Is digital advertising worth it during the festive period?

Assessing the value of digital advertising during the Christmas rush

Typically speaking, when start-ups ask us whether we think it is rewarding to use digital advertising during the Christmas period we say no because generating leads is more difficult at this time with ad clicks and impressions being much more expensive. 

There are exceptions to this rule however, and as you know, every business is different! There are lots of business models and end goals, so for some businesses this is the perfect time to advertise on social media. 

This blogpost will delve into our thought process and hopefully give you a few points to consider as Christmas approaches…

social media advertising christmas festive period value digital marketing
[Source: pixabay]

Battling the Big Brands

When you think of digital advertising in December, you immediately think of John Lewis, or Sainsbury’s or Marks and Spencer. This is mostly due to their big-budget, heart-wrenching story adverts they use every year to pull you in. Every year we wonder – how can they get much cuter?? Check out our blog on Christmas television advertising here.

This year however, will be a bit different. 2020 has been a tough year for a lot of people and digital advertising needs to reflect this, ensuring that they are sympathetic to those who are struggling across the festive period, giving them something to be joyful about as opposed to reducing everyone to a puddle of tears. 

Christmas advertising is at once a wonderful thing and also incredibly overwhelming, especially for small businesses that need the exposure over this period. With these large brands and corporations monopolising our screens, it’s hard to see the benefit of using social media advertising yourself. But there is a way.

Generating Leads in the Buy-Buy-Buy Period

Often we advise businesses to avoid festive advertising as it is incredibly saturated, and particularly for start-up companies, not very useful, with the Christmas period increasingly driving product sales and a quick buying mentality. This isn’t convenient for start-ups who are sourcing databases of potential clients and generating leads during the Christmas months. 

If you are building a database of prospects, maybe this is not the time to invest in Christmas advertising; you don’t really want to spend more of your budget with a smaller output. It’s not worth trying to compete with big brands. Your best chance is to wait until the New Year and advertise widely on your social media channels once the rush has settled. 

The optimum time for lead generation is from early February onwards when holiday consumer campaigns have died down and companies are less active. This is furthermore when cost-per-click (CPC) will go back down. Consumers will be averaging a lower spend, but taking more time to research and develop a relationship with the companies they want to support. With an increase in conscious purchasing, there is a greater opportunity to bond with your audience. 

social media advertising christmas festive period value digital marketing

Deck the Halls with Spending Analysis

Exceptions to this rule of course, are companies with products which are more fitted to December and January sales such as Veganuary or health and fitness products designed for the New Year.

For companies who drive the most sales in the Autumn/Winter period, it might be worth paying that bit extra per impression to ensure that business is steady. 

If you are on a tight time budget, perhaps target a few key areas where you are hitting your best click-through-rates (CTR) and then return to your audience again after the period has finished to gauge continued interest and source new trade. 

With commerce being up at Christmas time, this is a good time to source new customers and analyse your audience’s spending habits. Market research is essential to ensure that you are advertising the right product to the right audience.

Are they a seasonal consumer? Do they typically spend in the same places throughout the year? Is your product an essential lifestyle product for continual re-stock? Or is your product an interesting gift idea but will only be purchased once per customer? You need to define and promote your Unique Selling Point.

New Year, New Direction

If your business typically dips at this time of year, perhaps this is time to divert your attention to another area of your business and recalibrate in time for the New Year. Check out our blog post discussing what makes a strong brand.

Analyse your sales data, what are your biggest sellers in this period? Which products flourish year round? Who are your biggest competitors? What are they doing differently? 

This is a great opportunity to try out a new platform, getting to grips with your market figures and making valuable adjustments for the next financial year. It’s never too early to plan your next campaign. 

Our Alternatives to Paid Digital Advertising

We suggest that if the Christmas period is not an essential facilitator of income for your business, you should take a step back.

This is a great time to experiment and utilise a new or under-promoted platform. Why not implement an alternative to digital advertising, such as…

  • Reach out to form new partnerships with other local businesses. They could sell your product on a larger platform or vice versa!
  • Plan and create captivating new social media content to show that you’re proactive year-round.
  • Pitch your product at conferences and marketing fairs.
  • Prepare a new angle to promote in the New Year. Create a media pack to release to the press, showing the fresh changes you have made. 
  • If your product can be linked to the New Year’s resolution market, prepare!
  • Analyse your market and recalibrate for the next financial quarter. Why not try the Business Model Canvas approach.
  • Plan and employ a company newsletter outlining new and exciting teasers and updates.
  • Refresh your email-based marketing. Plan a new campaign for next year when the Christmas sales emails have calmed down. 

Even if you choose not to use paid advertising during the festive period, there are so many ways you can work on your business and make positive changes for future success.

‘Tis the season!