Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market

Exeter Cathedral – a thousand-year-old icon of the city – is one of the most impressive examples of Gothic architecture in the country. It’s also one of the South West’s most popular tourist attractions, which includes the Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market. After building a website for the Cathedral last year, alongside an immensely successful promotion of the market through visual identity creation and multi-channel digital marketing support, AB was tasked with promoting this year’s event with a fully integrated marketing campaign.

The Background

The website, built for long-term client Exeter Cathedral, was a great success. In the first month alone of the website going live, 56 thousand sessions were recorded. Our search, display and social marketing campaign support for the crucial first year of the Christmas market received 1.8 million impressions.

Off the back of this success, AB was called on again to deliver an awareness campaign for The Cathedral marketing team’s second year hosting the Christmas market. It needed to improve on the previous year’s achievements and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Increase in impressions (inc. Twitter reach)
Increase in PPC clicks
Increase in Facebook followers

Our Response

The challenge was reaching and enticing an audience to fill a market that was bigger than ever. It would feature 90 stalls and run from 15 November until 16 December 2018.

Through much planning and research, a complex strategic approach was formed. The execution consisted of a variety of ads and content employed in tandem via digital targeting. This strategy was meticulously delivered at multiple touchpoints and key stages in the decision-making journey. It included driving traffic to a dedicated Christmas market page on the Cathedral’s website through Facebook, Twitter and Google ad campaigns.

As well as image ads on all platforms, film was used throughout the campaign. Footage for these ads came from the promotional teaser our dedicated film and content production department created for the market. Offline, the integrated campaign also included bus rears advertising and digital six sheets. We also produced blog articles focusing on a variety of the market traders, to optimise the website.


Integrated multi-channel marketing/ film/ social media marketing/ complex strategy/ website management and optimisation

The Impact

The Christmas market was a huge success, with the Cathedral Green packed with happy customers each and every night. Exeter Cathedral and its marketing team were happy too – the campaign’s key performance indicators were massively exceeded. Targets included 850 Facebook likes; we achieved 4102. An increase of 800 Facebook followers was desired; the page had 4144 by the end of the campaign. And a target of 1,300,000 impressions was almost doubled, with over 2,440,000 recorded.

The people have certainly been here, and as far as traders are concerned, they’re happy with takings (especially considering the weather)!
Cressida Peers, Exeter Cathedral's Events and Christmas Market Manager