Ready Your Business for 2021 Success and Sales

Taking an always-on approach to the festive season cuts the costs of impressions, clicks and leads – here’s how

December 4, 2020

Ready Your Business for 2021 Success and Sales

As a marketer, what would you include in your letter to Santa at the end of 2020? A chance to make limited budgets go further? To find some breathing space in the competition for attention on digital media? To generate reach and demand more efficiently?

If these wishes sound familiar, then you’re in luck. LinkedIn data shows that they come true every year – at least for marketers who take an always-on approach and keep campaigns running during the festive season. The weeks around Christmas are one of the year’s best opportunities to extend the reach and impact of your budget. And with sales teams and CFOs looking to marketing to help deliver a return to growth, it’s a gift you don’t want to ignore this time around.

Standing out by staying always-on

With the pivot away from in-person events and reduced reach for print and outdoor media, marketers are doubling down on digital – which has meant more bids for audiences’ attention. The question we hear advertisers asking most often is how to stand out from the crowd. A great starting point is opting for always-on while others give their advertising time off.

I realise that this will sound counter-intuitive to some. We tend to assume that audiences close their laptops the Friday before Christmas and don’t open them again until after New Year. It’s easy to imagine they’re too busy enjoying a well-earned break to worry about checking social media feeds – and definitely too busy relaxing to start reading content or considering marketing messages.

What really happens to LinkedIn audiences over the festive season

However, the data on engagement, clicks and cost of advertising tells a very different story. It’s true that overall engagement on LinkedIn dips during the last two weeks of December and the start of January. After all, there’s a lot of cooking, feasting, family games and curling up in front of old movies to be done. However, just because the frequency of engagement reduces doesn’t mean that people aren’t engaging at all. When they take a few minutes to catch up on their feed, they still pay attention and they still take action.

Data from Comscore has found that cross-platform activity on LinkedIn remains consistent throughout the year, busting the myth that professional audiences don’t engage with content over Christmas. Add in the fact that activity on LinkedIn has increased significantly during the pandemic and you have an audience in the habit of checking their feed who won’t break that habit when the tree and tinsel go up. Conversations between connections on LinkedIn were up 55% year on year earlier this year – and content creation increased by 60%. Audiences are more engaged than ever, and they are likely to stay that way over the coming month.

Festive cheer throughout the funnel

The crucial difference is that, because so many marketers pause their campaigns over the Christmas period, those audiences are more likely to see your ad, remember your ad – and respond to your ad. Reduced competition means that marketers who continue to advertise throughout the festive season find themselves paying a lot less for the attention they capture and the demand they generate.

Between 23 December 2019 and 6 January 2020, overall engagement on LinkedIn in Europe dipped by 27% compared to the previous month. However, click-through rates actually increased by 30%. Audiences were relatively more likely to engage deeply, to follow-up on the ideas they encountered and to take action. The quality of attention on LinkedIn intensifies.

This delivers a double Christmas bonus to LinkedIn campaigns that keep running over the festive period. Not only do they continue to generate quality reach and engagement, they also find themselves paying less for that reach and engagement as others pause their campaigns and competition drops off. Last Christmas, the average cost per click (CPC) for campaigns running on LinkedIn dropped 23%. Cost per impression (CPM) dropped by the same amount while cost per lead (CPL) reduced 18%. The good cheer spreads throughout the funnel.

For marketers planning how to drive growth on limited budgets, this yuletide effect comes at just the right time. It’s able to support all of the key elements in a return to growth strategy – and give your campaigns a helpful push into 2021:

Build broader awareness and salience

Data from previous downturns shows that the brands able to maintain or increase their Share of Voice (SOV) recover more strongly and gain Share of Market (SOM) during the recovery period. With fewer competitive bids over the festive season, there’s an opportunity to translate your available budget into wider reach, increasing the range of buyers and influencers exposed to your ads.

Demonstrate relevance to buyers planning ahead

LinkedIn research has shown that 73% of B2B decision-makers research products during the evening, and 51% do so at weekends. This indicates why the Christmas period can be such a crucial one for decision-makers planning for an unpredictable year ahead. The break from daily Zoom calls and virtual meetings offers a valuable opportunity to recharge – but also a breathing space for working out what businesses need to function effectively in a changed environment. Bringing out the relevance of your solutions to different segments and buyer personas helps to make that time worthwhile.

Generate qualified leads for sales

Sales have never been more aware of the value of properly qualified marketing leads than they are today. Strong click-through rates and lower CPLs provide a great opportunity to explore valuable new sources of demand, generate relevant leads and start nurturing those leads. Retargeting on the basis of engagement with LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms or video views can give you a pool of multi-touch, qualified leads. And that can help your sales colleagues really hit the ground running next year.

For people across Europe, this festive season will feel different – but also more important than ever. It’s an opportunity to recharge but also to take stock and to start looking ahead. Keeping campaigns running makes your business a part of that process – and that’s something that audiences, your sales team and your CFO will respond to.

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