Hooray For the Holidays! But First, Optimize Your Creative

Holidays make the (e-comm) world go ‘round

If you’re a subscriber to this newsletter, you already know how much of a consumer spending boon the Q4 holiday season is. But the holiday spending doesn’t stop when the Christmas decorations get packed away. 

Need proof? Check out expected consumer spending for Q1-Q3 holidays, according to surveys conducted by the National Retail Federation in 2022:

Even controlling for the tighter purse strings brought on by the current recession, brands that plan campaigns in advance for these holidays can expect to rake in a TON of cash. 💰

Because the expectations are generally lower for these holidays, there are more opportunities for brands to cash in on that pot of gold. Not only do brands face less competition for consumer dollars than they would during the BFCM period, but consumers also don’t expect the same level of discounts during these holidays — meaning each dollar of ad spend goes further during Q1-Q3

But here’s the thing — so many brands don’t plan their holiday campaigns far enough ahead. And as a result, are left scrambling to produce last-minute (and lackluster) ads. 

Holiday campaign planning done right

So how can brands do better? We’re going to get into our top tips in a minute. But before we do, one important caveat: Q4 holiday campaign planning is its own beast. While the best practices shared here definitely hold true for BFCM, brands need to be doing everything we’ll mention here and more to be successful during that time. 

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get into it. 

In order to launch a successful holiday campaign, brands need to be doing three things:

  1. Producing creative that stands out during an intensely competitive time period.
  2. Creating an offer or promotion that is enticing and unique.
  3. Relying on owned channels such as email, SMS, and organic social to build hype ahead of the promotion’s launch. 

Getting your ducks in a row in each of these areas takes time. Holiday campaign work should begin at least a quarter prior to launch to give marketing teams enough time to ideate campaign concepts and messaging, source the creative, edit that creative, and then leave enough time to tease the promotion and generate hype. 

Holiday creative & messaging best practices

We wax poetic in this newsletter nearly every month about creative being one of the only levers brands have left to pull when running paid social and paid search campaigns. It is always important to have creative/messaging that is on-point from a brand storytelling perspective AND that resonates with consumers. 

But many teams seem to have holiday-induced amnesia about that fact. We see way too many brands opting for generic offers and cliched messaging that are all but guaranteed to get scrolled past by their audience. 🤦

The brands that get it right use the uniqueness of the holiday to further solidify their brand positioning and messaging alongside a great offer. Let’s take a look at a few examples. 

Homefield Apparel

This Father’s Day ad from Homefield Apparel is a masterclass in UGC-style creative that highlights the use case of a purchase and drives home evergreen value props. “Surprising my dad with some TCU Homefield merch” is a great hook because it immediately establishes a use case AND keeps users interested in seeing how the creator’s dad will react to the gift. The dad’s comment about the shirts being “so soft” as he opens the gift then drives home a value prop that Homefield knows customers respond well to, increasing the likelihood of a conversion. 

Barstool Sports

This ad from Barstool Sports is simple, but it works because they’ve already put the work into creating an epic product to promote (which definitely required some advance planning on their end!). By taking their trademark “Saturdays are for the Boys” and giving it a Father’s Day spin, the team at Barstool was able to create a uniquely on-brand offer for the holiday they knew would be a hit with their audience. 

Creative testing 🤝 Holiday campaigns

By the time the holidays roll around you shouldn't be guessing at what call to action, content type, or even what openers resonate most with your audiences. Through consistently tracking the data of each asset you produce and from learning from this data you should already have a template that you know resonates with your audiences. 

This means that when it comes time to plan holiday campaigns, all that is left to do is create the final iteration, which involves your killer (on brand!) holiday offer and specific holiday creative. Because all holidays involve some level of heightened competitiveness, it is not the time to be building a new strategy from scratch. Through consistent creative testing and analysis, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel — all you need to do is refine and watch the ROI roll in.

Looking to take your ad creative to the next level? Coast Digital takes the guesswork out of producing scroll-stopping campaigns. Set up a time to chat with our team today to learn more.

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