The Christmas Holiday Season: Traffic Trends that Affect your Site

As the festive season gathers momentum, businesses large and small are likely to be fine-tuning their staffing and activity plans for the holidays. 

If you’re a publisher with a small team (or perhaps even no team), the question of what to publish on Christmas day itself is likely to be front of mind. Unless you’re an up-to-the minute news publisher, is it even worth creating new content for the big day?

Have a very Digital Christmas!

As well as following the all-important Santa tracker (Google’s is one of the best), people celebrating Christmas in largely Christian Western nations are online for a surprising amount of time on December 25th. 

In spite of spending time with relatives (or perhaps because of it!) – time spent online on Christmas Day has increased steadily over the last 15 years.

Research in December 2021 showed that people were set to spend over 7 hours online on December 25th – that’s a third of the waking day, roughly. Of course that doesn’t mean all of those hours are looking at websites. It includes streamed TV, gaming, and video calls to family and friends. 

The survey, by broadband provider Hyperoptic, suggests that our Christmases are shaping up to be more connected digitally than ever. While digital connectivity between distant family and friends dominates, time spent on social media and general content websites is still considerable, peaking in the late afternoon. 

Traffic for Different Sites

Football websites globally are expecting a particularly buoyant level of traffic on Christmas Day this year, as many of the world’s top teams look ahead to resuming matches during the holiday season after the Qatar World Cup. 

Entertainment websites often benefit from people searching for content about the movies and shows they’ll settle down to watch over the Christmas period. More sports and entertainment content is consumed, and searches for related articles increase accordingly.

The Boxing Day Sales

One of the key drivers of online media consumption is research into what’s coming up in the Boxing Day sales, both online and in-store.

According to accountancy firm KPMG, well over half (58%) of people in the UK still see Boxing Day as a more important bargain-bagging event than Black Friday, so are likely to be researching products during downtime on the big day. And, according to The Guardian, in the last Christmas before the pandemic, over £1bn was set to be spent online on December 25th itself.

How to Prepare for the Holiday Season

Advertisers are well aware of all of these trends and opportunities, and therefore plenty of campaigns are planned and ready to go live on Christmas Day. 

While traffic to your website may be lower than on a regular weekend day, decent CPMs mean that it’s definitely worth maintaining a presence of new articles. 

Good planning and scheduling prior to Christmas Day means you can take advantage of the demand in the ad market without having to miss out on the celebrations; many smaller editorial teams run a rota where one or two staff publish new, newsy items to complement the scheduled posts. 

Maya de Paz