Maor Sadra
Maor Sadra 8 December 2023

Do New Year’s Resolutions Offer a Greater Opportunity to Brands Than Christmas?

Christmas is typically considered the pinnacle of brands’ marketing calendars, with a huge amount of preparation and budget being appropriated towards the 25th December not to mention the preceding festive shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And Christmas is of course, when many brands experience their most bumper sales period. Yet for a number of verticals, it’s not Christmas that’s the biggest driver of sales, but the new year.

So, are brands wasting marketing budget around the festive season, which could be better channelled into January marketing activities?  

It’s the Season to Be Gaming

It is pretty much a given that gaming and entertainment performs well in this period, with most users having significantly more free time on their hands, there is a consistent increase in installs, purchases and trials across all gaming companies.

However, while uplift is noticeable earlier in December, once we reach Christmas day, the median increase in performance is 173% compared with the first 2 weeks of December.

And what is particularly interesting, is that following the holiday, a new higher baseline is established, meaning that users trying a new game or entertainment product during Christmas are sticking around. 

In terms of how this plays out for marketers however, it’s not so straightforward. With performance up, it makes sense for marketers to assume that their advertising is paying off, yet the incrementality of ad spend for gaming and entertainment products during this period is low in value compared to previous times in the year.

The reason for this is that many sales and downloads are being driven by the dates themselves rather than advertising. Given how expensive ad inventory is in December, it makes sense that marketers scale back to focus only on the tactics that are really contributing to uplift.

But with pressure squarely on brand marketers to boost sales during this time, convincing seniors in the company of the decision to cut marketing budgets at this time, could be easier said than done.  

Festive Fintech Trends 

Fintech and Financial products experience a similar pattern to games and entertainment but with greater performance also weighted to the later part of December and the New Year.

Consumers are typically using extra cash or looking to save or change spending habits around this period and this has led to a high median increase in performance of 192% compared to the first two weeks of December.

So Fintech marketers can be happy in the knowledge that their customers are staying around and creating a new higher baseline going into the new year as they seek to get their finances in order.

The New Year’s Resolutions

Aside from gaming, fintech and ecommerce brands, Christmas has a very low impact over other verticals. Automotive, education, telecom and travel verticals in particular do not fare well over the festive period but come the 1st January, these verticals all see a huge spike in results. 

For these New Year’s resolution brands, the largest spike we see consistently is for education companies, for which the first week in January brings a massive 260% uplift compared to the rest of December as a whole. 

It makes sense given that a common new year’s resolution is to ‘learn something new’. It’s also the January Blues prompted by the post Christmas comedown and generally miserable weather that leads holiday bookings to soar in the first part of the year. 

Many marketers will choose to ride the wave during the first week of January and from an incrementality perspective, this does make sense. These sectors generally see good returns for ad spend during this time, which is boosted by media costs being lower during the first week of January, when many ad dollars go into hibernation. 

The Key to a Fruitful Festive Period and a Prosperous New Year

While INCRMNTAL’s data clearly shows key trends for specific verticals, the only way for brands to know for sure how their marketing spend is performing over the Christmas and New Year period is to measure it effectively across all channels and tactics.

Understanding the impact marketing spend has on brand KPIs through both December and January will not only help brands to drive return on investment but also save money where it could be better invested at other times of the year. 

This type of measurement can be achieved with privacy-safe causality modelling, which will apply seasonality data to the operational changes marketers make on a day-to-day basis to measure incrementality continuously. It’s therefore the perfect tool for brands this Christmas who want to make it a festive season to remember for all the right reasons. 

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