How to Maximize Your Conversations This Holiday Season

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9 Questions You and Your Family Can Ask Around the Table

We are almost in the holiday season, and that means a lot of great things: fun memories, good food, and more. But it also means a few challenges.

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You know one of my big ones? Let’s visit the Honest Planet for a minute. It’s awkward conversations.

You probably know what I mean. With all the parties and get-togethers, there’s almost no way to avoid those dead-end discussions, off-the-wall observations, and random rabbit trails that leave you feeling like you need to leave early, is there?

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Halloween: What’s Trending in Social Media Conversations?

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Halloween countdown is kicking into high gear and consumers are abuzz on social channels in preparation for the holiday. With discussions ranging from costume preferences to seasonal movies to candy cravings and more, social media is a treasure trove for uncovering the pulse of Halloween 2015 and what’s different this year compared to last.

LatentView Analytics analyzed social chatter from July through September using the hashtag #Halloween and numerous other related key terms. Channels examined include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, news aggregator sites and various other consumer forums. To understand how consumer preferences have changed over the last year, LatentView picked 700,000 conversations from 2015 and compared them with 900,000 results from the prior year.

Top Costumes: Scary Is In

The fear factor is a central driver for all things Halloween, so perhaps it’s not surprising that scary getups were the most buzzed about costume choice this year—in keeping with 2014’s trend. Consumers also appear to be relatively consistent in their scary costume selections. The most preferred options this year were witches, ghosts, zombies and monsters. While the order of preference has changed slightly from 2014, these were the top four most talked about scary costumes last year as well.

Animal costumes were the second most buzzed about choice, moving up one place in popularity from last year. As in 2014 felines rule the roost, with cat and lion related options remaining the top costumes in the animal category. Dragon attire was a new addition in 2015, perhaps reflecting consumer interest as a result of the popular Game of Thrones television series.

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Surprisingly, superhero costumes have decreased in popularity in 2015, moving down from second place in 2014 to fourth this year. Batman was the most anticipated option, followed by Spiderman and the Avengers in that order.

Candy Conversations: Consumers Go Nuts

There were significantly fewer candy-related conversations this year compared to 2014, perhaps indicating a healthier approach to the holiday. However, the consumers who did take to social channels to discuss their candy favorites displayed similar preferences to last year’s trends. As in 2014 Reese’s and Snickers were the most popular choices. M&Ms took third place, followed by Tootsie and Skittles, in that order.

The fact that Tootsie was in the top five is interesting as the manufacturer was not mentioned at all in 2014’s top candy conversations. The company received significant buzz early in the year when its long-time CEO passed away and his wife assumed leadership responsibilities. It’s possible that some of the Halloween-related conversations are attributable to ongoing speculation about the company’s future. However, its addition to 2015’s list also supports the supposition that consumers are taking a more health-conscious outlook to Halloween this year. With its iconic bite-sized Tootsie Rolls and lollipops, the candies represent significantly fewer calories than their larger, chocolate-centric counterparts.

Movie Buzz: Oldies But Goodies

The most buzzed about movies in 2015 all fall into the “oldies but goodies” category. In fact, only two movies on the top ten list were produced in the last decade—2011’s “Insidious” and 2013’s “Evil Dead.” This suggests that, while numerous horror movies have been box office draws in recent years, when it comes to Halloween consumers prefer the tried and true. As further evidence, this year’s top choice was the original “Halloween” film, released in 1978, followed by 1984’s “Nightmare on Elm Street.” Both movies also ranked in the top five last year, demonstrating that consumers view them as Halloween horror staples.

Small Screen Screams: Anticipated Halloween Episodes

Consumers may be exhibiting a healthier approach to candy, but when it comes to television social analysis suggests Halloween 2015 might see more couch potatoes than last year. There was a notable increase in TV-centric Halloween buzz this year, with the number of conversations growing to 80k from 56k in 2014.

The top three most anticipated Halloween episodes are those from Scream Queens, Walking Dead and American Horror Story. The last two were also on the top three list in 2014 but Scream Queens is a notable addition, and its top position in the category is particularly interesting given that it only premiered in September of this year. Perhaps the uptick in social interest can be attributed to the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis, who is synonymous with horror for many consumers, is one of the series’ stars.

The above is just a quick snapshot of Halloween related social conversations. Whether you find yourself in-line with consumer sentiment or bucking the trends this year, analyzing the data is always insightful for retailers and marketers.

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