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Unboxing videos boom in holiday season; why the psychology matters

Unboxing videos
Unboxing videos from vloggers Eleventh Gorgeous

Unboxing videos, where products are unwrapped and described in an informative and entertaining format, prove most influential in the run up to the holiday season, according to packaging supplier Rajapack.

Views from October through December run at 1.5x that of other quarters, totaling 34% of the year, which lends even more credence to the argument for seasonal packaging and ensuring perfection in every product shipped out.

The craze began back in 2006, when the new Nokia E61 was unveiled on camera as it was pried out of its packaging. The trend only picked up from there, with marketers and internet fame seekers alike jumping at the chance to reveal products fresh from the box, be it electronics through to toys and of course, luxury, fashion and beauty.

In 2015 alone, over 6.5 years’ worth of unboxing videos were uploaded to YouTube. Searching the video hub today yields over 53 million search results, at time of writing.

The better-produced videos are also achieving massive viewership. FunToyzCollector sits at the number three YouTube position with over 11.6 billion views, for instance. And the unboxing hobby can prove quite lucrative: another giant in the toy unboxing space, DC Toys Collector, raked in $4.9 million in 2014.

For brands, the profit component is much greater as each video contains the possibility to convert a viewer into a customer. Psychologist Diana Parkinson believes: “It’s the best, and cheapest form of advertising ever. These videos make us drool and desire what may well be unattainable.”

But why does all of this excite the viewer when they’ve got nothing to personally unwrap? According to Rajapack, our brains contain Anticipation Circuits that fire up when we see something building to a boil. Combined with a Mirror Neuron System that sets this in motion for other’s anticipation, we feel personally stimulated watching these videos. We go through the experience with the person on camera. “[It’s] totally voyeuristic, there is no material reward, only transitory visual reward,” Parkinson said.

The key to creating a coveted product and a successful unboxing video turns out to be as much about the box itself as its interior offerings. Author Martin Lindstrom of the New York Times bestseller, Buyology: How everything we believe about why we buy is wrong, claims this as truth for all buying experiences.

In building appropriate anticipation, the brand needs to factor in the packaging’s aesthetics, its sounds and even its tactile quality; all of which will be recounted to the viewer. This is something Apple does particularly well on all fronts, as featured in the above video example which has over seven million views.

This proves even more crucial in the luxury market where the consumer buys an experience with a product, whether opening it privately or with millions across the web.

Net-a-Porter's #thenetset still content back in 2013
Net-a-Porter’s #thenetset still content back in 2013

Fashion brands have long jumped on this bandwagon, of course, not only thinking about ensuring they’re offering high quality packaging but also how to benefit from the unboxing phenomenon directly. Net-a-Porter for instance leveraged its consumer champions by encouraging them to use the hashtag #thenetset on social media back in 2013, long before that same name became the company’s social commerce channel. While this was primarily pushed over Twitter and Instagram, the content at the time noted growing use of YouTube for unboxing by their fans.

The strongest effect of the psychology of unboxing and product videos, stands in the authenticity of these non-branded vloggers – in the notion of user generated content. According to Google findings in partnership with TNS and Ogilvy, there are particularly strong yields in the beauty market, where 66% of recent purchasers noted YouTube as a product visualisation aid pre-purchase.

In a fragmented digital marketplace, brand ambassadors and social media influencers have become commonplace. Potential customers look to these figureheads for insight. Another Google study revealed that 62% of people tuning into these videos do so once they’ve begun researching a particular product. As an animated reel of product reviews, these unscripted clips have become the modern day version of word of mouth.

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e-commerce film mobile

Brands need to take greater advantage of the desire for how-to content says Google

How-to content on YouTube is increasingly in demand, according to new research from Google. Searches for topics ranging from the practical (how-to tie a tie), to the creative (how to draw), from style (how to curl your hair with a hair straightener) to cuisine (how to make a cake), are growing 70% year over year, with 100m hours of how-to videos viewed in North America so far in 2015.

The growth is being attributed to mobile technology, with 91% of smartphone users saying they now turn to their phones for ideas while doing a task. Categories trending the most include beauty, home improvement and cooking.

hair_howto

“Being constantly connected has trained us to expect immediacy and relevance in moments of intent—the I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments. These micro-moments are the new battlegrounds for people’s hearts, minds, and dollars,” writes David Mogensen on the Think with Google site.

The team is pushing the idea that marketers are too heavily focused on one-way traditional media planned against brand moments and anchored to campaign flights, rather than thinking about and preparing for these personal moments. In doing so they’re missing out on potential for conversion too – data shows with millennials specifically, one in three say they’ve purchased a product as a result of watching a how-to video.

MAC Cosmetics has particularly focused on this how-to content as a means of driving sales in local markets. It partnered with Google on a YouTube gadget in 2014 to allow viewers to shop directly from its “Instant Artistry” video series on its local e-commerce sites. “A user watching our videos in Brazil will engage with a version of the gadget that is entirely in Portuguese and will be driven directly to the Brazilian MAC Cosmetics site to purchase. We have seen fantastic engagement as well as incremental sales on e-commerce that far exceeded our expectations,” says Noelle Sadler, VP of global consumer engagement at the company.

Google’s how-to for marketers

Here are some of the best practices Google suggests in approaching a content strategy built around ‘I-want-to-do moments’:

  • Identify the I-want-to-do moments in which consumers have a need and your brand can play a role. Find these moments across the entire consumer journey and put them at the center of your strategy.
  • What are the questions and concerns people have related to the types of products you sell or the types of projects they are used for? What do people want to learn about them? (Tools such as Google Trends and Google Consumer Surveys can help answer these questions.) Create I-want-to-do content for your website and YouTube channel to serve as resources for them.
  • Look at when how-to searches occur. Are there particular times of day, week, or year when some topics are more popular?
  • Make your videos easy to find by adding descriptive titles, details, and relevant tags to each video. You can also promote your content by TrueView in-stream and in-display, and you can reach the right viewers through affinity, in-market, and topic targeting.
  • Did you reach your audiences? Did they pay attention? What implications did it have on their perceptions and actions? Measurement solutions, such as Google’s Brand Lift, can help answer these questions.
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2014: A designer meets digital year in review

Burberry_burberry_hr

What a year it has been for fashion and technology…

From wearables taking off with varying designer brands during fashion week, to the launch of new services like Apple Pay, the success of Alibaba’s IPO, discussion around visual search, the ongoing use of selfie campaigns and more, one thing after another has once again been making an impact in this space.

Below then, are 10 of the posts you loved the most on the relaunched F&M site this year. It’s an interesting exploration of subjects as varied as big data and viral videos, as well as the more gimmicky, yet PR-worthy role technology can often play. Think drones, Oculus Rift, the ALS #icebucketchallenge, and yet more on wearable tech.

Thank you for reading and see you in 2015!

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Teaser videos: Maison Martin Margiela for H&M

By now, you will have all heard H&M has confirmed the rumours Maison Martin Margiela is the next designer set to collaborate with the store. It’s perhaps an unlikely pairing, as reported by Fashionista, but one H&M’s creative advisor, Margareta van den Bosch, expects to be a “great and memorable fashion moment”.

The collection doesn’t launch until November 15, but in the meantime, there were also a couple of very cute teaser videos revealed today, one for womenswear and one for menswear showing sketches of a darted sweater, and a car coat respectively. Check them out below: