Just like pigs in blankets, Ant and Dec and The Two Ronnie’s, Christmas and online marketing are a double act made for each other.
You don't get one without the other, and in 2015 Christmas marketing and advertising is everywhere we look. It's unavoidable, whether it's on the television, outdoor or online.
We’re all aware that traditional advertising is still an area of huge expenditure every Christmas period (over £30 million will be spent on TV advertising in the UK during December), but nowadays the real money is online as shoppers choose to buy the things they want via their devices rather than from a catalogue or the high street.
Shopping online is easy, convenient and therefore highly appealing. It means we can avoid queues, crowds and the battle for a parking space as we buy from the comfort of our own homes. As a result online retailers have seen an exponential growth in recent years:
There were 671 million online orders placed in the UK during 2012 and estimates suggest that there will have been over a billion orders placed during by the time 2015 is over. Additionally, research from Adobe predicts a 44.9% growth in online shopping over the next five years resulting in an incredible £62.7bn estimated online expenditure by 2020.
During the Christmas period in 2014, online shopping accounted for nearly a quarter of the Christmas spend in the UK, and if the stats above are anything to go by, we’ll see an ever higher number this festive period. So there’s plenty of opportunity for brilliant digital marketing brains to maximise sales at the busiest time of the year.
Remember, it’s not Christmas until you’ve seen the Coca-Cola advert
When people announce that Christmas has arrived when they've seen the Coca-Cola truck advert on their TV, marketing’s impact on what at one time was solely a religious holiday becomes unquestionable.
Add to this the anticipation of the yearly heart-warming John Lewis advert which this year cost £7 million, it’s clear that marketing and Christmas are now so intertwined that there’s no turning back.
Every year the marketing engine seems to start earlier, usually as soon as Bonfire night and Halloween are done and dusted: this is known as ‘Christmas Creep’, and each year the marketing noise is louder than the previous one.
An estimated £17.7bn to be spent online this Christmas
The growth in spend is set to continue this year: from £14.93bn in 2013 to £17.35bn in 2014, Adobe predicts that an estimated £17.7bn will be spent online during the 2015 Christmas period.
From where I'm sat it looks like Christmas has turned gone digital and become some sort of financial crazy town – the image of Sepp Blatter with dollar bills flying around his head springs to mind, albeit with less-dodgy money.
For digital marketers – whether you’re on social media, running content marketing or PPC campaigns – it’s vital you have a coherent strategy in place to help you capitalise on this shift to digital, ensuring you can maximise your earnings during the ‘most wonderful time of year’.
How can you get in on the act?
As an online retailer it’s up to you to get in the festive spirit and optimise your customer’s Christmas shopping experience, making sure you're saying the right things to them at all stages of the purchase funnel.
Essentially you want your brand to be seen by the right people at the right time, which nowadays is from early November right the way through to Christmas Day itself - but don't forget the Boxing Day and New Year sales.