SteelHouse Guide to the Holidays | The Numbers

Written by Tim Edmundson

If you’re caught up in the lazy days of summer, here’s something to jolt you out of your sun-soaked slumber — the holidays are coming, and they’ll be here sooner than you think. Every year the holiday season starts a bit earlier. Many brands start their holiday campaigns as early as October, so If you want to drive serious performance through the biggest shopping days of the year, you need to start planning now.

But don’t worry — we have you covered. We’re kicking off a three part holiday series to help guide marketers through what is the most hectic time of the year. Along with this entry, we’ll also be featuring an infographic and mini-guide, so stay tuned.

To start off our series, let’s talk about the current state of the digital landscape. After all, to effectively map out a plan you need to know the lay of the land. Let’s dive into all the devices, channels, stats, and trends that will set you up for a successful Holiday 2017.

Mobile & Desktop

The two dominant devices of digital advertising had a very merry 2016 season, and that looks to be true for 2017 as well. Trends indicate that mobile will continue to grow and account for more ecommerce sales.

> According to comScore data, mobile ecommerce retail sales increased 44% during November and December 2016 over the previous year.

> Desktop was no slouch either; during November-December last year, sales topped $63 billion, dwarfing mobile’s $17 billion.

> On Black Friday 2016, comScore reported desktop ecommerce sales increased 19% YoY, while mobile increased 41%.

> Overall spending on mobile ads have surged 26% in 2017, while desktop is seeing just 5.4% growth. This is a reflection of an increasingly mobile world — and the spending that supports it.

Needless to say, if you’re not optimizing your campaigns across all devices, you’re missing out. Ensure your campaigns are touching all channels and devices this holiday shopping season to tap into those billions of dollars in sales.


This is a channel that should be commanding your attention during the holidays. Consumers crave engagement, and with the line between advertising and content continuing to blur there’s no better channel to tap into this than social.

> Social spending is expected to break $21 billion this year, marking an over 30% increase over 2016.

> According to Nanigans’ 2016 Q4 Facebook benchmark report, CTRs on Facebook jumped 66%, and ROAS increased 33% YoY for Q4 ecommerce compared to the previous year.

> An overwhelming 93% of marketers plan on advertising deals or discounts on social during the holidays, per a study conducted by Market Measurement.

> A study conducted by Astound Commerce found 69% of users use Facebook for hunting down discounts and sharing products, 75% use it for customer service, and 59% use it to make purchases during the holidays.

Marketers are increasing their spending on social because this is where consumers are spending their time. Many consumers know they can log onto their social network and get recommendations from friends, find products and deals they are interested in, and engage with brands. And based on past years’ performance metrics, they do this even more during the holidays. Your customers are not only looking to shop, they want to engage with the world around them – so be ready this year and expand your presence on social.


While it’s still too early to write the eulogy for static image ads, we’re not too far off. It’s just a matter of time before they are playing the part of Ghost of Christmas Past in advertising’s A Christmas Carol. Consumers respond better to and engage more often with video ads, so this holiday season look to incorporate as much video into your campaigns as possible — especially on social and mobile.

> Total ad spending on video is expected to be over $13 billion in 2017, and is expected to steadily increase to exceed $22 billion by 2021.

> Video performance in our own customer campaigns put static ads to shame, with CTRs that were 6.5x higher than static ads, ROAS that topped over 260% improvement over static, and CPAs that dropped double digit percentage points.

> Based on research by and Geometry Global, 86% of consumers surveyed listed video as the content format on social that influenced them enough to purchase a product.

> According to research conducted by MediaShift, 76% of 18-29 year olds watch video on their smartphones, with 46% of 30-49 year olds doing the same. Younger audiences prefer video over any other format, which means these numbers will only increase.

Video ads drive strong performance, and are in-line with internet users’ consumption of content. In plain english, that means that people will watch your video ads because they like watching videos. Don’t hesitate to include video ads in your holiday campaigns — they’re a perfect fit for users on social, desktop, or on their phone while browsing in-store.

‘Tis the Season

It’s important your campaigns run across all channels and devices, in as many ad sizes as you can. And it’s vital you have a strong social and mobile campaign presence, stocked with video ads that will grab your audience’s attention. If your holiday campaigns involve any of the focus areas above, you’re setting yourself up for a very merry season.

Stay tuned for our next entry in our holiday series, where we take a closer look at one of the best performing ad formats out there — social video.