Some of the largest internet personalities have created their fame by simply recording themselves opening branded packages. Thousands of followers tune in to watch someone –sometimes likely a complete stranger – unbox a product, taking in the sights and sounds while witnessing the person’s reaction to seeing what’s inside the box.
There’s a reason that the number of YouTube videos with the word “unboxing” in the title has increased 871% since 2010, according to NOVA Next. Understanding the specific effects of these videos will help you capitalize on this Internet trend to expand your brand’s reach, attracting new potential customers.
In 2015, Dotcom released a fulfillment study aimed to dissect why this trend exists by examining its effect on the human brain.
Here’s what we found.
First, opening a branded package creates a neurological impact on the person doing the unboxing. Similar to receiving a gift or eating chocolate, this encounter causes increased levels of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin in the brain. These chemicals are often associated with excitement and desire, compelling people to repeat the pleasure experiences that elicit the emotions in an attempt to replicate the same feelings. For eCommerce brands, this translates into repeat purchases. Oxytocin often creates feelings of trust and the desire to form bonds. It may cause satisfied unboxers to share their experience with others, which is crucial in today’s age of ubiquitous online reviews. This is also related to the likelihood of someone creating and sharing a video of their box-opening experience.
There’s also a scientific explanation for why these videos are so popular. In addition to uncovering the effects anticipation and desire have on our brains, neuroscientists have also discovered the existence of mirror neurons. These nerve cells are activated when someone performs an action, as well as when they observe that function being performed. This means that viewers of unboxing videos may actually feel as if they themselves are opening the package when they watch someone else do it, which answers the question of why so many people spend time watching a random person open a package.
The best way to utilize this trend to your advantage is to make your brand’s unboxing experience more memorable and share-worthy. While some unboxing videos feature standard brown boxes, the best unboxing videos showcase packages that stand out.
Achieving this involves taking a multi-sense approach to designing your packout. In addition to improving the visual appeal, consider the textures, sounds, and aromas of the materials inside the box to create an experience that your customers will remember and want to share. The unboxers’ success lies in how many views their videos get, so they’ll likely try to unbox packages that will generate traffic to their own pages.
While catching the attention of a known unboxer is useful, encouraging everyday shoppers to share pictures of their boxes on social media can go a long way in building brand recognition. And with 88% of shoppers researching products online before buying, it’s important to make sure everything they find presents your brand in a positive light.
Being presented to new followers can expand your brand’s reach, but that’s not where the benefit always ends. When your products and packouts are featured in unboxing videos, the e-celebrities may take the role of digital influencers who act as brand advocates. In many cases, unboxers review the products and packaging, so they may convince followers to be your customers if they have good things to say. This approach is especially useful for brands trying to reach Millennial and Gen Z consumers, as they are more likely to respond better to messages from YouTube star influencers than traditional celebrities.
Whether you’re a fan of it or not, the unboxing trend will be around for a while. So, it would be wise for eCommerce brands to understand not only what draws people toward these videos, but also how they can capitalize on the trend for their own benefit.
If you need help figuring out how you can optimize your brand unboxing experience, click here to contact us.