Although traditionally, everyone looks at the year in four quarters, in the advertising industry, there's a small window that we call Q5.

This is the window between mid-December and January 2, when there's a break in the tightness of the market. As most businesses' marketing efforts come to a close in mid-December and focus shifts to fulfilling holiday orders, ad inventory opens up and CPM and CPAs drop. While we do see this across almost all advertising channels, we typically see this most frequently in traditional platforms like audio and TV/OTT.

During Q5, the risk-to-reward ratio is in the advertiser’s favor. We recommend that businesses take advantage of Q5 by using a small portion of their Q1 budget to test their ads in the market before prices become competitive again.

Here are two ways you can use Q5 to gear up for stronger advertising results in Q1:

Test your targeting.

If your campaign is national, you can test specific markets by geo-targeting or target nationally to see which markets perform the highest in Q5. Then, start Q1 strong by geo-targeting those top-performing markets with your full ad spend off the bat.

Or, if you've been considering using behavioral or interest targeting to enhance your reach, this is a great time to start. Do some testing, analyze the results, and then use that data to inform your Q1 targeting strategy.

Test your messaging and creative.

Take this opportunity to test different creative variations, messaging, or a new CTA. By testing your creatives now, you're getting valuable data that will give you the insights you need to iron out your creative messaging and start the year with already-optimized campaigns.

By December, you likely already have your Q1 campaigns planned. Maybe you even have your assets developed. If that's the case, you should take advantage of testing in the mid-to-end of December, regardless of what channels you're advertising on. If you don't have creative developed yet but want to test in Q5, try audio and digital, as these ad platforms allow you to get up and running quickly. We have a creative team that works alongside our media buyers and strategists, allowing us to write a script, record, approve, and place an ad within 24-48 hours.

Whether you identify a poor-performing ad variation before you've gotten too deep into your campaigns, or you take the opportunity to try a new offer or messaging, testing in Q5 can help you uncover budget efficiencies and increase ROAS.