As an online advertiser, you can actually take advantage of the Offline Rush -- and maybe stretch your holiday ad budget as well. Especially if you are a multichannel or off-line retailer who's aiming to boost holiday sales, then it's possible to consider pacing your ad spends differently through Christmas Day and beyond.
Take a look at these interesting findings from Microsoft's Atlas Institute, based on last year's holiday season. Atlas analyzed display ad consumption (red line below) versus online sales volume (green line below). The Online Crush period took place between Thanksgiving and December 11th, followed by the Offline Rush until Christmas.
Index: Middle bar equals average holiday sales
Upper bar is 50% higher; Lower bar is 50% lower
Note that sales volume peaked right at the end of the Online Crush, at about 175% or so of average holiday sales levels. Yet that's just the beginning of the highest online ad consumption for the season, which seemed to top out and remain at 125% of average levels throughout the Offline Rush.
While these data are based on display ad impressions, the consumption trends seem quite relevant for text ads too. If you are finalizing search or contextual ad buys now, then don't taper too early in the season. Your customers are still actively shopping online before they head to the malls, and can be influenced during that last-minute frenzy.