Stay Ahead in Q4 with Perform[cb]’s Holiday Seasonality Checklist

It feels like just yesterday we said goodbye to Q4 and rang in the New Year together. Between shifting consumer behavior and new privacy changes, 2021 has surely brought on its fair share of industry hurdles. If it seems as though the to-do list to close out the year is only getting longer, with publisher recruitment, promotional assets, and back-to-back holidays, you’re not alone. 

While many consumers are already crafting their holiday shopping lists, marketers should be ramping up to launch and begin optimizing their Q4 campaigns. Not quite there yet? It’s late in the game, but for those marketers still looking to purchase placements, this is the time. Let’s walk through the Q4 priorities you should be checking off your list to ensure guaranteed ROI this holiday season.

Proactive Recruitment and Testing

A strong, diverse publisher base is the cornerstone of any great affiliate program, and will be key to acquiring new customers during the holiday frenzy. Heading into the peak shopping season, recruiting and testing new partners sooner than later is critical. 


When recruiting publishers for Q4, a multichannel strategy will help marketers to maximize ROI and reach consumers where they’re spending time shopping for gifts throughout the buyer’s funnel. Marketers should be seeking out top-performing upper-funnel publishers, including those specializing in gift guides and product reviews. Geo-targeting is especially important during the holiday season because it ensures that content and promotions being delivered to consumers are accurate and relevant to their location. Additionally, partners with “Buy Now, Pay Later” financing can be beneficial for consumers who may be wary of price once they reach the point of conversion. Last but not least, lower-funnel coupon and loyalty publishers with multi-device capabilities can help marketers reach consumers by driving traffic to time-sensitive offers with push notifications. 

In Q4 2020, Perform[cb] Agency worked with Drizly, the #1 alcohol delivery service, to prepare for the brand’s peak seasonality by building strong relationships with top editorial teams in Q3. Custom recruitment was done to ensure proven, high-quality upper-funnel editorial partners were onboarded, which ultimately resulted in a 334% increase in orders for Drizly year-over-year. 


With the influx of promotional offers expected in Q4, marketers should already be investing in test campaigns. As key publishers are recruited and gear up for the holidays, marketers must test media placements early on in order to accurately understand the reach and traffic potential. By testing these placements, marketers can ensure partners’ engagement levels are up to par and seek out any optimization opportunities to increase conversions. To grasp a better understanding of which placements and publishers perform best, marketers should utilize Amazon Prime Day to measure and test placements with key partners. This is a great opportunity to acquire new customers to increase their customer base in preparation for Q4 promotions and sales.

For example, a popular e-commerce marketer was interested in testing paid media with Perform[cb] Agency on National Cash Back Day, the first Thursday in November. During the one-day test campaign, this marketer saw a 145% increase in sales and a 486% spike in clicks. With the right partnerships and offer distribution strategy tested prior to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, marketers can make Q4 their most profitable quarter all year. 

Secure Paid Media: Deals and Promotions

For many marketers, Q4 is the busiest and most profitable quarter of the year. For brands looking to invest in paid media, promotions must be booked well in advance to reserve the best placements possible and ensure ad spend is being invested efficiently. By securing paid media early, marketers won’t have to spend the entirety of their Q4 budget and placements will be front and center (compared to last-minute leftovers), thus driving a higher ROI. In Q4 2020, many marketers ran their promotions early and often, resulting in the third week of November being a high-growth week across multiple verticals. 

Compared to previous years, an additional 122% was spent by consumers through the week following Cyber Monday. If marketers aren’t planning for another media push after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they are essentially giving business to competitors based on last year’s shopping trends. Depending on your Q4 acquisition goals, maintaining a full-funnel approach is the best route for marketers to reach consumers throughout the buyer’s journey and maximize ROI. Establishing awareness can be done through social media, influencer gift guides, and new product blogs; these types of placements tend to get noticed early on in Q4 as shoppers research their gifting options. Through mid-funnel placements, such as product listicles and review sites, consumers will be pushed to consider which products fit their shopping lists. Based on results from Q4 2020, publishers saw a 56% increase in traffic through loyalty site placements and a 45% increase in product and review site placements. In order to continue driving consumers down the funnel to the point of conversion, marketers should invest in cart abandonment placements, and coupon and deal partnerships. 

Top-Performing Sales Q4 Dates

The holiday season offers huge opportunities for sales and expanded customer lifetime value. Marketers should plan paid media and promotional assets around top-performing dates in Q4, especially this year as consumers have already begun their holiday shopping. With upcoming holiday travel and increased shipping delays through 2021, many shoppers plan to get their shopping done even earlier than usual. Check out our list of the top-performing dates in Q4 to reference as you finalize your holiday campaign strategy. 

Q4 Seasonality Top Sale Dates

Are You Prepared to Take on Q4?

Amidst another year of uncertainty with Covid-19, consumers are looking to get their shopping done as early and as quickly as possible. As marketers gear up for the upcoming holiday season, we urge you to keep our Q4 holiday campaign planning checklist close, and make sure to check it twice! Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of performance marketing experts to discuss your Q4 strategy and how we can make this your most profitable quarter yet. 

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