Christmas Ads Marketing Strategy Tips

Published by Dina Taitelbaum on

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Christmas Ads Marketing Strategy Tips

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… with jolly ads everywhere!

We’re finally in the most magical time of the year. Yes, it may be a busy month closing the year but it’s also the most satisfying one. Finally, our long-prepped ads are going live and we’re watching the results rolling in. 

Most of you probably already launched your Christmas ads. This year, we see many brands running their holiday campaigns right after Black Friday. Damon Collins, founder of creative agency Joint mentioned to The Drum that this year, in particular, starting Christmas campaigns earlier is acceptable if the brand acknowledges how tough the past 18 months have been. 

On the other hand, since Christmas gatherings were compromised for many due to the pandemic last year, families are looking forward to reuniting without interruptions of commercial Christmas.  

So what should the marketing strategy be to reach consumers who’re on one hand ready to shop while on the other, don’t want to feel commercially targeted? 

Christmas ads strategy for 2021

This year, our advice is to create campaigns that don’t disturb your target audience so your ads don’t feel like they add to the holiday noise. Instead, your ads should feel like they bring the right message at the right time. Your consumers should end up feeling like they’re getting a deal on something they’ve wanted and waited for. 

But how do you do that? 

Connect with your audience

Emotional connection with the audience has been a determining factor for many brands’ success. Last year’s “Give a Little Love” or Apple’s “Make Someone’s Holiday” campaigns are proof that the value of the ESP (emotional selling proposition) concept for Christmas ads is still prominent. 

Another way to connect is by making sure you reach your audience across multiple spaces. Mobile ads are estimated to host 73% of eCommerce sales and that makes sense – we’re all pretty much glued to our phones. Make sure you’re using text messaging, apps and optimize your banner and social ads to look amazing on mobile. 

Experiment with Google ads. Google is going to be the go-to channel for gift searching ideas and 49% of surveyed consumers will use it to find new products. Here at, we can help you analyze your Google ads creative performance in real-time so you can quickly optimize, adjust and otherwise tweak your creatives (including text) based on actionable insights. 

Another way to connect with people is to show your care for the world. 80% of consumers are now making purchasing decisions based on sustainability considerations. Companies that promote recycling by using recycled materials, not testing on animals, or in any other way giving back to the environment are not just a recent trend. Consumers care about supporting brands that are environmentally friendly and responsible which will result in connecting with your message (and CTA!) much faster.

Analyze, plan and optimize your Christmas ads

Thorough planning is key for any successful ad campaign but Christmas advertising has always been an art of its own and requires an extra touch. Here’re some of our ideas on ways you could enrich your Christmas ads campaign:

  • Pull out data from last year. It’s very possible that whatever worked for your last year will also work this year. See how you can optimize to improve your last year’s successful campaigns or maybe use them as inspiration!
  • Re-investigate your buyer-persona to identify which needs are most urgent right now. This is a highly important point to keep in mind. Whatever was important last year is probably not the same anymore.  For example, last year many people were not able to celebrate Christmas with their families while this year, they’re excited to do so.
  • Invest in video ads, even if they’re simple. If you haven’t done so already, it might be a last minute call considering there are only a couple of weeks left till Christmas. However, there are still ways you can create short, eye-catching videos even if they’re simple gifs. In our most recent report, we’ve gathered the freshest insights regarding story vs feed ads placement for your video ads.
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  • Analyse your November sales, industry trends and audience behavior. Many shoppers are waiting for Christmas to get better prices than those during Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 
  • Check out your ads performance from Black Friday campaigns and see what insights you can gather to include in your Christmas ads. We’ve written a guest article on Outbrain’s blog with our optimization tips for Black Friday ad creatives to maximise sales. Those could also be useful now.

Focus on brand awareness

Brand awareness should always be a Christmas campaign goal, not only purchases. It’s a great time of the year to increase customer loyalty, promote value propositions and convert leads. 

One of the ways brands can increase reach and awareness is through a limited referral program to existing customers (note, you can create such an offer under other circumstances too – for example, to start of 2022).

Create a giveaway or discounts for customers that refer you to a friend or tag your brand/hashtag on social media. UGC (user-generated content) encouragement is a great way to boost brand exposure and engagement so don’t be afraid to create contests, giveaways, and equivalent. With such a campaign, you could both increase existing customer loyalty and increase reach to new potential customers. 

A great example of a UGC Christmas campaign is the Starbucks #RedCupContest across social media that’s been around since Christmas 2015. It promotes both user engagement, brand awareness, and reusability (remember, find a way your campaign gives back to the environment!) while increasing sales. The secret to a UGC campaign is that it has to be super simple. Starbucks’ only requirement is to publish a picture holding their branded cup, that’s it.

Social media campaigns should be a given but in case you’re contemplating, remember that 43% use social media to discover new brands and 36% use it for purchases.

Another way to bring your brand name up this holiday season is to adjust your PPC keywords to fit Christmas search trends. Simply find a way your products can be found during the holidays. For example, if you’re selling craft supply target keywords like, “Christmas decorations” or “DIY Christmas ideas”. 

Play around with your offers

Finally, let’s discuss ways to increase your Christmas ads purchases. 

By now (second week of December) you should definitely be at the top of your ads funnel with a conversion KPI. We’re getting close to Christmas and your order still needs to arrive on time. After all, many are buying your products to give as their holiday gifts. 

This is a great opportunity to create subtle urgency by letting your target audience know your last day to ship orders on time for Christmas. Usually, in the US it’s on December 13 aka Green Monday, which is just around the corner. If you haven’t done so yet this is a great quick win tweak for your ad creative that you could add now. 

While you’re at it, it’s also a good idea to play around with additional CTA and offers variations to learn what your customers want and respond to. Remember how we suggested you do your homework and learn what worked for you last year? This is the time you can play around with that data and try it again now. For example, showing off your top-selling items is a popular way to use your sales data. 

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