DECEMBER 05, 2011

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Retail/Shopping/Commerce
Holiday Spending off to a Fast Start
The National Retail Federation estimates the total US spend over the Black Friday Weekend (Thursday-Sunday) was $52.4 billion, up +16% over last year’s Black Friday weekend. The group reports that 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the weekend. The average shopper spent $399, an increase of +9% over last year. Stores such as Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and Target, as well as web sites HauteLook and Ideeli all reported business and traffic growth over last year’s Black Friday weekend. Furthermore, Black Friday was followed by a strong Cyber Monday – IBM estimates that sales were up +33% over last year.
So what? While the results are preliminary, the data indicate that despite consumer skepticism about the economy it appears that people will still shop as much as ever this holiday season. Retailers and marketers seem pleased at the results during the first weekend of sales. If sales maintain pace, this may be a positive indicator for ad spending in the first quarter of 2012.
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Technology
Suggestion Technology Appeals to Younger Consumers
The success of Pandora internet radio (more than 34 million active users) has led to investment in a number of recommendation services, whose goal is to understand consumers better and deliver streamlined discovery, consumption, and purchase. An Iconoculture study measuring consumer sentiment towards recommendation services uncovered a significant generational difference. 41% of Millennials and Gen Xers (13-42) were highly interested in using recommendation services (38% had little or no interest), while just 14% of Boomers and Matures (43+) were highly interested, and 64% had little or no interest.
So what? Younger consumers have been comfortable using technology to guide their decisions so it makes sense that they are more receptive to the suggestion tools. While brands may look to build suggestion capabilities to tailor consumer preferences and consumption, content providers should remember the demographic of their consumers and how receptive they will be to the technology. These findings also identify a potential opportunity for more cross-promotion across content and brands for younger-skewing properties. While our brands have a long and proud history of making editorial suggestions, the data indicate that younger consumers like suggestions tailored to them.
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Media
Brand-Building Online: A Case Study
Nielsen has released a case study that provides a new approach for valuing the brand building value of digital display advertising. The case study uses ‘cost per person impacted’ model to understand the value contributed by each site on a plan. The cost per person impacted metric begins with examining the campaigns reach against the demographic targets. Next the branding impact as measured through a Nielsen brand survey captures the percent of people who recalled the ad’s message. These two metrics were combined to illustrate the exact number of people the campaign impacted and the contribution of each site on the plan. The findings reinforce the needs of advertising basics— relevant messaging, demo targeting, and controlled reach and frequency.
So what? As the market continues to look for better models, Nielsen makes a strong contribution. Nielsen’s approach may serve as an example for CN to evaluate the impact created by advertising on our sites.
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Travel Digital Marketing Spend to Increase in 2012
In a global study of travel professionals with digital marketing and content priorities commissioned by Frommer’s, 78% of marketers said they plan to increase their digital marketing budget in 2012. That number is up from 54% of marketers who planned to increase their digital spending in 2010. Social media marketing, content, and mobile apps/development are all expected to grow according to the Frommer’s study.
So what? The travel consumer and Condé Nast reader align on a number of levels. With a planned increase digital marketing spend among marketers; there might be opportunities for some CN brands to partner with travel advertisers to help them meet their goals. Condé Nast‘s unique experience developing apps may open doors for lucrative partnerships.
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Culture
What is the meaning behind Occupy Wall Street?
Most marketers have been treading lightly around the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ben and Jerry’s, who have openly supported the movement, is one of the exceptions. Other marketers have taken a softer approach and highlighted their social responsibility efforts. When considering how to react, the key question for many marketers is whether OWS is anti-capitalist in nature or a plea for a piece of the pie. Yankelovich has published an editorial arguing that it’s the latter. Yankelovich states that OWS is nothing for marketers to fear -- the movement is more about demanding access than rejecting capitalism.
So what? While the financial industry is the real target of OWS, many corporations may feel defensive about the protesters attack on corporate profits. This analysis by Yankelovich argues that the true aspiration for many occupiers is to have a fair chance at a lifestyle illustrated by many of our brands.
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Quick Takes
Multicultural Women More Optimistic About their Daughters’ Futures
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Comcast and AT&T are the top Broadband Internet Providers in the US
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Condé Nast
Feedback, questions, ideas for future issues? Please contact:

Phil Paparella
Condé Nast Research & Insights | Associate Director
1166 6th Avenue, 14th fl. | NY, NY 10036 | office 212.790.6044 | philip_paparella@condenast.com

Contributors:
Tamar Rimmon | Senior Manager, Digital Analytics
Robyn Hightower | Manager, Research & Insights