A guide to holiday mobility

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring… Of course not a creature was stirring. They were all out shopping. Then on Christmas Day, they all settled down to buy loads of content for their new devices. A guide to holiday mobility by Steve Carbone, MediaCom USA's Chief Digital and Analytics Officer

With all the parties, dinners, drinks, family do’s and work do’s (and don’ts), the holiday calendar fills up pretty quickly. Similarly, the retail calendar has its fair share of key dates: behold the phenomena of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Here at MediaCom, we have two new ones for your diary: Mobile Eve and Content-Mas.


As you have read here, retail spend picks up significantly in the last 2-3 weeks before Christmas, with many consumers leaving their shopping until the final few days. But all this human traffic in the final days of Christmas shopping gives rise to an interesting, if not unexpected phenomenon: a huge spike in mobile search. Research from xAd shows just how dramatic this effect is. By indexing mobile search November through December (based on an aggregate of retail related search categories), they were able to show just how frantically shoppers reach for

their smartphones in the last-minute rush. There are numerous behaviors that drive this. Some are just short on ideas. 19% of men, for example, leave their gift shopping ’til Christmas Eve; picture a desperate husband stumbling down Madison Avenue, begging Siri to tell him what to buy for his mother-in-law. For others, this will look like savvy bargain hunting behavior: checking stock at different stores and seeking the outlets that are starting their sales extra early. And across the board, people will be using their phones to get around, find websites and uncover great deals.

The opportunity for brands is to optimize their mobile search to take advantage of this traffic. Some excellent tactics xAd recommend include location-based targeting and creative couponing. We would add a reiteration of the obvious: ensure your digital presence, creative assets and, crucially, search strategy are all perfected during this key period.


The other key date is Christmas Day itself, which has become an increasingly important shopping day.

There is an obvious phenomenon driving this: new devices. A flood of traffic to the Apple and Google app stores doubles the amount of digital content purchased on Christmas Day during the holidays. Smartphones are not the only gifts that drive this effect. Every Xbox, PS4, 3DS or Play Station unwrapped opens a brand new store right under the Christmas tree. Tablets and Kindles are empty vessels that need to be filled with content to be enjoyed. And as devices like wearables and addressable settop boxes become more mainstream, we are likely to see spikes in content marketplaces on the day Santa delivers them. This behavior can, of course, be leveraged by any brand who offers content and, given the peak of Christmas-related conversations on Twitter on Christmas Day, those with a proactive social strategy can also earn some attention with topical content that reaches users playing with their new devices. It is unsurprising that digital content, with its immediate delivery and consumption mechanic, is satisfying the urge to shop on Christmas Day… and there are signs that this trend will spread to other key dates across the calendar.

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