Christmas is not only big on Twitter, but it is also the most talked about calendar event on Twitter with more than 21.4m Tweets, each one packed with seasonal delight, joy and possibly even a small amount of stress.
The size of that Christmas conversation is like no other. People on Twitter at Christmas are doing many different things. They are researching what to buy, looking for recommendations, shopping, all in the process of discovery. At the same time, they are taking part in a much broader conversation and so are very receptive, which is why they represent such a valuable audience for brands.
This means that there is no better time to launch and connect with our audience whose attention in the coming weeks will increasingly focus on thoughts of Christmas — if nothing else we are creatures of habit.
Our research shows how people are happy to do the same things each year. This means there is a good deal of predictability around Christmas and its critical seasonal milestones. These include the launch of the Christmas TV ads in early November and, of course, when @JohnLewis becomes the recipient of many misdirected Tweets intended for @jlandpartners (formerly @JohnLewisRetail) congratulating him on his new TV ad.
People on Twitter look forward to this. In fact, 6 in 10 agree (1) that these ads signify the start of Christmas. Gift shopping starts and Black Friday has become a vital part of the seasonal build-up.
You can see these events mapped out in our plan below as we move through the key dates in the run-up to the main event.
Helping brands create
Last year we saw many great creative Christmas ads. One of our favourites was from Boots. It was a genuinely human-centric ad, and it tapped into the heart of what Christmas is about. Boots launched its ad not only on TV but also on Twitter using Promoted Video. It is a great starting point as Twitter is a powerful video platform to launch a campaign on. But that is one step, and there are several others that brands can take to land that launch and connect with their audience.
There are good reasons for doing this. The data shows, when brands use Twitter, they see 33% more sustained awareness (2) than when they don’t. Why does this happen? Essentially, when your brand is on Twitter, people notice, it sticks. When you launch without Twitter, you launch with less, a lot less.
1. First View
Use First View to get your Christmas TV ad in front of an engaged and influential audience of millions. Run this in the first 24-hours of the launch at this crowded time of year when we know people are excited about Christmas ads. Think of it as the gold spot of your timeline, the chance to get your brand in front of millions of people in the UK for that 24-hour takeover.
2. Custom Emoji
Combine the use of First View with a custom emoji and a powerful hashtag to drive conversation. This is an excellent tool at launch to boost visibility and to ignite and drive the conversation further. A custom emoji is a strong reinforcement for your campaign - in fact, we have data to show there is a 6x higher emotional connection (3) when you pair emojis with video.
3. Promoted Trend and Spotlight
This is new to 2018, and it’s a product that should be used showcase your brand’s Christmas ad launch. This is found in one of the most valuable and visited places within Twitter - Explore. This is the first place people go to find out what’s happening and your brand could appear there with your visually engaging video creative that captures attention. This format offers the perfect opportunity for your brand to be What’s Happening and engage with the Twitter audience with full bleed, edge to edge media.
4. Sponsorships -- Don’t launch and leave
The first three steps will provide a strong platform for launch. Then it's time to maintain the momentum you've built. We see a drop in consideration by 15% week-on-week if your brand does not support its presence. Sponsorships are a crucial way of brands staying top of mind.
We have a range of products that help continue to drive that top of mind awareness that is critical for brands. One option is for brands to run 6-second cut downs of their content as pre-roll, aligning with a range of premium publishers on our platform to keep driving that brand association with Christmas.
There are many great examples of how brands have done this. Whether it is Tesco F&F and Grazia or @CocaCola_GB and Merlin Entertainments. Our pre-roll is very flexible in that you can select the partners you want to align with at scale.
Another way to refresh your core message is through our creator network Niche. This is made up of thousands of people who know what content resonates with their audience and can interpret and freshen up a brand’s core message during a campaign. They can create brand content fit for the fast-moving Twitter feed, making an impact in the first three seconds.
6. Video Website cards
People can be stressed and busy at Christmas so why not help your audience out?
Use a simple Call To Action to allow customers to instantly shop for gifts. A simple click of a button that is entirely customisable will direct users to any specific webpage on your brand’s website. Better still this is all within Twitter itself as the web link is pulled in directly to the Twitter experience. So the user is able to go from seeing the brand ad to taking action all in one immersive experience without leaving Twitter.
We haven’t covered all of Twitter's products here, but what we wanted to show was an example of what your brand can achieve on Twitter. There are many options, and this is we hope only your starting point.
1. Twitter Insiders UK, December 2016.
2. Twitter Launch Nielsen Brand Effect Studies (Sept 2015-Aug 2017)
3. EyeSee, eye tracking research, US, 2017 (commissioned by Twitter)