The online world is noisier and more competitive than ever before.
And consumers are getting burned out.
Salesforce recently stated that “consumers are now immune to traditional advertising and marketing strategies.”
If your brand is getting lost in the noise, it’s time to do something different.
To prove yourself as a Top digital advertiser you need to think out of the box.
Here are a few innovative holiday advertising strategies you should try in 2020.
With more than 25 million businesses on Instagram, 60 million active business pages on Facebook, and around 1.3 million eCommerce businesses in North America, competition is fierce in the digital advertising world.
The continued rise of social media influencers, consumers moving away from cable television (and therefore ads), and rising distrust in brands are all contributing to a major shift in the way brands advertise.
As a result of these shifts, many companies are turning to more innovative advertising strategies, particularly during the busy holiday season when people are already primed to buy.
But you don’t have to worry. With these seven unusual advertising strategies, you will make a splash next year.
Holiday Advertising Strategy #1: Use Retargeting to Promote Festive (Or Gift-Worthy) Key Terms
Hopefully, you are already using retargeting to reach your prospective buyers; if not, now is the time.
Retargeting is one of the most effective ad strategies out there. It shows consumers ads for products they have expressed interest in, most often by viewing the product on your site.
Because the ads you show are guaranteed to be interesting to the viewer, retargeting may boost ad response rates by as much as 400%.
The holiday season, in particular, is a time you can’t afford to skip retargeting if you want to compete.
But it is also important to pay attention to how search behavior changes around the holiday.
This means your retargeting campaigns that may not normally see much traffic may actually convert well. For example, ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ or ‘white elephant gift.’
Retargeting is also useful for promoting holiday-related items such as Christmas-themed apparel, holiday nail polish colors, or even a “Woman Yelling at a Cat” Christmas sweatshirt:
Google Ads offers several options for website retargeting, allowing you to target specific URLs with advanced customization.
Remarketing with Google Ads will help you get your customers back to your site and generate more sales. Check the different retargeting options and implement them today, it can be that winning strategy you were looking for.
Have you noticed abandoned cart rates rising? Retargeting can remind consumers to finish their purchases.
During the holidays, it might also be worth revisiting your retargeting campaign’s frequency caps — which limit the number of times a prospect sees your ads.
Showing your ad a bit more frequently may have a positive impact on your ROI, and this is particularly important if you run PPC campaigns.
Holiday Advertising Strategy #2: Use Video Ads to Promote Holiday Specials
Video is a big deal in marketing these days, making it the ideal partner to your holiday campaigns. In fact, 51% of marketing professionals say that video content generates a higher ROI than any other type of content. By 2022, video traffic is expected to make up 82% of all internet traffic.
Videos are popular with consumers because they give your audience a more personal relationship with your brand.
To drum up interest in your next holiday ads, use video as a part of the buzz campaign. Here’s how to do it in 3 easy steps:
- Start by posting a teaser on social media or through email to let your audience know when holiday specials will be announced.
- Then, go live on Instagram or Facebook to share your holiday sale — whether that is free shipping, big discounts on large purchases, or even holiday-themed products.
- Then, retarget those viewers with sales ads on YouTube and Facebook with video ads to encourage conversion. Bumper ads on YouTube, in particular, are a simple way to remind consumers of content they’ve already seen.
Holiday Advertising Strategy #3: Use Promoted Instagram Stories to Sell Holiday Products
If you haven’t used Instagram story ads yet, you are missing out.
Nearly 1.7 billion accounts use the stories format every day — including brands, musicians, and political figures.
The format is time-sensitive, meaning the posts expire after 24 hours, and allow brands to be far more casual than other social media platforms.
Stories also tend to get two to three times more engagement than other formats.
Williams Sonoma, for example, recently used promoted Instagram stories to share tips on setting a Thanksgiving table:
Promoting holiday-related content is an easy way to engage customers who are likely gearing up to host a family dinner.
In addition to sharing useful tips, they also share UGC (user-generated content) in their stories to show how pieces can be arranged.
Brands can get very creative with promoted Instagram Stories.
Consider sharing new or unusual uses for your products, behind-the-scenes videos, or real-time updates of limited-production items.
Don’t discount the power of targeted Instagram story ads. These ads can be carefully targeted, which can increase their effectiveness.
Consider promoting specific products or holiday specials, such as free shipping or a free gift with large purchases.
Holiday Advertising Strategy #4: Promote Creative, Targeted Gift Guides with Online Ads
In fact, being profitable (or “in the black”) is part of the reason we call the day after Thanksgiving “Black” Friday.
Gift guides are a popular way to draw in web traffic during this high-spend season.
A quick look at Google Trends shows that searches for gift guides spike every year at the beginning of December.
But to be truly innovative, brands need to go beyond the “Top 10 gift for XYZ.” Those are a dime a dozen.
