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Building Brand Equity in the Age of Shoptainment

As consumers are cutting back on their household budgets, especially discretionary spend, to combat rising inflation, competition by brands for wallet-share is fierce. For us at Zulily, this means applying the art and science of marketing to engage the right prospective customers on the right channel, with the right message, the right brand, at the right time, and at the right price, is even more important.

Our role is to help brands like Carter’s, SOREL, or PUMA, build equity and brand love from our customers (moms ages 25 to 44 years old), to drive the Zulily business, which helps us drive sales for the brands on our site. As the line blurs between entertainment and shopping, we have strategically positioned our brand on the channels and platforms where our customer (mom) is consuming media and entertainment.

The Growth of “Shoptainment”

The pandemic’s ecommerce boom resulted in a growing popularity of the convergence of online shopping and entertainment, or “Shoptainment”. Given our business is fueled by entertainment and discovery, we’re embracing this trend towards “Shoptainment”, building brand awareness by connecting with our customer during her in-between moments of rest and [RB1] [ST2] engaging with her on her favorite platforms. We are marketing in new media channels, driving shopping and top-of-mind awareness for new customers and increasing consideration among current customers.

Meeting moms where they’re at. In 2023, we will be investing in building awareness in six channels critical to engaging millions of moms.

  • Connected TV (CTV)

Whether it’s family movie night, or their treasured time alone, it’s no surprise that moms across the country unwind by watching their favorite TV shows and movies on streaming services (CTV). In fact, in 2022, there will be 56.8 million monthly CTV users among Millennials, and it’s estimated this number will hit 62.6 million by 2025 (+5.8 million growth)7.

This shift from linear TV to CTV was kickstarted with On-Demand expectations and has only grown as more and more TV shows switch exclusively to streaming services. Mom-favorites such as Dancing with the Stars, The Office, and Thursday Night Football, among others, are only available to stream through platforms like Disney+, Peacock, and Amazon.

Benefit to Brands: As brands reach consumers, CTV provides more opportunities for one-to-one, personalized messaging. By targeting individual households, Zulily has the power to best reach desired audiences with the most effective position.

  • Linear TV

Despite the growth of CTV, linear TV – or traditional television – remains a relevant and effective marketing channel. In 2021, Nielsen reported that 68% of total TV time spent in the U.S. was with linear TV14, a sign that linear TV is not being replaced by CTV. Rather, they are coexisting. In terms of reaching our core customer, Nielsen found that “regardless of market, all moms have one thing in common: live TV is their top choice to view content daily with more than two hours and 46 minutes.”15

Plus, live TV events and broadcast channels are still holding steady in terms of viewership, drawing audiences at sizes unmatched by CTV. This means that consumers are still gravitating towards linear TV for news and sports programming

Benefit to Brand: For Zulily, advertising on Linear TV has been a proven performer with brand lift, and the integration of both CTV and Linear TV creates a more comprehensive, layered approach to the marketing funnel. With a broad reach, advertising on linear TV gives brands the opportunity to introduce themselves to new audiences, diversifying their marketing mix. Linear TV’s ad format also allows for excellent story-telling and moving brand perception. Non-skippable commercials on a large TV screen, as opposed to a smartphone or laptop, has a larger impact on the viewer and commands the attention of all in the room.

  • Online Video (OLV) and YouTube

Unlike CTV, OLV and YouTube add a cost-efficient layer to video messaging, while also effectively reaching our core customer. In 2021, adults in the U.S. spent an average of 149 minutes a day consuming digital video, and forecasts show that digital video consumption will even surpass TV viewing time between 2022 and 20268.

YouTube is one of the most popular online platforms in the U.S. According to a 2021 study by Pew Research Center, 81% of U.S. adults had used YouTube, making it the most used social network in the country. The platform is even more popular for adults aged 18-29, with 95% of adults surveyed saying they use it1. Furthermore, roughly eight-in-ten parents with children aged 11 or younger incorporate YouTube into their family’s life2.

Benefit to Brands: Advertising on OLV has proven to be impactful. In fact, brands with video ads viewed for less than even one second still show increases in recall, brand awareness, and purchase intent.

  • Streaming Audio

Audio streaming platforms such as Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music, have continued to grow since their inception, and the pandemic has accelerated this. The market size has increased to $30.33 billion, with 776.2 million users10, and Americans streaming an average of 75 minutes of music per day9. Adults are spending more time each day listening to digital audio (1:40) than watching sub-OTT services (1:27), using social networks (1:15), using tablets (1:09), or watching videos on their smart phone (0:40)11

Benefit to Brands: Moms can listen to music anywhere – audio is ubiquitous. So, brand messaging can reach moms from their mobile phones, desktops, tablets, connected homes, or cars. Unlike social networks, audio reaches moms when they’re offline and/or screen-free. The precision in targeting via streaming audio enables us to reach the right prospective customers at the right time and can home in on age, gender, location, hobbies, weather data, and more. Music streaming also allows users to have a music experience that is uniquely tailored to specific tastes, which makes it easier for brands to target their core consumers.

  • FM Radio

Although FM radio has survived multiple threats of new technologies, it continues to own a large piece of America’s audio consumption with 75% of audience share, which is three times larger than advertisers perceive, according to Edison Research’s Q2 2022 Share of Ear Report3. In addition, the average driver spends 55 minutes a day behind the wheel4, but for moms, this number is even higher. Between dropping kids off at school, running errands, taking kids to extracurricular activities, or the time they spend sitting in the car and waiting, moms can be in their car upwards of five hours a day, making terrestrial radio a platform to reach customers where they’re at, with a captive audience.

Benefit to Brand: Advertising on FM radio continues to thrive. Centered around sound, radio makes it easy for listeners to remember ads, with an 82% recollection rate, per Nielsen5. A proven performer in retail advertising, it is both cost-effective and highly targeted.

  • Podcasts

Whether moms are shopping for groceries, going for a drive, or making their morning coffee, podcasts are an easy way to fit entertainment into their busy schedules. Podcast audio has seen a surge with quarantines and lockdowns accelerating the format. In 2022, Nielsen reported that “the U.S. podcast listener base has grown by 40% over the past three years, with 61% of consumers saying they started listening during the past two years.”6 True crime and detective shows have specifically seen a huge surge in popularity with the Mom audience.

Benefit to Brand: On-the-go moms bring their digital audio with them, so Zulily can connect with them throughout the day, and brand messages can reach them at any time. Plus, podcast audio allows for efficient ad format and placement, such as host-read advertisements, which produce an average of 50% increase in purchase and recommendation intent12, and mid-roll placement, which ensures listeners are less likely to skip or fast forward.

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[3] “Share Of Ear” Q2 2022: A Five-Year Look Back Reveals Podcast Shares Have Tripled And AM/FM Streaming Has Doubled In Share, Beating Pandora Two To One / Westwood One

[4] National Household Travel Survey Daily Travel Quick Facts | Bureau of Transportation Statistics (











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