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Key questions for festive TV planning

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Planning a TV campaign for the festive period can be equally confusing for marketers of both seasonal and non-seasonal products.

There are 3 things to remember when planning TV in the build-up to Christmas:

  • Your product and audience – even if it’s non-seasonal
  • TV viewing patterns around Christmas week are significantly different to the rest of the year
  • In recent years, November and December cost per thousands (CPTs) have been lower than the year average

When to target the Christmas shopper?
This depends entirely on your target audience and the product you sell.

Different demographics shop at different intervals in the lead up to Christmas, but they aren’t necessarily shopping for gifts. The below chart from Hitwise shows how different audience profiles behave around Black Friday, with males and younger adults beginning the search for Black Friday as early as September.

(Source: Hitwise Christmas 2017 planning webinar)

However, when it comes to gift planning, the roles reverse. 83% of women have already started planning and shopping for Christmas gifts by the end of November, compared to 67% of men (source: TGI 2017), implying that many Black Friday shoppers are seeking a bargain for themselves, as opposed to a gift. Therefore, it is imperative to consider your customer journey, and the research vs. purchase “lag” when planning your pre-Christmas activity. Consider who will be buying it (eg. Women buying gifts for men will start buying earlier). Also, consider the patterns of your competitors, to discover when they historically go to market with special offers or their Black Friday messaging: see what they did last year to help find the opportune moment for your approach.

Shifts in TV viewing
The key thing to remember is that audience volumes and profiles shift drastically as those working 9 to 5 potentially wind down and take time off over the festive period. This shift is most significant in daytime, where in 2016 we saw a 23% week-on-week viewership uplift for all adults.

The below chart shows the biggest opportunities of audience growth in “Christmas week”, with 16-34 males experiencing the biggest daytime Monday to Friday uplift. This means there is a great deal of opportunity for non-seasonal advertisers to target typically under-indexing audiences on TV.

(Source: BARB, w/c 19 Dec vs. w/c 26 Dec 2016)

Airtime prices
November and December 2016 were the 3rd and 4th lowest CPT of the year respectively (source: ITV), driven largely by high summer pricing around the UEFA European Championships football tournament. As we are already seeing a softer TV market in the lead up to Q4, we predict to see low Christmas pricing once more. This is in addition to typical post-Christmas December deals experienced in previous years. This provides an ideal opportunity for new advertisers to test TV advertising, as well as low cost inventory for non-seasonal advertisers.

All Response Media Viewpoint

It is important to always combine TV trading and media planning expertise with insight gained from tools such as Connexity Hitwise, Nielsen and Ad Dynamix. This strategic consideration of sector, target audience and competitors enables us to create a bespoke media plan to meet each client’s specific needs. Speak to your account team for more sector-specific insight on how best to approach the Christmas period.

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