As we progress further into the holiday season, optimizing your campaigns for better performance is critical for success. But amid the chaos and endless noise, it can be tough to know where to start. Below, you’ll find four insights based on a contextual analysis of how consumers engage with content throughout the holiday period.
We looked at the holiday season through three consumer lenses: shopping, travel, and cooking—the core consumer activities that dominate this time of year. To do so, we analyzed contextual keyword segments to see what content consumers were engaging with, and if there were patterns or trends of note.
The result is a combination of insights and tips that you can apply to your in-market campaigns to drive better performance and increase engagement with your audience.
Engagement with holiday shopping content spikes early in December; and then again during the week after Christmas to align with last-minute shopping missions, post-Christmas sales, and the gift-card season.
Map campaigns to the three key consumer shopping missions in December: last-minute shopping, post-Christmas sales, and gift-card redemption.
Engagement with holiday shopping content is strongest early in December and then spikes again in the week after Christmas.
Three consumer missions—last-minute shopping, post-Christmas sales, and redeeming gift cards— dominate the month of December for holiday shoppers. These missions are central to retail-focused campaigns, so aligning budget spend to when engagement spikes is critical to success.
Last-minute shoppers are driving the content engagement leading up to December 25, providing a two- to three-week window of opportunity for advertisers to make their final push. The bargain hunters and gift-card shoppers take over during the week after Christmas and appear to stay interested in holiday shopping content up until January 6.
So, a good strategy is to split December campaigns between pre-Christmas and post-Christmas, potentially using alternate messaging to drive engagement. Otherwise, focus only on one consumer mission with the aim of aligning your messaging with the mind-set of the last-minute shopper, bargain hunter, or gift-card redeemer.
Engagement with content suggests that holiday shoppers are price conscious, predominantly interested in buying clothes and searching for gifts.
Add keyword segments related to “price,” “discounts,” and “sales” to engage price-conscious buyers; and target environments focused on clothing, fashion, and related trends to improve campaign performance.
The majority of Holiday Shopping Content is categorized as ‘Price Conscious’, ‘Fashion Forward’, ‘Gift Giving’, and ‘Luxury Buyer’, providing insights into what content consumers are interested in during the holiday period.
The terms we see populating the holiday shopping segment reveal four broad consumer content profiles—price conscious, fashion forward, gift giving, and luxury buying—which you can use to drive campaign performance.
Price-conscious content dominates the holiday period, suggesting that consumers are interested in engaging with content about deals, savings, giveaways, and discounts. Consumer packaged good (CPG) brands can benefit from this by focusing their holiday campaigns here, where consumers are looking for cheap purchases.
The holiday season is also prime time for fashion brands to capture the attention of holiday shoppers. Fashion-related content is the second-highest categorization within the holiday shopper segment, meaning that consumers are seeking content on clothing, trends, style tips, and other fashion-related areas. Fashion, lifestyle, and similar brands can use this information to ensure their messages are appearing in the right context.
Consumer interest with holiday travel content drops sharply after Christmas and then begins to trend again in mid-January.
Holiday travel campaigns will perform best if they’re run through December until the 24th of the month.
Engagement with Holiday Travel Content drops around the time of Christmas before rapidly increasing in early January.
During the peak December travel period, there are many consumer missions that advertisers can capitalize on. From choosing a vacation destination and booking flights, to planning the packing list and purchasing clothes and accessories, holiday travel is a broad segment.
Consumer interest in travel content through December suggests trends similar to that of holiday shopping. Engagement with holiday travel content peaks the day before Christmas and then drops significantly.
As it steadily rises through the month of December, consider how you can engage consumers booking last-minute flights home to their families; as well as holiday packages, clothes, and accessories for their trips. With such strong engagement up until December 25, it’s a rich opportunity to deliver a well-timed message.
To avoid wasted or ineffective spend, ensure that campaigns are finished by December 25, or pause them until interest in the segment begins to trend again in early to mid-January.
Holiday cooking is a weekend mission that is dominated by recipes.
Focus on sites with recipe content, and allocate more campaign budget to weekends to capture the lion’s share of consumer attention for holiday cooking campaigns.
The majority of Cooking-related content is categorized as ‘Recipe’ and ‘Sweet Food’, suggesting consumers are most interested in content related to these two categories during the holiday period.
Page categorizations for cooking content occurred heavily on weekends and Mondays, suggestion that’s when consumers are searching online for related to food and recipes.
Content in the holiday cooking segment is wide-ranging, including recipes, cuisine, how-to guides, product and meal reviews, and more.
The holiday period is a busy time for consumers, so plan cooking-related campaigns that feature more heavily on weekends—when people have more time to search the web for ideas, recipes, and tips for upcoming meals. Engagement is highest with pages about recipes, so also focus campaigns on sites that deliver this content for best results.
The holiday season is a chaotic time for marketers—as the end of year looms, it’s the final push to capture consumer attention and deliver the best results for their brands. For campaigns to be successful at any point during the year, marketers must deal with fragmented attention and a barrage of messages from other brands. During the holiday period, this is all magnified, and it’s a far greater challenge to cut through the clutter and reach audiences in the right moments. But with the above insights and tips, hopefully we can get you one step closer to delivering holiday campaigns that drive conversions and help you deliver on your KPIs.
About Allan Stormon
Allan is the Content Marketing Manager at Oracle Data Cloud. He leads the content strategy and global content marketing program, producing content that helps marketers create and launch more effective campaigns with data.