7 Point Digital Marketing Checklist for December

December is not like any other month of the year for websites. Christmas makes everyone behave a bit weird from about the middle of November onwards. As digital marketing is about getting people to do things, this odd behaviour has a knock-on effect.

Here is a quick digital marketing checklist for December to help you navigate this weird time of year. It will help you navigate what you should and shouldn’t do (and expect) in December. Managing expectations is always a good idea, even when those expectations are your own!


7 Point Digital Marketing Checklist for December


1. If you are selling things, don’t wait until December to put them on sale

If you want to sell more over the Christmas period, you should start preparing your sales in October at the latest. Deciding on your sales strategy with plenty of time for the holiday season will work much better.

Why October? You need to start this early because Black Friday is the fourth Friday in November. Having both these sales events so close together means you have a lot to prepare, and starting in October is the only way you’ll do it without going slightly mad.

Think of it this way: Black Friday now lasts for a week or more, and Christmas is for all of December. After a week of intense Black Friday sales, you must be ready to go directly into Christmas sale mode. You have almost no time in between to prepare.

So, while Christmas shouldn’t start in October for the public, it should start (internally) in October for eCommerce websites.



This is my favourite Christmas song.

2. Create more fun content than usual

There is something about Christmas that is so all-consuming and distracting to many people that it’s not worth trying to fight it. Many people mentally check out from work on the first of December, so your normal content marketing strategy won’t work. While you could theoretically christmasify all your output, I find this approach too cynical for most brands to pull off.

This doesn’t mean you can just ignore the holiday madness happening around you, either.

People are distracted – so give them distractions! If you have fun content to share, then do so now. Quizzes, games, fun images, whatever. There is holiday cheer to spare at this time of year, and you should add to it in your small way so people like you and what you do more.


This is my favourite Christmas song about a movie.


3. Don’t advertise – as ad prices go up

Unless you are marketing Christmas-related products or sales, you should probably stop advertising for December. Christmas is a retail bonanza, so anyone selling anything will buy up ad space. This drives the prices right up.

If you are advertising to get more likes on Facebook, running your regular newsletter sign-up advert, or anything that isn’t Christmas-related, then stop. Long-term ad campaigns should be paused for the holidays to save money.

After Christmas, there will be a natural lull in advertising, so switch your long-term ads back on to pick up the slack.


This is my favourite Christmas song to sing with friends.


4. Expect ads on your site to pay you more

As more advertisers spend more money in December, you should expect to earn more money from ads on your site.

Many Ad Networks will be out there looking for more ad inventory to sell, too, so don’t be surprised if you get approached to try a new ad network at this time of year. You should only switch if you’re not happy with your current ad network – but if you’re not satisfied, make sure you do the switch in plenty of time to let your new ad network’s algorithm get used to your site.

There is a lot of money floating around in the ad world in December, and more than usual, it could be yours for the taking.


This is my favourite Christmas song from a TV show.


5. Expect your traffic to drop

Unfortunately, while you can expect the amount of money you receive per ad to increase, the total traffic to your site will likely drop. For some sites, December is a great month, but for most…not so much. This is not only because people become distracted from the beginning of December but also because there are far fewer people online between Christmas and New Year than usual.

People go to parties, go on holiday, see their friends and family… and check their phones less. It’s a good time for everything except website traffic.

If you are running a fun entertainment-type site, you will possibly see increased traffic, as increased free time means more random internet surfing for some. For all other types of sites, your traffic will likely decrease.

If you are doing any financial planning around December, then a drop of between 10%-25% in traffic (from November) is not unreasonable.


This is my favourite modern Christmas song.


6. Don’t overdo Christmas, but don’t ignore it either

Remember that Christmas is an ample opportunity for increasing sales, but it’s not an opportunity for you alone. Every site selling something is trying to cash in, and it can become an arms race to see who can be the most Christmassy.

In digital marketing, you should never forget that the effort you put in should be less than what you get back out. While putting in the extra effort to make Christmas memorable for your family is wonderful, working yourself ragged during the holiday period is probably not worth it.

If you put in too much effort (by adding a Santa animation to your sales page, for example), it can get overbearing for many people. At the same time, if you do nothing to acknowledge Christmas, people might get randomly offended, too.

Every year, there are faux outrages over Christmas advertising. According to many people, Starbucks never seems to get it right despite never failing to cash in on the holiday season with a Christmas cup.

It won’t be enough for some people, no matter what you do. It’s not worth trying to please those people as you never will be able to. Instead, focus on the people who want nice things in December.


This is my favourite classic Christmas song.


7. Don’t expect to work all month at full speed

Whether you work independently or have a staff, your output will be reduced in December. People take holidays, get distracted easily, and generally just aren’t as efficient.

That’s fine. Don’t fight it; embrace it—plan tasks for the end of the year which are fun and low effort. There is always stuff to be done which doesn’t require as much attention and effort, and this is the time to do it. Overworking your staff or yourself is not fun in December.

Making a content calendar for next year is an excellent example of lower-effort work. Coming up with first drafts of ad copy is always better when you’re in a good mood, and holiday cheer can provide that in spades. Anything fun(ish) which requires a positive outlook on life is probably a good plan.

Christmas is a great time to refresh mentally. Don’t waste it!


This is my favourite song to end Christmas.


Bonus Tip: Keep Christmas in your heart the whole year through

It’s what Santa wants.