The holiday season often brings with it warm thoughts of cold nights spent indoors cozying up by the fireplace, indulging in some sweets and cocoa watching a marathon of festive favorites with family and loved ones. While the scene hasn’t necessarily disappeared, this image of holiday “togetherness” has certainly changed over the years. Consumers aren’t hibernating from the reaches of the digital media world in those snuggies and Santa onesies – in fact, they are perhaps more reachable than ever.

It may be a Winter Wonderland, but it’s also a Digital Wonderland. Just about every area of the digital marketing landscape sees an increase in traffic and volume during the holiday season. Even some areas that might not seem as obvious grow substantially when the calendar reads December. For example, a study conducted by the mobile marketing platform Tapjoy found that 28% of mobile gamers are likely to spend an extra 1-2 hours a day playing mobile games during the holiday season. Overall, 80% of respondents stated that they at least play mobile games “more often” during the holiday season. And they aren’t just playing the same old game as before; seven out of ten also responded that they intend to download new games during their holidays. This is important for advertisers in this space as consumers aren’t just limiting themselves to the free version of Sudoku or Solitaire. Mobile game spending on Google Play was about $4.5 billion during Q3 of this year, a 22% increase from last year.


Social media might be the largest piece to the holiday content puzzle. Facebook sees a 26% increase in posts, photos and videos over the holiday period. Not surprisingly, people are itching to share that the lyrics “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” are true in their lives. Posts about anything from a coffee date with an old friend at the local café to a highly desired gift under a Christmas tree are easy to find this time of year. In fact, over 800 million Facebook posts are generated on Christmas day alone. This is key for brands that want to make sure their product is underneath that beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Promoting your content amongst the millions of holiday themed posts can do wonders for brand awareness and lift as well as sales and conversions. The traffic is there this time of year and the promise of high engagement is a nice reward.

Of course, perhaps the most important trend to be aware of around the holidays is the almighty video. With the ever increasing popularity of streaming, whether on connected TV devices or smartphones, video consumption in all forms will be highly popular this holiday season. More family time is almost now a guarantee for more streaming time. In a Q4 report from last year, the weekly average in minutes viewed for video per users increased by over 100% from Q4 2015. More users are watching more content on their smartphones and TV connected devices, whether this is the latest episode of Stranger Things on Netflix, the funniest moments from Elf on YouTube or the hottest holiday gifts on Facebook.

But for as much emphasis that goes into the holiday buzz, perhaps more should be placed on the underutilized post-holiday period. According to this bizreport post, New Years Eve and New Years Day both show a 20% higher view rate on YouTube than Black Friday or Cyber Monday. However, as the article points out, advertisers on YouTube only put about 5% of their budget into New Years spend, missing out on a seemingly highly engaged post-Christmas audience with more free time to watch more video along with more gift cards they received in their stocking.

Both the hustle and bustle and peaceful serenity of the holiday season are intertwined with the mobile world that we live in. Even the long beloved Elf Yourself gets a digitally enhanced makeover this year with the addition of some augmented reality dance moves. What will they think of next?!