Unboxing posts don’t need to stop – if they work, keep doing them

In a response to Natalie Giddings' anti-unboxing piece, HooZu's Justin Golledge throws his hat in the ring (or box), arguing that these kinds of campaigns, while not 'clever', are effective.

Unboxing posts are not the enemy. This format of promotional content is actually one of the most cost-effective tactics when it comes to generating new customers, because it allows you to track sales directly attributed from unboxing content.

This is important not only for your unboxing strategy, but for influencer content in general. Influencer marketing needs to be held commercially accountable to client investment in the same way that display banners or google AdWords are. That’s done by by measuring ROI.

Generally done via videos across YouTube, Instagram Live, Stories or SnapChat, unboxing involves influencers opening, engaging with and promoting a product to their followers.

Unboxing tells a story. By putting the unboxing process in the hands of highly engaging, relevant and vetted influencers, potential customers are given a genuine critique and review of your product, one that they value.

When we see someone we admire open, enjoy, and tell us about a product they have chosen to trial, there is an immediate authenticity to that story. This in turn encourages customer curiosity, and all of a sudden, interested customers begin to search and click on a product they previously had no idea existed. This is the power of influencer marketing and true to the psychology of this creative format.

Just like watching your children, friends or partner open a present – or better yet, opening one yourself – unboxing stimulates a part of the brain that brings surprise, pleasure, desire and a sense of reward.

As with any advertising or marketing tactic, it is important to make sure that it works for your brand. I’m not suggesting that unboxing is a creative format appropriate for all products that arrive in a box.

What I am saying is that if unboxing plays a role in your advertising strategy, it is important to apply methods that encourage a customer to do more than just “like” an influencer’s content.

This can be done by using special promotion codes, which not only incentivise a purchase decision, but also help track and attribute influencer ROI. Other tracking methods include unique URLs implemented in influencer bios or posts, and swipe-up functions on Instagram stories.

You can also track brand sentiment using user interactions and comments, and build lookalike retargeting pools based on customer data acquired from unboxing content sales.

This trend isn’t something that is unique or new. Google has found that one in five consumers have watched an unboxing video, and 63 percent of them do so when researching products. What’s more, 34 percent of all unboxing videos related to food, electronics, toys and beauty or fashion are viewed during the Christmas period, heavily indicating their impact on the purchasing process.

The growth rate of unboxing content has been phenomenal, with over a billion unboxing video views reported on YouTube each year, and production of them increasing by 871 percent in just four years. Now, at the time of writing, a YouTube search for unboxing returns 75.9 million search options.

Brands don’t need to reinvent the wheel with every new campaign. Yes, it’s good to be clever and think outside of the box (pun intended), but something shouldn’t be dismissed just because it’s been done a lot.

In fact, this shows it has been tried, tested and proven. But, if the aim of your influencer campaign is to be “clever”, rather than cost efficient with your media investment, then maybe unboxing isn’t meant for you.

Justin Golledge is general manager of influencer marketing agency HooZu.


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