The United States phenomenon of Black Friday has also landed in the United Kingdom. Media coverage showed this event in the high street and supermarket stores with people going mad for heavily discounted deals, but also having to endure crowds of other people fighting for the same deals.

E-mail inboxes were also bombarded with retailer offers along with Cyber Monday deals. But these “event days” might not continue to have the same impact on Christmas purchasing, so opportunities for advertisers may also change.

Will the increase in devices affect the time-old trends that we have become accustomed to as advertisers?

In the United States, an IBM study showed that Thanksgiving Day mobile traffic accounted for 52.1% of all online traffic with an increased percentage of total online sales (up 28%). Considering the huge consumer shift to online, advertisers need to ensure they have basics of mobile covered as well as having mobile as an essential element.

As an advertiser (retailer or otherwise), it is important to think of your digital and mobile assets as the window to the consumer where people browsing and researching constantly in the run up to Christmas.

Sixty-nine percent of UK adults are “frustrated” by brand sites that aren’t mobile-ready, and consumers make quick decisions on mobile. Don’t let your mobile properties leave a bad impression.

Weve (a joint venture by EE, O2, and Vodafone) compiled some research into Christmas behaviour that shows the majority of people do their planning related to Christmas presents at least a month before the big day.

According to John Lewis, “Christmas” has been the most popular search item on the retailer’s Web site since September 3. This means that, although people aren’t necessarily converting to purchase right away, the planning and research is happening in advance.

With 64% of people using their mobile devices (plus 45% using tablets) for Christmas shopping (Weve Christmas research 2014), mobile plays an important part in the consumer journey that advertisers should capitalise on.

Consumers often don’t want to be hit with Christmas messaging too early. But advertisers should consider being around these environments up to a few months prior to the big day, specifically in mobile, when consumer research is often completed.

Thinking about the number of Christmas campaigns that are live in December, it seems a better option is to be front of mind when the consumer is making their Christmas plans and making decisions, rather than trying to “preach to the converted.”

Mobile is a key channel for this, and should not be forgotten about in the media mix, such as being overshadowed by large television spots.

Finally, although Black Friday and Cyber Monday will continue to be big retail events, people are becoming  unsusceptible to sales as online shopping increases.

It seems that people will continue to look for deals, but communicating your brand message at the right time grows ever important. Therefore, advertising in the Christmas research environments on mobile also grows in importance.

The build up to Christmas is often where media spend is concentrated. Then after the day, retailer sales are the big communication topic.

However, though Christmas Day itself is often overlooked, increases in technology mean that the modern Christmas Day will likely feature family members using their devices in one way or another. More iOS and Android devices are activated on Christmas day than on any other day of the year.

This highlights an opportunity for advertisers to be present in browsing; whether in game, in app, or on general mobile Web sites, the audience will be present. Consider specific messaging and stand out on the one day that you are likely to capture the audience in a full state of “down time.”

To summarise:

  1. Be mobile ready, which is particularly important around Christmas when ad spend is boosted (especially with big television spots). It is also important to tie up all aspects of your Christmas campaign.

  2. Consider how consumers are using different digital devices for different events. Communicate with them in the research phase.

  3. Move away from the standard. There is a lot of advertising clutter, so consider ways to stand out.

  4. Learn for next year! Measuring a Christmas campaign fully is essential to evaluate and therefore be able to improve for next year.