A Performance Marketers Guide for the Festive Season

Facebook audience for festive season
Source: – Facebook; Audience – 25-45, NCCS A/B, PAN India**

Nobody likes an increasing trendline that is predicted over the next quarter, when it comes to cost. The obvious challenge is to manage increasing costs, competition between brands, changing user behavior patterns and most important of them all, escalating demands from the management. To solve for these challenges, one must understand the forces that drive them, and the timelines we work on. Here’s what to expect, when you’re expecting, right before the festival season.

A Brief History of Time

  • Prologue: – Post the IPL fiesta in Apr-May, one observes a lull period till we begin to see a gradual increase in your costs after July post the Amazon Prime Day Season, as we move towards Independence Day. This is the time, where people are gearing up for the festival season, also End of Season Offers & Sales are pushed across the retail industry.
  • The Big Bang: – The graph then moves to astronomical numbers as we move closer to Navratri & Diwali, (i.e., Sept end to Nov 1st week) and peaks just a couple of days before. Along with multiple other major festivals of the year, brands spending their highest amount to capture customer sentiment. Increase in Demand for audiences drastically, with limited supply pushes costs up to the highest level during the year.
  • The Big Dipper: – There is an immediate 20-25% drop in costs from the very next day of Diwali, where almost all campaigns take a backseat, only the BAU Campaigns are active, brands have budgeted their campaigns to end on those days, blocked inventories get released while user supply remains constant and demand for audiences deplete overnight.
  • Epilogue: – There is a drop in our costs post Diwali in the months of Nov-Dec. The Final Spike in the year you will observe would be a week before Christmas, but it would be much lower than what you see in the previous months. Specific Brands, mostly e-commerce or retail push the budgets right before Christmas week to facilitate festive shopping.

Rich Consumers, Poor Advertisers!! – The Truth Behind the Truth

  • FMCG, Auto, Fashion, literally every D2C vertical is targeting this audience segment for its purchasing capabilities.
    • Reserved Buys and Inventory Blocking by multiple players.
    • Long Weekends, Festivals and Celebrations, means that users spend less time online, so there is a drop in overall users on specific days as well. This is a compounding issue as brands are pushing spends diminishing Audience Supply trying to counter Audience Demand.
    • Increase in spending patterns of users, as people are either hosting/gifting/traveling/dining, hence brands expect higher returns on the same.

After having understood the challenges that one would face during the festival period, we need to understand how to counter those moves with a different strategy apart from reducing/increasing bids on the audiences. As a Marketer, one could work with the below given ideas and expand on the same.

  • Follow – Instead of paying a premium on channels with high competition, diversify your media plan, and follow the audience onto different platforms. For example: – We can request Festival Calendars from major e-commerce brands, to plan our activities accordingly. So instead of bidding for audiences on other platforms, we can focus on Amazon & Flipkart inventories that would facilitate efficient customer acquisition.
  • Reserve – A lot of brands tend to take corrective action, either during the crisis, or just before they realize that they’re caught in an increasing trend cycle. To counter this, we can plan a quarter in advance and ensure all bookings are done at least 4-6 weeks prior the launch to ensure we can give at least 10-15% value add to the brands, with the same budgets.
  • Creative – Cater communications according to the festival, and since there is enough time to develop them, one is better prepared with the switches, and providing multiple visuals and copies that would allow us to test and run which communication would be the most favourable. As compared to the 1-day prior creative upload rush, where the campaigns get stuck in reviews, and go into learning, thereby losing on the customer’s attention during peak conversion times.
  • Story – There are only so many ways you can sell a product, but you can always come up with a new story to be told. Creating a concept that would work for the festivals, then stitching the story with the brand, has led to higher engagement and consideration levels with the brand.
  • Agile Budgets – As one would plan for the increase in costs, one must also plan for the drops in between the festivals. Between Prime Day, Independence Day and the gaps in between, the major drop post Diwali, and the lack of user activity in the last week of the year. Budget & Target planning for the quarters must be done accordingly, and as per the trend that is observed YoY. Brands tend to follow a linear model that focuses on MoM increase in targets/budgets, which can cause a dissonance between the revenue & spends.
  • Hygiene – Deeper funnel optimizations provide better quality but may cause increase in costs and restriction on volumes. One can move a step towards the top funnel to open the audiences, reducing costs and increasing volumes. Similarly, including multiple placements, will also help in reducing costs. Adding multiple relevant (good ad strength) creatives allow more efficient distribution of budgets, thereby reducing your overall cost per conversions.

Over the years, we’ve realized that the best way to prepare for the campaign, is to ensure that you have your support systems in place. Managing the supply part, depending on the industry is as important as the demand in the market. BI, Tech, logistics, points of sale, product, price, and visuals form the backbone of your consumer’s journey. Ensuring that you have the right partners at all these points is critical to success. Armed with these learnings, Performics will be proudly enabling its partners across verticals over this festival season, to deliver to those who Demand Performance.

**The audience that has been considered for this study is between the age group of 27-45, falls under the NCCS A/B Classification and show high purchasing propensity behavior, PAN India. Please understand that the consumer behavior may change as per the city/region level targeting and depending on the brand/product identity. The data shared has been collated over the past 33 months and has been under constant surveillance by our internal teams, and mapped to each of the events, or a lack there of. We’ve run similar studies regarding other specific such activities that affect our campaigns, Stay Tuned for more.


Durvesh Paralkar & Shashank Singh