It’s the final countdown! While preparing your holiday advertising campaigns, we rounded up our top tips and trends you do NOT want to forget.

1. It’s the Happiest Time of Year – Keep it Positive!

Keep it positive! Use positive adjectives in headlines coupled with happy images to increase CTR. Cold, monotone creatives do not bring joy. Bonus: add puns or rhymes to make it even more…puntastic.

2. Which Images and Creative Units Perform Best?

Photographs perform better than animated images. Always. On that note, children, pets, and people in images perform best. Smile! Go solo: if using images with products, one solo “feature” product performs better than a group.

Take your static images up a notch with cinemegraphs, scroller units, and carousel units. These are highly effective at telling a short story and conveying a specific setting or emotion. They also drive maximum in-unit engagement. One advertising agency found that cinemagraph content tends to have more virality, with 71% higher organic reach than still photographs. Don’t believe us? Check out this case study or this one.

3. Make It Personable! Build Trust.

Holidays can be the most amazing, yet most stressful time of the year for families – especially given the last two years. As a brand, bringing a “human” and empathetic touch to your messaging can make your holiday campaigns more attractive and build trust with your consumers. When asked by eMarketer which emotions were most effective at making consumers feel connected to brands, admiration and trust were the overwhelming choice. Gain trust by being personable and building a connection with your consumers. This can be through family-forward images, warm and inviting copy, and inspirational content and stories. Don’t forget the importance of brand safety tech controls – i.e. where your ad is placed on the page – consumers can quickly lose trust in your brand if it’s placed next to unsavory and/or user-generated content.

4. Count on Heavy Ecommerce Holiday Shopping

Last year proved that consumers were just as – if not more – willing to spend money online while shopping for the holidays. Even with the ability to shop in-store this year, ecommerce will continue to grow, and forecasts predict record-breaking ecommerce sales this holiday season.

Retail ecommerce sales are projected to make up 18.9% of total holiday retail sales, up from 17.5% last year according to eMarketer. Thanksgiving Day ecommerce sales are expected to hit a whopping $6.21 billion, per eMarketer forecasts. (For reference, Thanksgiving Day ecommerce sales reached $4.13 billion just two years ago in 2019.) And as we mentioned, Cyber Monday was the heaviest online spending day in history, rising 15.6% to $10.78 billion. This continued through the end of the year, especially online, driving a dramatic 47% increase in ecommerce sales during the traditional holiday season, according to Facebook.

5. Help Holiday Shoppers With Context Discovery

Half of all shoppers polled by Facebook experienced some difficulty knowing what to buy for others, while 63% of global shoppers surveyed enjoyed discovering items they weren’t actively looking for. Call it Discovery Commerce, online discovery, point of intent, content marketing – the point is the same: consumers want a bit of help when it comes to shopping, and there’s no shame in that.

Creating digital ads – discovery aides – that help shoppers determine what to buy based on what they are likely to love (thanks to context clues and audience groups, for example) is crucial to success. Maximizing contextual targeting and context-driven optimization will ensure your ads and content find your target shoppers. Make your consumers’ holiday shopping job easier. Don’t just meet them at their needs; anticipate them.

6. Black Friday is Starting Early This Year​ – So Get Ahead

Companies are coming out with Black Friday deals earlier and earlier every year! Do not miss the chance to jump ahead on early deals in order to gain the attention of your target market – because they’ll be more likely to shop with you. New data from Criteo found that 30% of consumers will try a new online store because of early holiday deals, and one-quarter of consumers research purchases one month before their Black Friday buys. Amazon has already started rolling out their Black Friday Deals, and “when the biggest power in ecommerce sets an early start to a shopping season, others quickly follow to avoid missing out.”

Brands and advertisers, we hope tips for engaging holiday creative assets make your performance soar! The holiday 2021 shopping season is going to be a great year!

For more tips, check out our creative best practices: the naughty and nice list.

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