The holidays have always stressed people out—all that shopping, all that spending, all those family get-togethers, you name it. And the stress is building this year, but for an unprecedented reason—with generative AI fueling a boom in marketing content this holiday season, and the holidays being the peak season for marketing content year in and year out anyway, new research from marketing resource management firm Aprimo finds that many are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of messages they are exposed to during the holidays this year—creating a double-edged sword for marketers.
The 2023 Aprimo Holiday Content Survey found that 85 percent of 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed said that holiday content influences their purchasing decisions. At the same time, 58 percent said the dramatic increase in content during the holiday season adds to their stress level. For brands that overdo it with excessive content, respondents are quick to unsubscribe from email lists or even leave negative reviews.
Key findings of the survey include:
- Nearly a third (31 percent) of consumers said they have unsubscribed from a brand’s communications due to excessive holiday marketing, and 15 percent have gone so far as to post a negative review of a brand online for this reason.
- Despite their mixed feelings toward holiday content, 85 percent of consumers admit it influences their purchasing decisions—with nearly half (49 percent) embracing content focused on promotions and discounts.
- Holiday shoppers prefer deals and contests over sentimentality in marketing content, with content that “focuses on an enticing discount or offer” more than three times as likely to influence respondents than content that seeks to “make an emotional connection.”
- Among content channels, consumers say they are most influenced by television advertising and social media—although they are wary of celebrity and influencer endorsements.
- Holiday marketing content affects brand perceptions—with more than half of respondents (53 percent) saying they prefer brands that are consistent in their holiday messaging.
“The survey’s biggest takeaway is that people notice a huge surge in marketing content around the holidays, and this is a double-edged sword,” said Erik Huddleston, chief executive officer of Aprimo, in a news release. “It drives people to find deals and make more purchases, but brands also run the risk of overdoing it and turning people off, leading to consumers unsubscribing from email lists or developing a negative impression of a brand.”
“One way to reduce your risk as a holiday marketer is to focus on the content types your audiences respond to most—because while consumers may say they don’t want sentimentality in holiday content, the survey shows they do embrace traditional content formats,” Huddleston concluded. “Brands that are consistent in their messaging have the best chance of breaking through the noise while not rubbing customers the wrong way.”