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Uncovering Q5: How Small Businesses Can Generate Greater Customer Connections Post-Holidays

4 Mins read

Editor’s Note: Consumers aren’t done with their holiday shopping in December. The shopping season continues into January—the folks at Meta call it Q5. Below, the company explains the importance of preparing for Q5 and how Meta can help. –Rieva Lesonsky

While the holiday season seems to kick off earlier every year, the shopping momentum doesn’t fizzle out once the gifts are unwrapped. A recent YouGov survey commissioned by Meta found that 41% of holiday shoppers will continue shopping past the holidays and into January. Yet, marketers often reduce advertising spend post-holidays instead of leaning into consumer demand.

Extending from late December to mid-January, this period is known to marketers as the fifth quarter (Q5), and it brings new opportunities for small businesses to build a fresh customer pipeline and drive post-holiday sales. Before your business can take advantage of Q5 to establish new customer connections in the year ahead, here are four common questions from small businesses answered:

Why is Q5 so important, and when should I start planning for Q5?

During Q5, consumer behavior shifts, creating an open window of opportunity for businesses. After the gift-buying rush, Q5 shoppers will look for sales, discounts, and chances to redeem gift cards or spend cash gifts. This quiet time after the holidays also gives consumers more room to discover new brands online, allowing small businesses to capture their attention on social media.

While this period is an excellent opportunity to snag shoppers’ interest, the fifth quarter also offers cost-effective marketing opportunities for businesses as the competition for ad space notably decreases. In fact, global data shows that CPM rates in January 2023 were, on average, 15% below their October 1st levels, and average CPAs were down 4% while average CVR was only down 5%.

With reduced competition, active shoppers, and lower ad prices, think of Q5 as an extension of the holiday season. And just as you would for your holiday marketing strategy, planning for Q5 should be set well before the window kicks off, and businesses that fold their Q5 plans into their usual holiday marketing strategy will end the current year on a high note—and start the new one strong.

Can I extend my holiday campaign into Q5?

Q5 presents a golden opportunity for small businesses to maximize advertising dollars and gain new customer leads. To save time and reduce creative fatigue, consider repurposing top-performing holiday creative with slight tweaks tailored to post-holiday motivations.

Extending an online campaign accelerates the “learning phase,” yielding more indicative performance results so you can gain a better understanding of campaign effectiveness.

Businesses can optimize campaign performance through A/B testing as a part of their measurement strategy. These learnings can help make data-driven decisions that improve performance and inform future campaigns.

Take Wander Magazine, for example. The travel and wellness publication conducted A/B testing on various ad formats to find which would generate the most qualified customer leads. They found that ads with open forms within their social apps outperformed website-linked forms, generating 3.2x more qualified leads.

What strategies and trends should I prioritize in 2024 to optimize my campaign for the best performance?

This year marks the first AI-powered holiday season. We’re already seeing marketers leverage AI tools throughout their campaigns—from creation to measurement—and this trending strategy is expected to become the new normal in the coming years. With lower auction costs during this period, why not use Q5 to fuel experimentation, refine strategies, and iterate on varied creatives for the future? AI-powered automation features like Meta’s new Advantage+ Audience tool can help businesses discover new customers and deliver ads to preferred audiences.

Furthermore, businesses focusing on lead generation can lean into Tailored Lead Campaigns within Meta’s Ad Manager to maximize performance with less effort. Our findings indicate that small businesses saw an average 18% decrease in cost per result leveraging AI-powered tailored lead campaigns compared to similar campaigns with manual ads manager flow for lead objectives. By integrating AI tools for automation, businesses can strategically connect with shoppers eager to redeem their gifted holiday money in Q5 and beyond.

My service-based business is all about building client relationships. How can I tailor my Q5 strategy in social selling to build more meaningful connections for the year?

Determining the likelihood that a potential customer will convert into a sale is just as important as finding a new audience—we call this qualifying our leads. Meta focuses on helping businesses drive high-quality leads with impactful results to a business’s bottom line.

Lead generation happens in an environment where people are open to discovery, and businesses can create and respond to customer demand. In addition to our Lead Generation tool, Instant Forms, we’ve created features like Conditional Logic to refine data collection and filter out leads that don’t meet specific criteria, ideally improving lead quality.

John Wai Martial Arts started crafting its Q5 plans in October to get ahead of the rush of people looking to fulfill their healthy New Year’s resolutions in January. To ensure a successful Q5, the martial arts business increased its lead ads in December. Since using Meta’s Instant Forms and Conditional Logic, the business has seen some of the highest-grossing revenue months in its 26 years.

The fifth quarter brings a surge in online activity among consumers driven by new mobile devices and post-holiday downtime. This combination contributes to heightened engagement online during this hidden quarter. By redefining planning and measurement strategies, implementing AI and automation tools, and qualifying leads, savvy small business owners are tapping Q5 as a cost-effective opportunity to generate quality leads that provide value long past the New Year.

After the holidays stock image by Ian Dyball/Shutterstock

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