Big retailers are all starting the jostle to win most popular Christmas advert of the year, with more players than ever before entering the race to the top. Anyone that hasn’t yet become acquainted with Edgar the Dragon must have had their head buried in the sand for the last week. While Christmas ads undoubtedly remain a key focus for brand awareness, it’s a crowded marketplace and one that receives a lot of media and consumer attention and critique.

However, with Deloitte predicting that 60% of holiday spend will be online this year, it’s clear that consumer habits are continuing to shift, and it’s important that brands adapt to these changing preferences when planning festive spend to ensure that they are reaching consumers on the right channels to drive ROI.

While the longer-form content favoured for these much-anticipated Christmas ads is seen as a key driver of brand awareness, it should not be considered as a standalone channel for festive campaigns. At the very least, any linear TV spend should be accompanied by video on demand (VoD) spend, to reach the 54% of streamers that have reportedly actively paused programmes to learn more about products advertised.

But outside of this, retailers should be considering their full digital media mix to ensure they are reaching consumers at the point of decision-making, as the inspiration phase has become so intertwined with the research and pre-purchase phase. In the same report, Deloitte has found that 58% plan to use online search engines as their main source for researching.

Through a digital approach, retailers will be able to narrow down audiences to ensure they are reaching those that are the target audience for their products, and those that are most likely to be spending around the festive season – OpenX research has found that Millennials plan to spend an average of £501 this Christmas, while fathers are the biggest spenders, and 92% more likely to purchase a big-ticket item and spend 222% more on gifts for themselves.

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