Instead, find a way to stand out. Create a longer or more niche list.
BuzzFeed, for example, publishes a huge selection of gift guides for every interest, budget, and audience:
Think about what makes your target audience different, and create a gift guide specifically for non-traditional recipients.
For example, a gift guide for people who have it all, an experience gift guide, or gifts for sustainable or ethical shopping.
Alternatively, you could create a massive guide of all the best Black Friday deals and include a few of your own sales.
Then, promote these content pieces with social media ads.
Target your prospective buyers on Facebook and Instagram by demographic.
For instance, target fathers with “gifts for moms,” or mothers of young children with “gifts for your toddler.” These are terms consumers are searching near the holidays as they search for gifts.
And while it might seem early to start planning for the next holiday season, creating great content takes time.
For best results, start planning your gift guides today.
Create a wireframe, build a marketing plan, have your designer put it on their calendar now so you have the time to create a useful, innovative gift guide early in the holiday season.
Holiday Advertising Strategy #5: Promote a Giveaway of (Actually) Good Swag
Branded swag is a time-honored tradition for brands looking to make customers happy and get their logo in front of more eyes. Creating a basket of swag sounds like a great idea for a holiday Instagram giveaway — but is it?
Giveaways are powerful, but only when they are used correctly.
We found, for example, that giveaways generate more leads on Facebook, with a 55% conversion rate.
But what encourages people to part with their email address? Tired old swag? Not likely.
The problem with swag giveaways is that most people are tired of boring shirts and pens they’ll just end up throwing out later. A basket of stuff they’ll never use isn’t much of a giveaway.
Plus, cheap swag often ends up in the landfill, which could have a major impact on the current environmental crisis.
Instead of spending a few hundred dollars on the cheap swag, invest in durable, actually useful things like:
- Cell phone docking station
- Reusable straws
- Computer or phone camera cover
- A nice reusable water bottle
- Power banks
- Dancing robot (yes, really)
While these items might cost more, they’re desirable than a branded pen, are likely to last longer, and they’ll actually be used by recipients.
Then, promote the giveaway through social media ads to see a boost in traffic, leads, and sales.
Holiday Advertising Tip (for 2020)
Host a giveaway before the holidays to gather email addresses to use to promote your holiday specials.
By running a giveaway in July, for example, you have a few months to build a strong relationship before the holiday season kicks into high gear.
Holiday Advertising Strategy #6: Create Special Offers for Trending or Unusual Holidays
When you think of the top advertising holidays, what comes to mind? Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Back to school, Labor Day, and maybe even Memorial day.
What about Wolfenoot?
If you’ve never heard of it, Wolfenoot is a holiday created by a very creative 7-year-old boy in New Zealand.
According to his mother, Wolfnoot is “when the Spirit of the Wolf brings and hides small gifts around the house for everyone.” People are to celebrate Wolfenoot by eating meat (which, of course, wolves love) and a cake shaped like a moon.
It sounds silly, but the story has gone viral, with people from all over the world wanting to participate.
Many brands still face a ton of competition during the “traditional” holiday season. When you run an ad for Black Friday, so do your competitors.
But, by promoting specials around trending or unusual holidays, your ads are less likely to be up against the competition.
While Wolfenoot might not be applicable to your audience, there is likely another holiday that is, such as Harry Potter Day, National S’mores Day, Kentucky Derby Day, and many, many others.
Holiday Advertising Strategy #7: Get Controversial
Part of the reason consumers are becoming immune to advertising might have to do with the amount of content they are exposed to.
According to Nielsen, the average adult in the U.S. spends half their day interacting with some type of media (including television, radio, and mobile devices):
On average, most people spend 142 minutes every day on social media.
We scroll through Instagram, shop on Facebook, swipe left on Tinder. It’s hard to stand out when your target buyer is consuming so much content every day.
That’s where controversial ads come into play. Controversial ads encourage consumers to read, click, and share.
However, it must be navigated very, very carefully. (And remember there is a difference between being controversial and being insensitive, or worse).
For example, you might promote an Indigenous People’s Day discount instead of a Columbus day sale. Or, you might publish and promote a piece calling out other advertisers for tasteless marketing like this article.
Chipotle’s now-famous video ad, The Scarecrow, is a fantastic example of a brand tackling a controversial topic and making waves (and increasing awareness and sales, of course).
If you choose to use this advertising strategy, consider working with an inclusion marketing specialist to avoid alienating your target buyers.
If you want to succeed in 2020 with holiday advertising, now is the time to get started.
Outlining content, creating workflows, and assigning tasks now will make it easier to stay ahead of the holiday season next year.
Create a holiday ad calendar now, so that when International Taco Day or Wolfenoot comes around, your ad campaign is ready to go. While your competitors won’t even know where to start!