However, a lot of their time while watching the championship will be spent on Facebook, offering a great opportunity for brands to start a conversation and earn their loyalty as customers.

1Six Nations viewers are internet users who watch Six Nations on TV or online. Note that China is excluded from percentages relating to specific/named social networks and apps.