For local advertisers and media companies, the holidays have traditionally been a bright spot in the year. New research from ZypMedia is about to make that even brighter.
According to an analysis of data from the local market advertising company, consumers are more likely to spend and are more receptive to digital advertising during the holiday season than other times of the year. ZypMedia also found that November is the most effective month for consumers to engage with brands and their holiday campaigns, with a click-through-rate that’s 125% higher than the average over the past year.
“We found that in 2017, the click-through-rate (CTR) started to climb in October but peaked in November,” says Aman Sareen, CEO of ZypMedia. “The highest-performing CTR occurred between November 1st and 12th.”
ZypMedia’s discovery that consumers start to strategize up to two and a half months in advance for holiday shopping jibes with the results of another recent data analysis, this one by the data solutions company Lotame. In that analysis, Lotame found that the biggest growth rate for Black Friday web searches was happening ahead of Thanksgiving and that there was a bigger spike immediately after Halloween than during Thanksgiving week.
For its new data analysis, ZypMedia looked at 2017 holiday digital advertising campaigns, knowing that 2017 was a relatively strong year for holiday sales. The National Retail Federation has reported that 2017 holiday sales brought a year-over-year increase of 5.5%, which is the largest increase since 2010. Holiday retail sales this year are projected to move even higher, reaching $720 billion dollars, according to NRF estimates.
But typical shopping isn’t the only category of spending that’s expected to increase during the holidays. ZypMedia’s analysis found that in the 2017 holiday season, the biggest share of advertising spend actually occurred in the automotive category, followed by home and garden.
“The primary driver for this is the difference in the local and national categories,” Sareen explains. “If you were to look at national categories, shopping will probably be No. 1, as they spend money on advertising nationally, but if you look at local, the categories follow the local advertising dollars.”
The automotive industry’s dominance makes sense, given that consumers tend to make large purchases on big-ticket items during the holiday season. In fact, ZypMedia found that auto dealers generally do their best selling at the end of the calendar year, and automakers have big incentives to move their cars off lots during the holiday season. Those incentives lead to car advertisements flooding the airwaves in November and December.
Given Sareen’s extensive experience with local advertisers, sitting at the cross section of technology and media, he believes it’s important for advertisers to leverage their own data and dig into the trends from previous holiday seasons if they want to succeed in today’s climate. He also sees data as the key to successful campaigns and says it’s important for advertisers to check on their campaign performance metrics in real-time.
“History almost always repeats itself, so it is imperative that learnings—both good and bad—be used in creating the next media plan,” he says. “Our team of media planners have data on more than 20,000 local advertisers, and they use these historical insights and machine learning to create a media plan that would enable a successful campaign.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.