When does Christmas officially begin? Does anyone know? Some believe it starts immediately after Halloween, but for marketers, it’s often kicked off by the John Lewis Christmas ad. Nothing signals the start of the festive season like the mad rush to get all of your shopping done early this year. But let’s be realistic. We all leave it to the last minute, don’t we? 

Regardless of how busy you’ll be keeping delivery drivers this quarter, we’re here to talk about your advertising and whether or not you should even be considering a Christmas ad at all.

Often, the answer to that question is what your business does. If you’re selling a product, you should absolutely take advantage of the festive rush. If you’re selling a service, well, it depends... 

The key to advertising in the holidays is relevance. You’ll see the likes of Coca-Cola, Waitrose and Aldi pumping millions into their Christmas advertising, and that’s for a reason. These brands want to associate with Christmas. They want you to buy their product or shop in their supermarket over the Christmas period. They want to be relevant to your holiday celebrations. 

However, for those selling a B2B service, you’ll often want your marketing to be more subdued, especially if you’re selling a service to people. For example, if you’re a software provider for the financial services sector, you’ll need to bear in mind that the business managers you’ll be selling to likely won’t be at their desks. Here, you might want to consider setting aside some budget for a quick bit of physical marketing for your clients and prospects. A Christmas hamper sent to a prospective client's office keeps you in the forefront of their mind come the new year, and you can always send a quick reminder. 

Moving back to advertising, there are a whole host of pros and cons of marketing over the Christmas season. Here are a few:

Pros:

  • Accelerated Traffic - You can safely expect more traffic over the Christmas holidays. More people are searching around online than at any other time of year, so it’s a good time to reach new audiences. 
  • People are spending more - Christmastime is the busiest time of the year for retailers, and people are spending more than at any other time of the year. This also tends to mean that people are more likely to buy than usual. This busy consumerism can mean you pick up some new clients or product sales.

Cons:

  • Competition - You’re not the only ones thinking of creating a Christmas campaign. You can fully expect that all of your competitors will be doing the same thing, targeting the same audiences, and gunning for the same results. Your ads will really need to stand out from the crowd if you’re going to find some success.
  • Cost - As a direct result of the increased competition for ad space over the Christmas period, the cost of advertising also increases dramatically. As more people launch their Christmas campaigns, the competition for keywords increases and the bidding war begins. This means that ads can cost up to 25% more than usual, or sometimes even higher.

So what are our best tips for advertising at Christmas?

  • Make sure your content and advertising are relevant to your target audience.
  • Start planning your campaign well in advance. Nobody can pinpoint exactly when Christmas ad space becomes competitive, but it’s best to get in early. Your campaign should ideally be ready a couple of months before Santa comes down the chimney! 
  • Keep your costs lower by engaging with warm audiences. They can be easy conversions! Use your email lists wisely.