The holidays are getting closer to us, and they are known to be the most favorable and fruitful season for any business. So it's critical to know what to do with your advertising this season, or your holiday stockings will end up full of coal instead of fabulous gifts from the good Santa customer.
This year's holiday shopping season has a few unique challenges. Because of inflation and overstock in many stores, loyal customers will be expecting bargains.
This means that high holiday sales will be considered a baseline, so you'll need to make an extra effort to separate yourself from the competitors with a strong marketing campaign. After all, if everyone in the market is offering the same discount, then what is unique about your offer?
That's why you need to keep an eye out for holiday promotions, set the right discounts, make interesting offers to customers, and sell products through convenient and fast marketing channels — apps, websites, and social media. We have some holiday marketing tips to help you with your holiday marketing campaign planning.
Why do holiday promotions work?
Holiday marketing campaign ideas
Holiday promotions work primarily because demand for most product categories increases during the holiday season. People prepare to celebrate Christmas and the New Year, make gifts for loved ones, and have fun with their children.
And in today's realities, all of these require money, so even without great holiday promotions, demand for goods will increase, which will boost sales.
However, if you want your holiday season to be as profitable as possible for your business, there are a few rules to follow when you implement one of your holiday marketing campaign ideas.
The shorter the better
No one likes to read or listen, much less to understand the long terms of a marketing campaign. Therefore, your message to the potential customer should be as short and clear as possible.
If you think that your slogan or promotional offer can be shortened without loss of meaning — feel free to do it.
The more the better
No, this is not contrary to the previous point. In this section, we will talk about advertising in your marketing campaigns.
Advertising is important for your holiday marketing campaigns, and it's important to set it up so that every one of your clients or potential customers can see it.
Demand-side platforms can help you in setting up mass and targeted digital advertising. They allow you to create specific ads for different channels and platforms.
The earlier the better
Every year the holiday season starts earlier and earlier. Now you can see holiday decorations on store shelves already in October. Therefore, you can safely start advertising starting in mid-November.
You'll always have anxious early holiday shoppers who are worried about getting all their holiday preparations ready weeks in advance, there will be those who shop during normal times and those who do so at the last minute, chasing hot deals and big discounts.
Therefore, you can divide the holiday marketing campaign into 3 phases for each of these time groups of holiday shoppers.
It's never too late to retarget
This point is about using retargeting in your marketing strategy. Think back to how many times you went to the store before the holidays to buy everything you needed, and how many times you had to go there again to buy something you might have forgotten from the huge list of necessary purchases.
That's why it's important not to forget about retargeting in your holiday marketing campaigns. People may come back to you to buy something they forgot about or just for something they liked in your ads.
How are people making purchases during the holiday season?
Holiday marketing tips
Google has published trends in pandemic shopping behavior. They will help retailers adapt to the changes in the 2020s and meet demand during the holiday season, according to the Think with Google blog. They can be useful for your holiday marketing ideas.
Holiday shopping season ahead of time
About 60% of U.S. shoppers say they will start holiday shopping earlier than usual to avoid crowds.
Retailers will need to revisit the usual Cyber Monday and Cyber Week deadlines to allow users who are already looking for special offers and promotions in October to take advantage of the discounts.
And according to an Ipsos survey conducted last summer, one out of four U.S. shoppers said they already started holiday shopping back in July. That means businesses need to prepare holiday marketing strategies to reach out to consumers earlier than ever before.
More online holiday shoppers
In the U.S., 69% of shoppers plan to shop online during the holidays more often than in previous years. At the same time, the number of online shoppers for the first time this year is on the rise.
Businesses should consider how convenient it is to shop online in their stores so that even a newcomer won't have a hard time. Online sales are a very important part of every holiday marketing campaign.
More product data
About 77% of U.S. consumers say they intend to look for gift ideas online rather than in an offline store.
As more and more shopping decisions are made online, businesses need to showcase the best of what's available in-store and be prepared to encourage customers to complete the buying process offline, whether they go to an offline store, choose delivery, or take advantage of a curbside pickup without visiting a location.
