Facebook launches a Festive Playbook to explain the role of video, AR, influencers, vernacular content, and messaging in driving the discovery of brands, shopping, and celebrations this festive season.
The Facebook Festive Playbook has been unveiled to aid brands to connect with shoppers on digital this Diwali. Earlier this year Facebook collaborated with Boston Consulting Group and released a series of reports that delved into consumer behaviour change since the pandemic, and its impact on distinct industries.
Subsequently, Facebook tied-up with Ogilvy to release a ‘Creative Playbook’ and also collaborated with GroupM to unveil a ‘Media Playbook’ to help businesses navigate the new normal.
Said Sandeep Bhushan, Director and Head of Global Marketing Solutions (GMS) by Facebook India, “Diwali and the weeks leading up to it are critical to businesses in India and consequently to the economy. More than half the purchases in key festival spends of fashion and tech devices are now influenced by what consumers see on their mobile phones. A significant digital acceleration has happened on the back of social media, and with 400M+ Indians connected on the Facebook family of apps in India, we will play a consequential role this festive season in both brand discovery and delivering truly incremental business outcomes.”
The Festive Playbook brings together insights from Facebook commissioned researches, especially from two distinct studies with YouGov and Boston Consulting Group respectively, along with other public sources, to provide the industry with consumer insights and trends that they may need to keep in mind to pursue the objective of building and delivering effective campaigns in the run-up to Diwali and beyond.
Said Prasanth Kumar, CEO, South Asia, GroupM, “Digital influence has increased significantly. This season, marketers can leverage digital to drive brand discovery among relevant consumer segments, drive performance marketing and ride the e-commerce wave, and build new-age innovations to engage with consumers.”
There are six key consumer trends that the Festive Playbook lays out for businesses in this festive season. With a month left to go for Diwali, these insights might help businesses connect with consumers.
 Gear up for a potential surge in demand: A stronger demand can be expected in the festive season, as the country continues to unlock, and as businesses continue to adapt to the new normal by building solutions and experiences that are relevant for these times. The Facebook-Boston Consulting Group consumer behaviour study had revealed that consumers plan to increase online spends for key consumer categories such as apparel, consumer packaged goods, mobile phones, home care, and automobiles in the coming weeks and months.
 Festive shopping can be a positive outlet in difficult times: The YouGov research revealed that nearly three-fourths of those surveyed said they start their Diwali shopping at least two weeks before Diwali. 45% Millennials (25-39) surveyed identified themselves as early shoppers. The research also showed that there is 17% more spending by early shoppers, something brands can leverage. Apparel, food, electronics followed by jewellery, and health and beauty were the top categories shopped for last year. Interestingly, the playbook also shows that the festive season lasts beyond Diwali, going up to January, giving brands a long window to connect with consumers and drive sales.
 Indians discover and purchase their favourite brands on the Facebook Family of apps: Facebook and Instagram together influence nearly 80% of Gen-Z and Millennials’ festive shopping, according to the YouGov study. Across categories such as beauty and personal care, consumer packaged goods, and auto, people said that the Facebook family of apps emerged as their source of discovery and evaluation, ahead of other online channels and sources.
 Virtual experiences and ‘made-for-social’ videos inspire action among festive shoppers: Video, augmented reality, and interactive ads will play a leading role this festive season as people continue to remain at home. According to the YouGov study, more than a half of festive shoppers post or watch videos on their social media feeds and 46% festive shoppers would like to see videos that get them into the holiday mood. 56% festive shoppers for apparel and beauty say that product videos would help them with their purchases. 1 out of 4 automobile consumers who have cancelled/ postponed their purchase, would also reconsider if there is minimal contact with the dealership.
 Influencers and vernacular content resonate with festive shoppers: Influencers and vernacular content will also drive festive purchases this Diwali and beyond. 46% of apparel consumers said they are influenced by videos posted by influencers during the festive season. 68% festive shoppers also prefer to see advertising in the local language and half of those surveyed said it’s important to have information available in a local language while shopping.
 Indians prefer messaging brands while festive shopping: The YouGov study showed that Indians prefer messaging businesses during festive shopping. According to YouGov findings, 48% used messaging service to track an order and 45% used messaging service to purchase a product in last year’s festive season. 61% of respondents said they used WhatsApp for messaging a business, and 36% said they used Facebook Messenger.
One of the key takeaways from Facebook’s Festive Playbook is that irrespective of whether consumers select offline or online channels for purchase, they are now discovering and engaging with brands on their smartphones, a key consumer behaviour trend that brands would need to build for in the run-up to Diwali and beyond.