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How to Advertise during Christmas: tips from Google, Meta, and Spotify

Marketers are always trying to find non-standard solutions, how to create a creative strategy, how to optimize a campaign so

Marketers are always trying to find non-standard solutions, how to create a creative strategy, how to optimize a campaign so that competitors cannot repeat it, and what data to collect and analyze in order to better understand the market. But any techie will confirm that the best way to get the desired result is to read the developers’ documentation and follow the advice in it. So, let’s take a look at what Facebook, Google, and Spotify have to say about their holiday advertising campaigns. Let’s try to derive the formula of an ideal Christmas or New Year advertising campaign from all these tips.

General Tips for Christmas Campaigns

Each advertising site insists on its advantages and emphasizes its strengths. But there are features that are repeated in the manuals of various advertising providers, so it will not be superfluous to talk about them right away.

  1. Get inspired by the best examples of colleagues and competitors. Of course, it is not about plagiarism and not about taking the position of someone who is catching up with more successful players. But it is important to be in context, to understand what the target audience sees besides your advertisement. The best examples of content (including advertising) can become a source of inspiration for your original work. Besides, you won’t miss it
  2. Understand when your customers start buying. Look at the sales growth of previous years, evaluate the current capabilities of your own logistics, and build a marketing strategy based on when users will buy your product. A small business that relies on mail delivery should refocus on a local audience closer to the holidays and organize an offline point of delivery of orders. If your product is presented in offline stores in many regions, continue to emphasize to the last what a great gift it is.
  3. Consider that the audience will spend more time online. People will be more likely to listen to streaming music, Google gifts, and download new apps to their smartphones. So be prepared for increased traffic on your resources.

Spotify’s Tips for Christmas Advertising

Media advertising on Spotify will be relevant for the New Year and Christmas holidays. At this time, you can receive significantly more listening than will actually be reflected in the statistics of the service. According to the platform, by the end of the year, listening from smart speakers increases by 75%, and by 40% – from TVs. That is, at the end of December, your ad has the greatest chance of sounding not in the headphones of one person, but from a speaker that entertains a family or a large group of friends.

Of course, such a change in the format of consumption makes it impossible to accurately measure the real audience of an advertising campaign, but it can be estimated that with the increase of the audience, the effectiveness of advertising will increase.

Also, towards the end of the year, people listen to music 25% more often in the evenings, while cooking. This insight should be used in the development of your strategy: for example, promote food delivery as a backup option for dinner; or remind you about holiday discounts on food products in your store.

Spotify advises advertisers to listen to popular Christmas playlists and create ads that fit organically into the context. The advice to research the context applies not only to Spotify, but to any other ad.

Another trend in the behavior of Spotify users for the new year is trying to improve their lives. Motivational and meditation playlists were up 25% in January; also a quarter more often people listen to selections for training. Among other things, Spotify advises you to try advertising in podcasts during this period.

  “Create your own podcast moments that give listeners helpful tips, ideas, and insights to create better health habits in the New Year. Encourage your audience to start the year differently with personalized offers to solve people’s problems”.

Google Tips on How to Advertise for Christmas

According to Google’s blog, people shop around 34% more on Christmas than on Black Friday. This shows that people do not buy New Year’s gifts in advance, but directly on the day of the holiday, and even after it. At the same time, it is about online shopping, despite all the efforts of offline retail. This means that even on December 31, if the budget allows, you should not turn off search campaigns with holiday offers.

Also, Google claims that customers spend an average of 13 days to buy a product, but once the user has chosen a product, he wants to get it as soon as possible. So, the closer to the holidays, the more people are looking for products with same-day delivery. And when they realize that the post office is already overloaded and definitely won’t be able to make it in time with the gift, buyers turn to local stores. Therefore, at the end of the year, it is worth working with local search queries.

Meanwhile, mobile searches for “open now” and “store hours” increase throughout December and peak at Christmas. This includes searches like “what shops near me are open on Christmas Day?”, “Which grocery stores are open on Christmas Day?” and “which stores are open now?”

Also, Google researchers determine that regardless of what day of the week Christmas falls on, the holiday shopping spree begins on Friday a week before the holiday. The Saturday after that is usually the second-busiest day in December.

With all of this in mind, Google recommends using Merchant Center for the holidays, which it rolled out to the public at the end of 2017 and has been improving this solution ever since. The more products you have in your Merchant Center, the more likely you are to get customers looking for your product as a last-minute gift.

Promotion of applications for the holidays

Google notes that customers consider the New Year a great time to download new apps. The most likely audience here is millennials, with 47% of them planning to download apps on Christmas Day. So, if your business has apps, you have a chance to gather a new audience for the holidays. And it doesn’t stop at the holidays, more users download apps during January, so this is the time to focus on app promotion and retention.

Perhaps this is due to the fact that on weekends, people have more free time that they spend online. Or with the fact that people are more open to new experiences for the New Year.

