Facebook on why marketers should start their Christmas advertising earlier

With Christmas just over two months away, Ian Edwards, Facebook warns many marketers may have already lost out on festive trade.

M and S Christmas ad

Almost half of mobile shoppers complete their Christmas shopping in November, according to Ian Edwards, Facebook’s head of comms planning for Northern Europe.

Speaking today (17 October) at a IAB Digital Upfronts event, he suggested many marketers are leaving their Christmas plans too late.

According to Edwards, 40% of mobile shoppers have already finished their Christmas shopping by November, with 41% of mums on the social network finishing their shopping within the same time frame. Therefore, launching campaigns in November isn’t necessarily the wisest move.

The key, Edwards advised, is to “start early”. And he pointed to Shop Direct and its Black Friday activation as an “excellent example” of how to succeed.

Read more: How to get the timing right for Christmas-driven marketing

“Shop Direct used Facebook to slowly build anticipation days in advance up to 25 November and they smashed sales targets,” he said. “If everybody just launches content at the same point in November, customers are not going to listen as it will be too noisy.”

The ‘big reveal’ nature of Christmas TV ads is also losing its power. “A [Christmas] TV ad opens slowly and builds to a big reveal in the last third of the ad,” added Edwards.

“But in the mobile age, people want the big reveal to happen almost instantly or they will switch off. An ad now needs thumb stopping moments in the first few seconds to succeed.”

Read more: Sainsbury’s agency swap shows supermarkets must prioritise marketing beyond Christmas

Facebook has grown daily mobile video views from one billion 18 months ago to eight billion today. But brands shouldn’t just aim for mass reach to capitalise on this growing audience.

Edwards concluded: “If you just bombard the audience with advertising, it will be a poor user experience. An average person has the potential to be exposed to 2,000 messages on Facebook daily and what concerns me is some people just target the total market and don’t tailor it.

“If you are Coca-Cola or McDonalds that approach is fine as you’re targeting anybody with a mouth but if you’re an insurer you need to segment and target a specific market to succeed [and not annoy].“

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