Supporting Small Business
Among U.S. consumers surveyed, 66% say they would make more purchases from local small- and medium-sized businesses.
Google ads is calling on larger businesses to support small ones, help them get ready for the holiday season, and make the shopping experience as easy as possible.
New brands and familiar products
A third of U.S. shoppers began shopping with brands that were previously unknown to them during the pandemic.
It means that people are willing to buy familiar items from new brands. To find new customers or connect with existing loyal clients, retailers should focus on their products while users look for inspiration and perfect gift-giving ideas.
To attract more users this festive season, Google ads recommends using new products created specifically for e-commerce representatives.
In January 2022, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that retail holiday sales for 2021 grew 14.1% over 2020 to $886.7 billion.
This is a new record and it is set despite the challenges of inflation, supply chain disruptions, and constant trade stoppages due to the pandemic. NRF also found that holiday season sales in the U.S. are growing at an average annual rate of 4.9% from 2011 to 2021.
This same year, eMarketer reports that retail sales will continue to grow at 3.3%, pushing retail holiday sales to $1.262 trillion.
Holiday marketing ideas 2022
Now that we know how shoppers behaved during the holiday season in recent years, it's time to take a look at holiday marketing campaign ideas you may find useful this year.
Although U.S. consumers are concerned about the economy, they are excited about holiday sales, thus, holiday marketing campaigns and holiday messaging will still be relevant.
This is a type of holiday marketing campaign that allows you to reach your users through multiple channels at once. In the current digital landscape, this strategy has become an almost permanent and indispensable constant for any business.
The main key to the profit of a successful holiday marketing campaign is to create a clear and concise holiday message that will be broadcasted across different platforms to the consumer.
Of course, the creatives for such a holiday marketing campaign must be designed in the same style so that a potential customer will immediately distinguish your brand.
Targeting across multiple advertising channels allows you to increase the reach of your audience of interest, as one type of advertising can't reach all users.
For example, people who use ad blockers are unlikely to see your banner, but they may hear your audio ad when they listen to a new podcast.
Personalize your holiday marketing campaigns
The happy holiday season is family time, a time we spend with our most loved ones. You and your potential customers should be close enough so that you have the opportunity to address them in a more personalized way in your holiday marketing campaign: reminding them of a past purchase or page view and addressing them by name or nickname.
McKinsey's Next in Personalization 2021 report showed that brands that focus on building a trusting relationship with the consumer have a faster growth rate.
You can personalize your advertising content based on your consumer data. Almost all of the data that every marketer collects in holiday marketing campaigns can do this: gender, age, geolocation, marital status, hobbies, etc.
You can create and recommend personalized selections of products and services and automatically show how much of a discount a customer will receive if they use your offer.
Everyone feels appreciated when they are treated with special attention, and when you do something specifically for your customer, it increases their loyalty and affinity for your brand.
And since we all want to create holiday cheer, and give a little Christmas miracle to our customers, it's worth thinking about personalizing content for them as much as possible.
Try using new advertising channels
Due to the fact that advertising technology is evolving at about the same rate that Santa's magic sleigh is flying, some marketers don't have time to follow and understand each one, preferring the old and tried-and-true methods.
However, what is a better field for innovation than holiday marketing strategies? Consider the channels you don't normally use for advertising and consider which ones would be potentially useful to you.
Connected TV (CTV) holiday campaigns
This is the channel that gained major popularity during the pandemic years. Since so many households are abandoning linear TV and switching to ad-supported streaming services, it's also a great way to get your holiday offerings to your target audience.
CTV is good because it gives the user a choice to watch the ad or skip it, which means you'll have fewer irrelevant views and each impression will have more value and be more likely to convert into a purchase.
Add to that the precise targeting options available through programmatic advertising platforms, and you have the perfect advertising tool for the holiday marketing campaign (or any other campaign).
Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) holiday campaigns
Good old outdoor advertising is familiar to everyone and even seems terribly trivial. However, with the help of programmatic technology, such advertising is becoming more and more personalized. You can target outdoor advertising by time, weather, or according to the geolocation of your potential customers.
