The vast majority of marketers are mentally conditioned to view their years in four quarters, each of which has a particular nuance that makes it stand out.
The "new year’s mentality" underscores Q1, where many individuals and businesses invest in higher-priced items that will help them meet their goals throughout the year.
Some brands (e.g., winter clothing) experience a drastic drop in sales due to seasonality in Q2 and Q3, while others (e.g., outdoor adventure brands) see an explosion in sales.
We know Q4 for its lucrative, hectic and highly competitive Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday season.
However, we need to start taking a more penetrating look at our quarters. Facebook recently released a report that outlined how powerful of a week Q5 is, and why advertisers are doing themselves a major disservice by not putting more weight into it.
And the best time to prepare for Q5 isn't in Q4, believe it or not, but in Q1 when you're fresh off the back of last year's Q4. So, here's how to prepare now for 2020's Q5.
If we’re only looking at our year in four distinct chunks, we’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table. For example, a distinct Q5 can be carved out of the tail end of Q4, or the days between the “last ship” products and New Years (12/22 to 12/31). This “quarter” might only be a little over a week in length, but it’s a very unique opportunity.
There are a handful of characteristics that make Q5 stand out:
1. The advertising landscape is much less crowded. Your traditional holiday advertisers are likely going to check out until Q1. This means lower average cost per mille (CPM) and cost per action (CPA) for those who stick around.
2. Buying intent is usually much higher than usual. People just received a lot of cash and gift cards and are looking to spend it.
3. People will have more free time, meaning they’ll likely spend more time on their phones and on social media. People often take time off during the holidays to spend with their families and will inevitably spend a good amount of this time scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.
4. The largest number of new devices go online. People (usually a younger demographic) may receive smartphones as gifts and join the wonderful digital ecosystem.
According to internal Facebook data, Q5 is a time when impressions and conversions uncharacteristically head in different directions: Impressions decrease, and conversions increase. This generally means that the people who are seeing your ads are much more likely to convert.
Fine-Tune Your Q5 Campaigns
You can make the most out of your Q5 by making a few minor tweaks to your messaging and creative. First, you’ll need to understand how the dynamics of your audience have changed:
1. Treat yourself. People aren’t going to be as inclined to buy gifts for others since they just did for the holiday season but will likely respond to creative that encourages them to treat themselves.
2, New year, new you. Many people are motivated by the calendar year change to make some serious life changes, build new hobbies and generally become the people they want to be. And often, becoming the person you want to be requires some tools and services. Figure out a way your product can help your target audience emulate certain desirable goals and how those goals fit into a new year's resolution.
3. Create urgency to finish the current year strong. There is surely a subset of people looking to make the most out of the final stretch of the year. You’ll need copy and creative that drives home the urgency of how your product and service can help them meet their goals now. It’s worth noting that you’re operating in a very small shipping time window, so this strategy might be more effective for digital products (i.e., SaaS memberships, personal development apps, e-courses, etc.).
How Can You Capitalize On Q5 Now?
The perfect Q5 strategy is built on a strong Q4 foundation. Since we just finished the holiday Q4 season, we have an excellent opportunity to understand what we could have done better.
Looking ahead, experienced marketers plan to test their campaigns as early as late Q3 to gauge how certain audiences are likely to respond to specific offerings.
November 29 to December 22 is the holiday onslaught where over 165 million people spend more than $135 billion online. In this time frame, you’re able to rapidly test campaigns, albeit at a more expensive rate, and further optimize your targeting and creative.
From December 22 to December 31, you have a great opportunity to unleash your finely tuned campaigns in a much less competitive advertising landscape, provided you make minor targeting and creative adjustments.
Now, from January 1 to March 1, you can keep tapping into the "new year mentality." Think of the new customers you earn during this period as a sample size of customers you can target in Q5 of this year.
Your Q1 2020 will feed into your Q5 2020, which will help make your Q1 2021 even stronger.