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By Cillian Connolly on 6 Dec 2023

As the festive dust settles post-Black Friday and Christmas season, a unique marketing period emerges, often overshadowed but brimming with potential - Q5. This unofficial 'fifth quarter', spanning from December 26th to mid-January, remains underutilised by many but presents a golden opportunity for savvy digital marketers in retail.

Understanding Q5

Q5, a term that might initially puzzle some, refers to the weeks following the end of the traditional four quarters of the year. This period marks a transition from the high-spirited holiday season to the onset of the new year. It's a time typically characterised by a drop in ad spend, yet consumer engagement and shopping behaviours remain active. According to a recent survey from the US, an astonishing 92% of consumers continue to shop post-Christmas, shifting their focus from gift-giving to personal purchases and lifestyle enhancements.

Insights from Last Year's Q5 Performance

Delving into the data from our own retail clients this time last year, a clear pattern emerges. Average ad spend notably decreases by 38% between December 26th and January 4th (see below).

This trend, however, does not imply a decrease in consumer shopping activities. In fact, there's a sustained interest in post-Christmas purchases, often fueled by the usage of gift cards and a desire for self-indulgence after the frenzy of festive gift buying.

The Rise of Q5 on Social Media Platforms

Platforms like TikTok have recognised the potential of Q5, witnessing a surge in user engagement during this period. A survey involving 2,240 TikTok users unveiled that 79% plan to shop during Q5, with video views increasing 25% during this time. This uptick in engagement is further bolstered by 96% of users setting New Year's resolutions, offering a ripe opportunity for businesses to align their marketing strategies with these aspirations.

Ecommerce and Gaming: Prime Verticals for Q5

Ecommerce experiences a significant boost during Q5. Looking at our own clients last year, we recorded at 13% uplift in ecommerce revenue in Q5 compared to the 10 days previous. Post-Christmas, consumers often seek personal upgrades, whether it be in fashion, electronics, or wellness. Thus, ecommerce platforms find Q5 an ideal time to capture the attention of consumers looking to spend their holiday cash or gift cards.

Advantage of Lower Media Costs

One of the most compelling aspects of Q5 is the reduced cost of media. After the heavy spending by major brands in the run-up to Christmas, there's a notable decrease in media prices, particularly in digital and TV ad spaces. This scenario creates a favourable environment for smaller businesses and those with reserved budgets to make their mark without breaking the bank. The graph below shows the average CPCs we recorded last year, decreasing 61% in Q5 compared to the 10 days before and then increasing by 39% in the 10 days after

average cpc q5

Strategies for Maximising Q5 Potential

To capitalise on the Q5 period, it’s essential to adapt your marketing strategies to the changing consumer mindset. This means focusing on campaigns that resonate with the 'holiday-high' sentiment, where consumers are more inclined to spend on themselves. Utilising platforms like TikTok, which offer a robust audience engagement during this period, can be particularly effective. Additionally, tailoring your campaigns to reflect New Year resolutions and personal development goals can yield high engagement and conversions.

Content and Traffic Optimisation

The lower competition and high consumer engagement during Q5 create a perfect storm for driving traffic and boosting content views. You can see how average CTR increased 77% in Q5 compared to the 10 days before and then decreased by 19% in the 10 days after for our clients last year below.

average ctr q5

This is the ideal time to invest in content that not only attracts viewers but also encourages them to explore more, thereby increasing the chances of conversions. Building robust remarketing audiences during this period can set a strong foundation for sustained engagement and sales throughout Q1.

The Wolfgang Takeaway

Q5 is not just a transitional period but a strategic window that, if used wisely, can set the tone for a successful year ahead in digital marketing. The key lies in recognising the unique consumer behaviours of this period and leveraging the available opportunities - be it through social media engagement, targeted ecommerce campaigns, or capitalising on reduced media costs.

As we step into Q5, remember that this period is your canvas to paint a promising start to the new year. Lower ad costs, high consumer engagement, and the festive aftermath offer a landscape ripe for innovative, impactful marketing strategies. This is your time to drive traffic 'like you stole it', optimising for high CTRs and low CPCs, and laying the groundwork for a thriving year in digital marketing for retail.

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