The 12 weeks of Christmas are underway — are planners ready?

The 12 weeks of Christmas are underway — are planners ready?
Partner content

Ozone’s latest insights will help planners and brands alike reach millions of online readers in the build up to and during the most wonderful time of the year.


With less than 12 weeks to go until Christmas, the golden quarter has kicked off. In 2022, the busiest time of the year for media and advertising is going to be doubly busy, as Christmas festivities collide with the football World Cup.

In addition, the cost of living crisis, one of the year’s dominant issues, is putting a squeeze on consumer spending power. After two difficult years of Covid, it’s been another tough year for millions of Brits.

This first post-pandemic season of goodwill therefore brings with it huge challenges for brands to connect with audiences. On the other hand, with consumer attention so divided, as festive meets football and the cost of living bites, opportunity calls.

As the UK’s leading premium publisher advertising platform, Ozone has an abundance of insights to help inform Q4 marketing activity.

From reaching football fans with festive campaigns as they follow the on-pitch action to offering hard-up families the help they need to enjoy a more cost-effective Christmas, Ozone connects brands to a near universal reach of the UK’s online population. This audience frequently engages with the content they love and trust, seeking inspiration from across the Ozone portfolio.

Growth starts from now

Starting now, Ozone’s Christmas audience will build throughout the golden quarter, with October’s consistent growth rate rapidly replaced by an explosion of readers engaging with our festive content throughout November.

This exponential growth — our Christmas audience almost tripled last year by the third week of November — is predominantly driven by mega-sales days, including Singles’ Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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These massive promotional events offer consumers a huge opportunity to save money on their Christmas shopping. And our publishers go to great lengths to create content that outlines the very best offers and promotions to help fuel reader research into the best money saving deals.

Last year, content related to key gifting categories including Children’s Games & Toys and Beauty, both grew significantly in November — growing by 158% and 58% respectively.

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November’s sales events also grew engagement with our Tech content, as consumers sought out deals on higher price-point items. With significant savings to be made on devices including laptops, smartphones and tablets, we saw engagement with related content more than double during the Black Friday period compared to the start of the quarter.

This year, these mega-sales events are expected to be even more important to consumers due to cost of living.

Ding Dong, December hits a high

Following November’s acceleration in growth, our Christmas audience continues its ascendancy throughout December to a festive week peak.

Last year, festive readers in the week of the 25th were 82% higher than Black Friday. While Christmas preparations start early for many, the majority of consumers still leave it late.

According to the IAB, 56% of Brits are set to leave it late this year — and with engagement with our Gifting content growing by more than half last December, don’t expect that behaviour to change. This is especially so in the final shopping week before the 25th.

While panic gift buying might be the order of the day for those leaving it late, our content is more focused on helping consumers make positive purchasing decisions when it comes to Shopping and Gifting.

Our proprietary sentiment analysis highlights that the tone of our content is frequently more positive. Broad analysis of our Shopping content, for example, shows it to be 59% positive in tone, compared to the significantly more positive sentiment of Gifting content at 90%.

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Partying takes precedence

December also sees party season in full swing, as friends, family and work colleagues get together to celebrate. Again, our festive content is geared towards this shift in the focus of our social lives.

Last December, with Christmas get togethers mostly unaffected by Covid, there was a significant growth in engagement with Women’s and Men’s Fashion content, which grew by 40% month on month.

Our Food & Drink content, another key Christmas category for our audience, grew by 20% compared to November, as festive feasting increased in importance. Within Food & Drink, the Cooking and Alcoholic Drinks topics accounted for more than a quarter of all category page views.

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Converging factors make Christmas 2022 even more unpredictable than ever before but at least this year the pandemic is behind us. While the winter World Cup — both a huge event in its own right and a novelty due to its scheduling — is expected to split consumer attention it will bring people together.

We know this from what happened during Euro 2022 when England’s Lionesses powered their way to a famous tournament win. Interest in the Euro 2022 final was so high we saw our women’s football audience segment more than triple on the day of the final vs. the day before, while Football page views across the tournament were 16% higher than the 2021/22 English Premier League season average.

This holiday season, campaigns will have to work smarter to reach festive and football fans and — powered by Ozone’s unique first-party data which provides brands a real-world view of the nation’s content consumption – we have the smarts to help. View our seasonal insights here.

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