DOOH advertising is becoming more and more relevant as restrictions related to the pandemic are loosened and in the next couple of years, it will surely show its hidden power. Well for the holidays, of course, it will also be a great fit for your holiday marketing campaign, especially if you want to give your customers holiday cheer.
Programmatic Audio holiday campaigns
Unfortunately, many marketers forget about the existence of programmatic audio when developing a holiday marketing strategy or thinking about holiday promotion ideas. This absolutely shouldn't be the case!
Think back to how many promotional songs pop into your head during the pre-Christmas season. What brands are they associated with? How do you feel about those brands?
We would venture to guess that the attitude is probably positive. Because brands involved in creating holiday cheer are de facto perceived as something good.
So a good jingle or the right to use some atmospheric Christmas song can greatly increase loyalty to your brand and play into your hands in the long run.
In addition, audio advertising can help you reach an audience that no other advertising can reach: drivers listening to the radio on the way to work, podcast fans, and music lovers — all of these people can be the target audience of your holiday marketing campaign.
In-game advertising holiday campaigns
The video game market hasn't stopped growing since the 1970s. And during the pandemic, it gained new popularity, as did many other services previously suited mainly to homebodies.
It is convenient and profitable to place ads in games, as they can be made interactive and interesting. You can ask the user to watch the ad for a reward in the form of game currency or show them advertising instead of a boring loading screen.
The level of loyalty to advertising in games is extremely high, especially if advertising is properly targeted and shows useful information for the user.
Some companies go further and are engaged in advergaming, meaning the creation of entire games, dedicated to a particular product.
Now it is very easy to create a small eight-bit game and to make it part of a holiday marketing campaign is even easier.
For example, a user must score 20 points in a Christmas mini-game and receive a coupon for a discount. In the end, the user is engaged, loyalty is high, and the brand is profitable.
Use an interactive advertising format
A great holiday promotion starts with interactivity that can be achieved on social media with social media posts, email marketing campaigns, or special landing pages offering incentives in the online store.
An interactive advertising format also allows you to attract new users, drive customer satisfaction, and create an interactive user experience at the same time.
Various actions performed by the user with the ad can be considered interactive elements: pointing the mouse at a certain area, scanning a QR code, compiling a disjointed picture into a single whole, etc.
The main thing is that such advertising engages the users and stimulates their interest in what it has to offer them as a result. So for holiday interactive advertising, it's worth preparing especially good conditions for the holiday promotion (free gift, offering free shipping, special holiday gifts, gift wrapping).
You can also create little extras that the user can get when they take an interactive action with your ad.
For example, a holiday gift guide with gift ideas from your brand, ready-made offers for different types of customers, a festive webinar invite video, or a schedule of holiday events. It will be a great addition to your holiday marketing strategy.
Also, keep in mind that ads with dynamic timing are especially effective during the holiday season as people are purchasing gifts. The less time left until the holidays, the more people start to get excited about holiday gifts and agree to buy through the ads more easily.
Don't forget about cookie-free targeting
Yes, we all know we should always leave some cookies and milk for Santa before Christmas, but in the world of marketing, Santa can live without cookies and will be only happy to do so.
Cookie-free advertising targets ads based on the environment in which the ad appears. It uses algorithms to target ad locations based on keywords, website content, and other metadata.
In this way, the user's web privacy can be increased and ads can be offered according to the user's current needs. Such targeting allows you to catch the user's mood and target more niche audiences.
Happy Holiday marketing campaigns!
The holiday spirit can't escape anyone, not shoppers, not marketers, not the silliest Grinches. So we should all relax and just give in to that relentless holiday spirit, especially since it can be very beneficial to brand success.
Which holiday marketing campaign strategy to choose is up to you. We hope our advice was helpful and that your holiday marketing efforts will be a great success, and we also remind you that you can easily set up any of the types of advertising we talked about in this article with our SmartyAds DSP.