Maximising Your 2018 Christmas Social Campaigns: A Last-Minute Guide

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The Christmas season isn’t always the most wonderful time of year for retail marketers. With consumers facing seasonal messages and advertisements from all directions, it takes careful planning to execute campaigns that will break through the noise. And while it’s generally wise to start your planning early, it’s not too late to optimise this year’s social advertising to maximise success this season.  

’Tis the Season to Maximise Impact

Pressure around Christmas marketing builds for good reason. Last year, a significant 13% of the year’s UK retail spending happened in December, almost twice as much as most other months. As retailers wrestle with changes to consumer purchasing behaviour amidst ongoing Brexit negotiations and slow-moving wage growth, tis really the season to make the most of your advertising bucks.

Most marketers understand the importance of careful targeting and clever messaging in crafting a successful paid social campaign. But setting and implementing a well-considered bidding strategy is an equally essential element, especially during the most significant sales period of the year. And while competition tightens in the lead-up to Christmas, with higher CPMs (costs per thousand) as a result, consumer intent is also at its peak. So how can brands get the most out of their Q4 advertising budgets, maximising impact beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Like this:

The Real Christmas Opportunity

You might think that Christmas Day isn’t a day to advertise online, with users going offline to fully enjoy the festivities. The data, however, points to the contrary. While internet usage does slow down for a few hours on the 24th, traffic is actually higher-than-average for the rest of the week – peaking on Christmas and Boxing Day.

Our review of more than 50,000 social ads shows that the last few days of December consistently have the lowest CPMs of the entire season, presenting cost-efficient opportunities to reach consumers who are spending as much time connected on Christmas as they were before the holidays. Past insight shows that, on the morning of the 25th, users are searching for things to do, shows to watch, places to eat, and deals on items that weren’t amongst their gifts. Some of the top keywords searched for online in the UK on Christmas Day last year include Nintendo Switch, Amazon Alexa, Zara, and Fitbit. The fact that presents have been bought and gifted doesn’t mean you should halt your social advertising efforts.

Boxing Day and Beyond

Last year’s Boxing Day retail footfall was down slightly compared to 2016, but 26 December is still a key date in the UK retail calendar. It’s true that the overall power of the Boxing Day sales has decreased in favour of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but last year’s reports actually showed a rise in purchases made online.

As consumers increasingly opt to search for and purchase Boxing Day bargains from the comfort of their own homes, there is a real opportunity to drive conversions with carefully targeted social campaigns. This is the time to retarget users who looked at products or didn’t complete purchases earlier in the season. Data from last year suggests that an increasing amount of shoppers focus on treating themselves during and after Christmas. The period between Christmas and the last few days of the year is a great time to reach those users if they didn’t convert before.

Despite inflation and decreasing consumer confidence, Christmas remains the primary shopping event of the year. In 2017, UK customers spent close to £79 billion in the last six weeks of the year. And that’s an opportunity no marketer can afford to miss.