Twin Peaks

David Murphy

Adfonic Victor Malachard Dec 2013If money makes the world go around, it does so particularly over the festive period, writes Victor Malachard, CEO and co-founder of Adfonic. The run-up to Christmas can account for as much as 40 per cent of a retail store's annual revenue and three-quarters of its annual profit. It's important that, while of course enjoying the children singing and the sleigh bells ringing, marketers capitalise on this.

At Adfonic we regularly roll up our sleeves and delve into the tombola of data we gather on our platform, and we consistently pull out shiny new prizes. So here's our advice for marketers who want to make the most of mobile this year.

The double December whammy
There are two opportunities for digital marketers to hit mobile advertising hard throughout December. The first is on the second Sunday of December – and, given that the first Sunday this year was the first day of December, we think this will mean December 15th this time around – that’s this coming Sunday.

This is when click volumes suddenly jump by a quarter when compared to month start. There could be many reasons for this, whether it's people researching on their mobile devices before buying in-store or online, browsing for inspiration, or comparing across shortlists. Certainly, marketers should bear in mind that when consumers pop their phones in their pockets, they're still connected, and geolocation campaigns could do particularly well here as people venture out to buy presents.

After the 'Mobile Sunday' peak, we see activity ramp up again to achieve a new peak on Christmas Day. Here, typical volumes can be a full 50 per cent higher than the average for December. This could be due to people playing with their new devices, looking to buy accompaniments for existing presents (batteries not included?), or getting in touch with family and friends.

So if you're a canny digital marketer, plan around this. If you're going to plough budget into mobile, make sure you do this around the second Sunday and particularly on Christmas Day, with joined-up creatives that make your ad spend work hardest for you.

Allocate more to tablets than you did last year
The best way to get an idea of what's going to happen in the near future is to look at an equivalent point in the past. Ask any actuary – or, indeed, Ebenezer Scrooge. Here, we have a great signpost: the uplift in mobile ad impressions between Q3 and Q4.

Adfonic tablet graph correctWhen we look at our AdMetrics report for Q4 2012 we see that tablets increased in share of impressions from 11 per cent in Q3 to 14 per cent in Q4, representing a share increase of 27 per cent. Our latest AdMetrics report shows that tablets currently account for 28 per cent of impressions, so if we increase that figure by 27 per cent, we get 36 per cent of impressions that could be attributable to tablets.

This could even be a conservative estimate, given that this year is being touted as a tablet-tastic Christmas, with models from the established players coming to market as well as new manufacturers such as Argos and Tesco in the UK. So straight away, this tells us that marketers would do well to consider the growth of tablets if they want exposure.

I would add here that marketers could also be smart about how they approach mobile. Our Tablets AdSnap study shows that smartphones are for the wee small hours, while tablet users are more active from 6am through to midnight, with around 8 per cent of tablet ad requests happening at 6pm, and significantly higher CTRs than smartphones during the day.

Focus on iOS
Another fact hot off the AdMetrics press: iOS continues to lead by impressions, despite there being more Android-based devices on the market. Whereas we saw Android battle iOS for ad impressions last year, this time around we can see that iOS is winning – and not only that, it is pulling away from Google's alternative platform.

So as well as timing for the 'twin peaks' of demand in December, and being aware of the increased importance of tablets, marketers need to focus further in on iOS devices. Specifically, this could mean the iPad, iPad mini and even the much-rumoured iPhone phablets, if Apple decides to make a surprise announcement this month.

Victor Malachard is CEO and co-founder of Adfonic