How brands can benefit from helping consumers keep their new year's resolutions

Alison Lomax

Fitness and financial stability will be on the minds of consumers after the festive period. Brands who can provide helpful and relevant content in the right place at the right time will be able to reap the benefits.

When the last mince pie has been eaten and the tinsel put away, people begin to turn their thoughts to the New Year and the personal and professional goals they want to achieve.

The desire to stay fit and healthy tops the New Year resolution list with 37 per cent of respondents aiming to make this their goal, says a Nielsen study. The intention to spend less and save more also ranks highly with 25 per cent of those asked intending to improve their finances in the coming year. These trends are supported by Google research, which shows fitness searches up 7 per cent in 2015 year-on-year and searches for savings accounts peaking at 36 per cent in the first quarter of the year [Google Consumer Surveys, 2015/Google Internal].

The rise of mobile phone ownership means more people will use these devices to help search for inspiration and information relating to their resolutions. Two thirds of people in the UK now own a smartphone and more internet users regard their smartphone as the most important device for going online than those who use laptops [ Consumer Barometer]. Come 1 January, consumers will be looking for advice, reviews and motivational tips on topics ranging from where to buy running shoes to how to open an ISA account.

Mobile matters

Mobiles allow consumers to act on their resolutions ‘in the moment’. For instance, fitness enthusiasts will check pedometer apps for how many calories they have burnt walking, while the money-minded will be transferring savings from avoiding alcohol in January into an online savings account while on their commute.

In fact, 45 per cent of Google searches for fitness are now coming from mobile devices, up 30 per cent year-on-year. Brands have a host of opportunities to deliver carefully targeted and relevant messages to consumers with New Year goals. Someone who searches with the key words ‘healthy’ and ‘diet and exercise’ is signalling they are receptive to offers for the aforementioned running shoes or a gym promotion.

But note that men and women have different exercise preferences and tailor content accordingly – men prefer workouts outside the home with 43 per cent enjoying jogging [Google Consumer Surveys] and 28 per cent cardio at the gym, while more than a third of younger women enjoy at-home video workouts and older women like group-led classes.

Consumers looking for ‘money advice’ or ‘ways to save money’ give brands the chance to provide useful content; a utilities or light-fitting company could provide tips on energy-saving or a holiday company could promote its spring break offers. Mobile takes a larger share for branded searches (19 per cent) for savings accounts than computer or tablet, so financial services brands have a big incentive to have a mobile-optimised site [Google Internal Data].

Trial some YouTube tips

As the trend for video consumption rises, searches are increasingly beginning on YouTube – a fifth of ‘How-To’ money management searches now take place via the platform with 130 per cent growth in 2015. Brands can make engaging content to meet the demand, from animations to partnering with a vlogger on their top tips, for example Grace Helbig’s How To Save Money tips on My Damn Channel has 400,000 views.

Searches for healthy lifestyle tips on YouTube jumped 19 per cent year-on-year in Q2 2015 and enthusiasts are watching YouTube at-home video routines covering yoga, pilates, aerobic exercise and much more in huge numbers – for instance, 3.7m subscribe to Six Pack Shortcuts.

Make sure you are match ready

Brands who can provide advice and encouragement will be able to strengthen and deepen their relationship consumers. However, to play a role in providing a helpful solution, brands also have to make their own New Year resolutions.

To maximise opportunities brands should:

  • Seize the window of opportunity. Timing is crucial for the categories of fitness and money and by February searches will drop off steeply.
  • Ensure their website is mobile optimised so visitors will not be annoyed by slow-loading, hard to navigate websites.
  • Build AdWord lists against fitness specific and money-saving specific keywords but make sure the offer or promotion is personalised and relevant.
  • Buy ‘New Year, New You’ - a Google Preferred new line-up, designed to reach those with fitness resolutions.

It will take planning to make these tips a reality but now is the time to begin reviewing resources and devising a strategy. With the right investment and advice both businesses and their customers can be healthy and financial winners in 2016.

Alison Lomax is head of brand solutions at Google

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