Not to alarm you, but the messaging and channel mix you choose to go with for Labor Day should set the tone for the rest of your Q4 advertising strategies, so get it together! We kid… but really.
Just as major networks wait for September to launch new series and lineups, advertisers need to consider a sharp shift in consumer priorities as Fall starts knocking, because when the temperature starts to drop, folks want to shop.
Your Labor Day advertising campaign should certainly feature holiday-specific themes like cooking outside, football, back-to-school discounts, etc. but don’t neglect the long game. This is your chance to engage with your audience in a fresh way, increasing customer loyalty for the rest of Q4 - by far the quarter with the highest consumer intent-to-spend.
This Labor Day season will be especially important for marketers, as pre-pandemic style family gatherings, cookouts, and travel (and the shopping that goes along with them) finally resume. In fact, over 80% of respondents to a recent Deloitte survey reported planning on celebrating the holiday this year.
Consumers will be spending way less time on their phones and computers (hello long weekend!) instead choosing to congregate, often around a game on tv or a family-favorite movie. That means advertisers can expect a lot of eye balls on any given tv ad, but engaging graphics and audio will be essential to cut through the noise.
Here is what we recommend for a killer jumpstart to your Q4 strategy this Labor Day weekend:
Capitalize on the opportunity to tell your brand story on the big screen. While much of your Summer advertising focus has probably been on mobile - where small screens and scrolling seriously limit your creative’s ability to build an emotional connection with your audience - September is the best time to reevaluate the importance of long form video in your overall strategy.
As audiences return to their routines and living rooms to watch Fall’s new show lineup and college football games, remember they are probably doing so on a connected device. With 86% of US households owning at least one Connected TV or OTT device and a 97% ad view-through-rate, CTV advertising is a Q4 strategy must-have.
Your biggest sale opportunity before Thanksgiving. The world of advertising may feel like it’s been spinning off its axis lately, but some things never change; and at the top of the list of immutable laws of nature is… sales season!
Shoppers across the US know to buy their linens in January and August, their back-to-school essentials during Labor Day Sales, and their gifts and electronics on Black Friday. There’s definitely some comfort in knowing what to expect from shoppers, but it also means you will be competing with most brands to capture their attention.
Labor Day is often a marketer’s last chance at a big sale blowout before Thanksgiving, so it’s important to make it count. While CTV is great for brand storytelling, it’s also an important performance channel. Make sure your Labor Day campaign creatives have a strong CTA that audiences can act on immediately, like a giveaway, BOGO offer, or special coupon code.
Hook customers for the rest of the year. Make sure your Labor Day campaign fits into a larger Q4 omni-channel strategy so it will continue to pay off long after Labor Day is over. Don’t be afraid to try new channels, messaging, or types of creative if it means you can delight customers in the long run. Advertisers should pay special attention to their post-Labor Day campaign reporting and double down on their most effective tactics for the rest of the year.
Don’t forget about audio! Television is by far the most engaging medium for advertisers, especially when working with AVOD, but Labor Day advertising is a slightly different animal. As was mentioned earlier, TVs will definitely be on in the majority of US households during the holiday, but your ads be competing with Uncle Joe’s special recipe for ribs or little Bobby’s wet diaper, so don’t be shy about using audio to bring your audience’s attention back to your creative. Advertisers should keep in mind each impression in a CTV campaign will reach an entire household, so target widely and explore bold graphics and audio!
Capitalize on streamed sports content. College football - a huge part of most Labor Day celebrations - is now a major player in streaming. Last year, ESPN viewers spent a record 3.9 billion minutes streaming college football, up 37 percent from 2020. And starting in 2024, ESPN+ will carry up to 14 non conference SEC football games as part of their $700 million rights agreement, according to The Washington Post. That means prices and campaign flexibility are more attractive than ever, so advertisers should reevaluate targeting sports channels now that costly upfronts and long-term contracts aren’t the only way to do business anymore.
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