Christmas Marketing Guide

Oct 26, 2022 | 9:30 AM

There may not be snow on the ground, but the signs of Christmas surround us in the advertising world.  With two years of pandemic-fueled lockdowns changing our shopping habits, what is to be expected for the shopping season this year?

When do people start shopping?

You and I might me last minute shoppers, rushing to the local mall the week before Christmas to get all of our shopping done in one sitting. But for many, thinking about gift giving starts much earlier. By the end of October, nearly 40% of Canadians have already started their holiday shopping – and 20% had actually purchased gifts by June. American shoppers are even more proactive, with almost 1 in 3 people having made some holiday purchases before July 4th!

Although that leaves lots of Christmas shoppers left to target for advertisers, it underscores the need to capture the hearts, minds and wallets of those potential customers earlier. In fact, “holiday season creep,” as Google defines it, has been a trend for many years as the traditional shopping season has expanded from December. Supply chain issues experienced over the past few years have accelerated the trend, with shoppers expecting to find a lack of inventory in stores and a longer wait time for shipping online purchases.

When does radio go all-Christmas?

Although some stations stunt their all-Christmas music format as early as October 1st, (and some stations playing Mariah Carey and Burl Ives months after the holiday actually ends)  the majority of stations who flip formats do so around their local Santa Claus Parade or after American Thanksgiving/Black Friday.

Does Christmas music effect ratings?
For most stations that flip formats in December the impact on ratings can be dramatic. In some cases, radio has seen an increase in cume by more than 30% as non-traditional listeners tune in to hear some of their favorites.

Does Christmas music affect our shopping habits?
Studies have shown mixed results but generally indicate that if you are a fan of Christmas music hearing holiday jingles while shopping does encourage you to spend more time in store and spend more money. If you’re more of a Grinch when it comes to Jingle Bells you will have a negative perception of the store if it’s playing Christmas music.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday

The first Black Fridays were in 1950s Philadelphia, where suburban shoppers would flock to downtown shops after Thanksgiving. Since then, it’s become one of the largest shopping days of the year – growing 14% in 2021 to top $886 billion spent. Nearly 180 million Americans made a purchase between Black Friday and Cyber Monday with almost half making at least one purchase online.

In order to fuel the shopping craze around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, businesses pump a lot of money into the advertising ecosystem to target potential customers. This has the effect of driving CPMs sky-high for the week leading up to American Thanksgiving – often increasing by more than 40% until the Christmas season is over. This can put pressure on



Key Takeaways for Christmas Advertising 2022

  • Encourage your advertisers to plan their marketing early in order to capture early shoppers
  • Avoid the CPM and inventory crunch by booking your campaigns long in advance
  • Include either discounts or additional value in your creative around Black Friday/Cyber Monday
  • Have a clear call to action to either visit your website or storefront
  • Make sure your website is updated with your current products and prices

If you’re looking to improve