You likely saw the title of this article and thought to yourself, is that a typo? We’ve just started to dip our toes into warmer months, how can anyone think about planning for Q4 so soon? But that’s just it – there’s no better time for e-commerce marketers to begin planning for monumental holiday sales than now. 

Set a timeline

The accelerated adoption of e-commerce has boosted the rise in digital ad spend, expected to increase by 14% in 2022 and reach a whopping $873 billion by 2024. With this front of mind, proactive promotional planning for the 2022 holiday season is the best way for e-commerce marketers to protect themselves from unexpected tracking hiccups, avoid last-minute media scrambling, and take on the fierce competition. A well-organised timeline can be your greatest asset in knowing when to start securing placements and finalising promotions. Once publishers begin releasing their Q4 rate cards, holiday placements book up quickly, especially coupon and deal partners.

Typically, content publishers and influencers finalise their editorial calendars months in advance. Communicating your brand’s holiday promotions early gives you a greater chance of inclusion in holiday listicles, gift guides, product round-ups, and more. Brands should have placements planned and booked early by mid-Q3 at the latest, or risk your partnership options being extremely limited. 

Missing out on valuable shopping holidays because they weren’t on your radar means waiting an entire year before having the opportunity to capitalise on that seasonality again. There is more to Q4 than Black Friday and Cyber Monday – it’s essential to understand exactly when these top holidays are, and how far in advance you should be planning for them. Let’s take Singles’ Day for example. This one-day holiday that takes place roughly two weeks before Black Friday saw record-breaking growth in 2021, reaching $38.4 billion in sales. By getting ahead of the lesser-known holidays, you can acquire new customers throughout the entirety of Q4 and maximise ROI.

Do you have your seasonal planning benchmarks on the calendar yet? Stay on track with Perform[cb]’s Ideal Promotional Planning Timeline.

Recruit, test, optimise, repeat

A strong, diverse publisher base is the cornerstone of any great affiliate programme, but curating seasonal partnerships can be a lengthy process depending on your targeting goals. Marketers cannot wait until the last minute to secure top-tier publishers and premium placements, simply because they will be picked over. Recruiting and testing new partners sooner than later is critical for a successful Q4 campaign launch and converting new customers during the holiday frenzy. 

By committing to seasonal partnerships early on, including content, loyalty and deal, and retargeting, marketers will have plenty of time to test and optimise while maintaining efficient spend. Having the opportunity to test before Q4 means marketers can ensure partners’ engagement levels are up to par, while addressing any last-minute optimisations to increase conversions.

If you’re not currently working with a trusted agency or network partner, this may be the time to invest so you can be prepared for the Q4 rush. Many agencies and networks tend to have existing publisher relationships across a multitude of channels and verticals. Rather than spending your money and time recruiting new publishers, an agency or network can onboard their existing high-value publishers to begin testing before the leaves start falling. Learn how Perform[cb] was able to drive a 120% increase in new customer acquisition for Drizly in Q4 2021 following proactive recruitment, onboarding, and testing with proven affiliate partners throughout the funnel. 

Strategically distribute ad budget

What exactly are you aiming to achieve this holiday season? How much budget have you set aside for Q4 marketing? Which channels are you planning to invest in? What kind of offers are you looking to promote? These are all questions that e-commerce marketers like yourself should be asking during the holiday campaign planning process. For brands looking to invest in paid media, partnerships must be booked early to confirm premium placements at the most efficient prices. We may sound like a broken record at this point, but it’s paramount to invest early so you’re not wasting ad spend on picked-over placements.

Furthermore, don’t spend the entirety of your holiday ad budget solely on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Compared to previous years, an additional 122% was spent by consumers through the week following Cyber Monday. If your brand isn’t planning for another media push after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you are essentially giving business to competitors. It can also be beneficial to invest in presale promotions in early Q4 if you are a marketer looking to avoid potential supply chain issues

The Marketer’s Guide to Q4 Seasonal Planning and Profitability

To make Q4 your most profitable quarter of the year, you must plan in advance – focus on top performing holidays, onboard and optimise new partnerships, and don’t wait to book premium media placements. By getting ahead of the busiest time of the year, you can maximise ROI and ensure ad spend is not wasted – plain and simple. If you’re ready to jump into the holiday spirit early, set yourself up for success with Perform[cb]’s Guide to Q4 Seasonal Planning & Profitability. We promise, your “tomorrow self” will thank you.

Continue the conversation on LinkedIn

Partner Network

Share Your Brand's Expertise on the Partner Network Find Out More