The fourth quarter of the year isn’t just a season of festivities. It’s a season of unparalleled opportunities for brands and advertisers and a time when consumers are in a buying frenzy. The sales during these months can make or break your year. In fact, retail spending for the 2023 festive season is projected to increase by 4.5% to $1.3 trillion and e-commerce accounts for nearly 20% of these sales.

But success in Q4 doesn’t happen by chance – it results from meticulous planning and data-backed budget allocation. With the right advertising strategy, you can ensure your brand stands out amidst the festive season noise. We’ve enlisted the expertise of top advertisers and agencies who’ve honed their festive season advertising strategies to perfection. Their recommendations and insights can guide you through the intricate process of allocating your resources to maximize returns during this crucial period.

Pick the Q4 Moments that Matter to Your Business

Some brands can take advantage of the entire shopping season, leaning in especially hard on the days surrounding Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and the last ‘guaranteed to be delivered by Christmas’ days. That’s a successful strategy for many advertisers, but it isn’t effective for every company.

What if your brand is subject to seasonality and those peak shopping days aren’t relevant? Should you skip the festive season altogether? According to Secret Escapes’ Senior Performance Marketing Executive Anastasia Trifunovic and Performance Marketing Manager Caroline Schaaf, the answer is no.

For this travel brand, the most critical time to launch performance marketing campaigns and drive sales is Q5 (January). Instead of wasting ad dollars and trying to compete during high-cost, high-competition days and months, the team holds off in favor of capitalizing on the days when their campaigns will generate the best ROI.

Even if seasonality doesn’t affect you, the takeaway from this recommendation is essential: focus on the days that drive results for you specifically. For example, if your brand offers online gift cards or subscription services, you could prioritize the few days before Christmas when deliveries won’t arrive on time, targeting last-minute shoppers.

Test, Optimize, Repeat

The festive season is a high-stakes period, so ensuring your campaigns are as compelling as possible is crucial. A/B testing provides data-driven insights that help you understand which messaging, creatives, and offers resonate, adapt to changing consumer behaviors and optimize your ad spend for maximum ROI. But what exactly should you test?

For their beauty brand client Boots, Programmatic Executive Mollie York and Digital Media Executive Megan Cardoe from SMG Agency center their A/B tests on creatives and messaging copy. They constantly look at traffic and sales data to evaluate campaign and platform performance, shifting budgets to better-performing ads and channels as data becomes available.

Since they are confident with their audience targeting, it isn’t an aspect they test. However, you should if you’re looking for new audience segments.

Look to the Past, Predict the Future

You don’t have a crystal ball to show you what consumers will buy, but you have the next best thing – historical data. When Aiden Spiteri, a Programmatic Account Executive at the global agency Incubeta, plans Q4 advertising strategies for clients, including The Perfume Shop, he analyzes data from previous Q4s, using what he learns to inform the upcoming season’s strategy.

You should examine past consumer buying trends and evaluate sales data from different angles. See what insights you can unearth by asking yourself questions such as:

  • Did the most popular items fall into specific price points?
  • Was a purchasing trend due to an isolated event like the pandemic or is it an emerging trend likely to repeat itself?

Analyzing the marketing and budgeting strategies you used in previous years is equally important. Take note of which campaigns, platforms and audiences delivered the highest ROI. Sometimes, your greatest insights will come from scrutinizing the strategies that didn’t work; think about what you anticipated would happen and why the reality was different.

Seize the Season

The ornaments are coming out, the consumers are ready to shop, and it’s your brand’s time to shine. With expert recommendations from top advertisers and agencies and the power of data-driven decisions, you’re poised for festive season campaign success like never before.

So, don’t wait! Dive into action, plan carefully, and make this year unforgettable for your brand and bottom line.

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