3 Ways Retailers Can Use Creative Data to Optimize Holiday Ad Performance

By : Amanda Batista


It’s about that time for retailers and eCommerce brands to prepare for the influx of holiday shopping. Our gift to you? Tips to keep your brand off the “Naughty List.”

VidMob’s Jerry Bell joined Forrester Analyst (and former GM performance marketer) Nikhil Lai for a special webinar as part of Retail TouchPoints’ Retail Strategy & Planning Series. The webinar offered tips on how to navigate the economic and customer trends going into Q4, as well as insights on how creative decisions impact campaign performance. 

Lai highlighted consumer sentiment trends leading up to the holiday shopping rush,  “The unique combination of social, economic, and political tension at this moment are shaping when, where and why consumers are willing to open up their wallets this holiday season,” Lai said. “CMOs can’t just dust off their recession playbooks from the past and expect to understand, let alone, serve consumers today.”

The Next Marketing Lever: Creative Data 

Consumers are bracing for recession but their actual behavior differs based on age and income. Highlights from Forrester’s CMO Pulse Survey showed that now is the time for marketers to be opportunistic. When asked which changes marketing leaders plan to make to their marketing strategies given data deprecation, respondents cited:

  • Updating adtech stack to ensure partners (agencies) have solutions to manage data deprecation (35%)
  • Test new/various creative assets (30%)
  • Test new contextual targeting (20%)

Additionally 86% of executives say that when they see advertising from a company during a recession, it keeps that company top of mind when making purchase decisions and makes them feel positive about that company’s commitment to its products and services. Creative testing offers brands an antidote to signal loss caused by iOS 14 and similar contextual targeting now seen as a solution to audience targeting tactics.

How to Ensure Your Ad Creative Makes the ‘Nice List’

  1. The early brand catches the worm! Consumers are starting to shop earlier in the year. The savvy shopper is mindful of shipping delays and logistical challenges. Marketers who aren’t agile enough to push new creative assets out quickly while shoppers are in consideration may miss out. Meet shoppers where they are by utilizing efficient production resources to get creative live as quickly as possible. The more touch points shoppers have for engagement, the higher propensity brands have to resonate with audiences sooner. 
  2. Make many good first impressions. According to Google, Omnichannel shoppers, those who are looking at info from three or more channels, are twice as likely to purchase and likely to spend twice as much. Marketers really need to be present across various buyer touch points or they risk opportunities for brand awareness and recognition.Consider all possible channels where your audiences are making buying decisions–leveraging expertise to build native creative. 
  3. Think outside the (gift) box. Limit creative to platform best practices only. We have elections in the US, the World Cup happening for the first time in winter; there will be higher holiday CPM. Without a unique voice and creative insight, you risk blending into the crowd. Go beyond platform best practices to leverage all creative advantages. Creative data is helping VidMob users understand which ad elements drive performance to achieve a successful holiday campaign amid economic uncertainty.

The Anatomy of a High Performing Holiday Ad

VidMob conducted an analysis of high performing holiday ad creative on Facebook and Instagram. 

The findings showed:

  • Winter and snow related elements massively increase purchase rate on both Facebook and Instagram– 600-800% higher than industry average. Think cold, snowy, wintry creative, but beyond landscapes; consider snowy text treatments and icy graphics.
  • High color contrast assets consistently overperformed on both platforms. Blue specifically helped increase purchase rates on Facebook by 50%. Look to create vibrant, joyful creative, and make sure your on-screen messaging is high contrast as well as the imagery.
  • Outdoor and Urban elements hurt conversion rates, at 95% and 50% lower than industry on both platforms. Get creative and think about bringing winter or seasonal styling inside. 
  • Promotional centered creative — even without seasonal imagery — outperforms year after year (+33% lift in CTR in 2020, +31% lift in CTR in 2019). As much as shoppers love the holidays, sometimes they love a sale even more.

Why guess when you can know exactly what is and isn’t working in your holiday ads? Put a bow on your creative with a data-driven strategy this Holiday season. Check out the on-demand webinar for the full presentation and more tips on how to leverage creative data to make the most of your holiday campaigns!