  1. Add holiday touches to the visual component of the application card. “The more you customize for the holiday, the more likely your app will be featured in the app stores,” says Google.
  2. Make sure your capacity is ready for large spikes in traffic, and create a load-balancing plan in case the systems become overloaded.
  3. Monetize new traffic. Try new ad formats if you earn money by showing ads. If your app is paid or offers purchases, consider discounts.

It is also not recommended to release new features during the holidays unless they have been thoroughly tested, so as not to turn off the new audience with errors and overload technical support.

Effective video advertising by ABCD

Google derived its own formula for effective video advertising under the acronym ABCD: Attention, Branding, Connection, Direction. Read more about this framework in the official explanation, and we will try to explain the components using the example of a Christmas advertisement.

  1. Attention. To attract the attention of viewers, you should stand out from the rest of the content. Use bright colors, dynamic montage, and intriguing elements, so as not to leave the viewer indifferent. If we talk about holiday advertising, then here you should either avoid clichés or immediately play on them unpredictably.
  2. Branding. Often, holiday advertising tells long creative stories, and shows how Santa carries gifts of a specific brand on a specific company’s vehicle, or with a specific mail. In previous years, advertisers hoped that the viewer would remember the brand if they watched a long and emotional story clip related to it. But our observations show that the brand should be in the first seconds of the ad, before the “Skip” button appears. But you can go further and show the brand throughout the video, for example, as TV channels do — show the logo in the corner of the screen.
  3. Connection. This term involves creating an emotional connection with the viewer; creativity should make the audience think: “This is a cool company, there are people like me!”. For such an effect, you can introduce a hero with a living story into the ad, who faces the same difficulties as the viewer. Or, on the contrary, you can emphasize humor and laugh along with the audience.
  4. Direction. Make sure your ad has a specific and clear call to action. Don’t leave the viewer with a silent question of “so what?”, instead show the next step to the final conversion. Even if you are making an image clip whose task is only to introduce the audience to the brand, add a CTA “Remember”. If you’re talking about a brand’s social initiative, create a landing page that the ad viewer can later find and read.

Meta about Holiday Advertising

Running Instagram during the Holiday Season

Instagram insists on the importance of a content plan during the holiday season, and even offers this set of posts:

Source: https://business.instagram.com/blog/how-to-plan-for-holidays-on-instagram/ 

In general, Instagram highlights four Christmas content strategies for businesses.

  1. Holiday at work. Share stories about your team: photos from office parties, or behind-the-scenes content about your product.
  2. Product. Display your product in festive decorations. Use Christmas tree branches and decorations, snow, or any other symbols of the New Year.
  3. Discounts. Such content is a good incentive for purchases, especially if they are limited in time.
  4. Offer gifts. Organize a giveaway among your audience.

Tips for Ads

If we talk about advertising on social media, Instagram advises thinking about it in advance, so that potential customers already know about you when they make purchases. At the same time, it is worth monitoring the statistics and promoting the content that showed a good result in the organic edition.

Meta advises you to expand your audience during the holidays and try the “Automatic Audience” function. With it, the social network will show ads to people with similar interests and demographics as current subscribers. However, if you want to target a specific group of shoppers during the holiday season, you can create your own audience before serving your ad by choosing a location, gender, age, and interests to target.

But also, when launching advertising on holidays, you should keep an eye on the budget and objectively assess the possible duration of the campaign.

Promotion cases with Meta

Meta cites several successful cases of promotion of its resources during the Christmas season. Let’s take a look at them to better understand effective strategies.

For example, a UK health and beauty store saw a 10% cost-per-purchase reduction after using Meta Advantage+ shopping campaigns to promote its Christmas gift guide on Facebook. In addition, the return on advertising costs increased by 7% compared to a regular campaign.

Another British company, Abbey Road Studios, used ads from the Advantage+ catalog on Facebook and Instagram and saw a 7.6-point increase in awareness of its online store. The studio used dynamic ads and this increased the effectiveness of its giveaway campaign.

Conclusions

  1. It is useful to read the help articles of advertising tools. Advertising providers like to share statistics and cases of successful promotion, which can inspire non-standard solutions.
  2. Spotify separates New Year and Christmas as two important dates with different specifics of content consumption. In terms of Christmas advertising, Spotify emphasizes the family nature of this holiday: people listen to music together more often, through speakers or SmartTV, and gather together to cook and have dinner together. New Year’s trends are motivation, self-improvement, goal setting, etc. We should take into account the cultural features of these holidays in Ukraine and, if possible, combine dinners in the family circle with a new life from January 1.
  3. The season of New Year and Christmas holidays is marked by a significant surge in purchases. People buy gifts and, according to Google, they do so at the last minute. Therefore, advertisers are advised to focus on search campaigns, especially local ones, when the mail obviously will not have time to deliver on time.
  4. App developers should expect a spike in downloads towards the end of the year. Google advises them to add festive visual elements, but not to roll out new features at the end of the year without proper testing.
  5. Instagram advises entering the holidays with specific plans for both organic content and promotion. The social network offers to start advertising in advance to remember the audience even before people start buying gifts.
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