How to Crack Christmas 2017

At our recent webinar, “How to Crack Christmas”, Damien Bennett NMPi’s Director of Business Strategy talked to advertisers about the methods to use to ensure a smooth and successful holiday season. What are the best ways to approach the holiday sale season? What do advertisers need to be aware of when building their campign strategies? Lastly, he looked at how to collect valuable data and apply it.  NMPi has outlined a four tiered strategy for creating the best possible campaigns the upcoming Christmas season.

  1. How to Phase Activity Effectively
  2. Key Dates to be Aware of from November to January
  3. Changes in Shopping Behaviour Over the Period
  4. Effective Tactics to Take Advantage of the Holiday Season

How to Phase Activity Effectively

A great (and free!) tool available to advertisers is Google Trends. We used ths tool to examine search volumes between October 1st- December 31st. We noticed that there was a surge in interest in Christmas from the first week of November at the exact same time the first Christmas ads are released in the UK. This year, UK brands will premiere those ads on November 6th. What’s interesting about the UK is, that while the vast most searches occur in early November, the vast majority of purchases, 94%, occur in the final four weeks leading up to Christmas.

November is all about researching so plan your strategies to align with this crucial planning period where people are browsing but not yet in the position to buy anything. Another interesting point about the UK market during the holiday season is that another peak occurs just after Christmas, a surge that runs until the end of January.

Key Dates

November 6th: When Christmas ads begin on TV
November 24th: Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend
December 15th-17th: The last delivery dates.  We have noted a marked spike in volume and interest in Christmas gifts as consumers try to get their packages off before the deadline closes.
December 26th: Boxing Day, and the start of January sales.

Shopping Behaviour


Mobile remains huge during the Christmas period, with 51% of Christmas related searches in 2016 coming from a mobile device. That 51% will be a lot closer to 60% in 2017, and continue to rise every year. Mobile must be an essential part of your Christmas campaigns.


Of course, mobile is not without its challenges. For one, not everyone who starts on mobile ends on mobile. A shopper may start research on one device, but convert on another. Cross device shopping is definitely an issue marketers must be aware of, and incorporate into their strategies. To ensure you have the best possible outcomes for your campaigns, you need full visibility of the customer journey, and you need to correctly attribute that performance.

Another challenge is that 50% of customers researched online before purchasing in store, and 25% of ‘local’ mobile searches lead to in-store visits. How are these problems? It’s concerning because many retailers with brick-and-mortar stores tend to silo their in-store and online activities. Advertisers need to be aware of the online research activity that drives people to their stores.

Lasty, advertisers need to include Black Friday and Cyber Monday into their Christmas strategies, and they need to be aware of the key differences between these two busy shopping periods. Users who search “Black Friday” tend to buy things for themselves whilst those who search “Christmas” buy things for others. In fact, 61% of all purchases during Black Friday and Cyber Monday are for the buyer, vs 85% of Christmas shopping being gifts for other people.

Effective Tactics

We offer a three-pronged approach to the research phase in the lead up to Christmas

  • Awareness: Make people aware of your brand, propositions, and any Christmas promotions you might be running. Programmatic is good to use during this phase because it extends your reach, and enables you to employ different ad formats to really drive awareness.
  • Measurement: Collect and segment as much audience data as possible. You can capture cookie data on site and further segment it in this phase.
  • Retargeting: The next step is to phase in retargeting along those key dates. Retarget using a variety of creatives so that your audience truly engages and doesn’t feel chased or harassed.

Measurement has its own challenges, but Google and Facebook have devised ways to help advertisers better understand cross device sales, with cross device measurement statistics. Have an attribution model in place so you can see the full customer journey. Last touch doesn’t give you an accurate picture.

Lastly, we touched on challenges in store uplift. There are no ‘off the shelf solutions’ , so how can advertisers join their online to in-store experiences?

  • loyalty schemes
  • eReceipts
  • joining up customer details (i.e., asking for an email and customer address at the point of sale.
  • Geographic tiles – GPS on mobile phones to help link consumer activity.

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