Marketing

Social media

A core component of any brand’s marketing communications strategy, social media usage is gaining traction in the Dutch market, both from a consumer and brand point of view. Social media interaction is very strong in both markets, with around 79% of internet users having a Facebook account. Twitter and LinkedIn are important in the Netherlands. YouTube has high levels of usage, really reinforcing the importance of video based advertising spend that was reported by IAB Netherlands. Looking more closely at Facebook engagement, ecommerce in general has high levels of engagement with a combined 14.9 million followers. General retail also fares well with around 10 million fans, according to socialbakers.com.

In terms of social engagement, levels of fan engagement are high in the Netherlands, although heavily one-sided. With an average 300,000 follower per brand in the top 20, they each only post 42 times per month on Facebook. The ratio on Twitter however is much closer, with fans posting over 26,000 times and brands responding 126 times. It would appear that there is potential for brands trading into this market to increase the levels of engagement. Although, Insites Consulting has reported that consumers don’t necessarily want a lot of engagement, particularly around commercial activities such as discounts; although this reluctance is easing as consumers get more comfortable with the social channel. Aside from the marketing opportunity, studies3 have shown that 70% of those social media users contacting customer services expect a response within 15 minutes. 66% of these expect responses through the same channel as well; highlighting the need for close monitoring of the social engagement

Email Marketing

In common with other markets, the use of email as a marketing tool is far from dead. Mobile engagement is reinvigorating this trusted marketing channel. The Dutch and Belgian markets show healthy levels of email engagement with National Email Benchmark reporting Confirmed Open Rates (COR) of over 35%, Click Through Rates (CTR) of 7% and Click To Open (CTO) rates of 17.4%. Irrespective of workday or weekend, desktop still dominates actions driven through email e.g. ‘clicked on’. However, open rates are evenly split by device over the weekend, whilst desktop accounts for 60% of email opening; perhaps mobile is used on the way to work during the morning commute as a way of prioritising follow-up activity. This would appear to be reflected in open rates via mobile, depending on the time of day. Breakfast, lunch and early evening seem to be the time where engagement is highest.

The peaks are much less defined over the weekend, perhaps when time constraints are less rigid. These data points highlight the importance that mobile devices have in the customer journey, particularly during the discovery phase. They also reinforce the role that email has in the marketing mix in the Dutch market whilst suggesting that frequency, timing and content should be tailored depending on the desired outcome. International merchants will notice that these trends are common to many other markets so existing platforms are likely to be able to cope with these local requirements

Direct Mail

The Dutch consumer market still has strong DM activity. Industry data compiled by Post NL and Spring Global Delivery Solutions suggests that 87% of physical DM is opened and read. With reading rates on the same day at 85%, DM can be an e cient mechanism for both acquisition and driving website traffic. Highlighting the impact that DM has on digital enabled sales in these markets, 67% of online searches are trigged by the mail piece. Online advertising, in conjunction with physical DM, leads to a 25% increase in response rates. As a brand development vehicle, DM obviously has its place in its ability to present a ‘physical form’ to the consumer which has benefits when trying to develop a presence in-country. As an activity to drive sales, DM has the potential to reinforce online messaging or to introduce new ideas. This will have benefits in helping to upsell and cross sell, drive brand loyalty and develop cost efficient traffic to an online presence. Where possible, unique URLs and offer codes should be used so as to be able to track the benefit and take the customer directly to the products or offers mentioned in the DM. However, as there is evidence that 35% of Dutch shoppers in the 18 – 24 age group use website ad-blocking so ware, DM combined with digital marketing has a role in consumer communications for some brands. This will be particularly true where DM can support a brand message that arrives amongst the almost 100 marketing emails a week that Dutch online consumers receive.

Major Shopping Categories

The key category is fashion with the majority of growth through to 2020 expected here. The solid growth prospects across the other categories are also interesting, particularly with furniture & appliances expected to challenge electronics for size over the same period.

Population:

16.8 million

Median Age:

42.6

Internet Use:

90.4% (18th)

Most Popular Social Network:

Facebook (10M users)