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With all media we see seasonal shifts in effectiveness, which is why it’s important for advertisers to be aware of seasonality across media and optimise around it.
As newer advertising platforms like Facebook develop and evolve we start to get a sense of some of the seasonal factors at play.
As such, we thought we’d dig into seasonality on the platform, and here’s what we found...
In the summer months Facebook maintains reach
During the sunny summer months of July and August, many media formats such as TV advertising lose reach as consumers depart their houses to soak up some sun.
However, with digital formats on mobile devices like Facebook advertising, reach remains strong during the summer months as consumers still browse on their smartphones and tablets.
As we can see clicks on Facebook ads in the UK during the usual declining summer months of July and August actually remain above the levels seen in many other months of the year. When you look at CPCs, which are a good indicator of advertiser competition, they are amongst their lowest during July and August.
This suggests there’s a missed audience for advertisers on Facebook during these summer months, which they need to address in their budget planning and optimisation.
Festive season drives clicks, but advertiser competition is low
Similarly to the summer months during the festive season we see clicks at their highest point of the year.
October and November in particular play a crucial role in the research phase of festive purchase decisions, so these are likely clicks which have the potential to drive downstream conversions via other channels such as search.
However, CPCs are at their lowest point of the year during 2013 in the run up to and during the festive season. This is potentially a huge missed opportunity for advertisers, as they could generate top of funnel awareness though October and November and downstream conversions during December at quite a cheap cost through Facebook Ads.
There’s an untapped audience here at one of the most competitive times of the year.
Bad impressions reduce on Facebook
Although this is less a feature of seasonality, and more a result of the evolution and improvement of Facebook as an advertising platform it was still an interesting observation when looking at the data this way.
Throughout 2013, we saw impressions drop significantly across our advertiser base whilst clicks for advertisers increased as CTRs climbed significantly.
This could be down to a couple of factors. Firstly Facebook’s ad serving algorithm is getting better at eliminating bad impressions. Secondly the move to more in-feed advertising and mobile advertising likely drove an increase in CTR.
Advertisers are also likely refining the audiences they’re targeting and improving their creative as they get more developed with the Facebook ad format and take advantage of creative rotation and optimisation tools.
All in all we’re seeing very positive trends on Facebook. However, Facebook doesn’t follow the standard seasonality of your marketing budget. Make sure you adjust Facebook budgets to account for the different seasonality versus other more traditional channels such as TV.
You also need to look at Facebook on a multi-click attribution model across other online channels such as search and display to ensure you build a full picture of it’s influence in the research phase. This is particularly prevalent around the festive season.