It may be the most wonderful time of the year for most people, but for marketers, it can be a challenge to stand out during one of the most advertising-heavy periods of the year.

And with 2 billion people using Facebook, 500 million on Instagram, EVERY month—focusing most of your efforts on social media ads is a surefire way to help build your brand and increase sales.

However, breaking through the noise of the holiday season requires some understanding of how your potential customers engage with the platform, and how to pique their interest in order to motivate them to purchase your product.

So here are 5 ways to help increase sales this holiday season:


#1: Use seasonal marketing

While coming up with new concepts for the holidays is recommended, you can tweak successful existing ads by:

  • Using seasonal ad copy and making sure to include important keywords and phrases like “gifts”, “holiday”, “Christmas”, New Year’s.” You can also give your website a more festive look by adding banners, stock images, or templates.
  • Emphasize special offers and deals they don’t want to miss, with copy like “come shop our biggest sale of the year!”
  • Make it memorable by avoiding common holiday cliches, and instead come up with original copy that will stand out among the rest.
  • Create a sense of urgency by utilizing time limits with countdown clocks, sticky CTA’s, or copy like “60% off your order until December 16th!” or “order before December 20th to get it before Christmas!”
  • Create ad scheduling so you can bid on the times your target audience is more likely to be shopping for your products.

#2: Understand motivations

When it comes to the holiday shopper, most are driven by convenience or sentimental reasons.

In marketing, your goal is to deliver the right information, at the right time, to the right person, on the right platform.

Online shopping is the essence of convenience. Creating ads that have the least amount of barriers from discovery to check out should be the goal. So how do you create the least path of resistance? Make it easy for your customers to get the information they need, while also making the experience easy and straightforward. Making sure your ad is compatible on many devices (especially mobile) and provides a seamless experience from inputting discount codes to completing purchases, is a key way to help drive sales.

The use of sentimental or emotional ads, that “tug at the heartstrings” of consumers, has been shown to double profit (31%) compared to rational ads (16%). Being able to tap into your consumers' emotions by selling them an experience that is dependent on them having your product will help create a deeper bond, and set you apart from the competition.

During the holidays especially, many successful ads recreate a sense of community and belonging, by focusing on traditions and shared experiences. This is a great time to take creative risks since your audience is going to be more receptive to sentimental (and even cheesy) content that allows them to look forward to, while also reminiscing about “the good old days.”

#3: Build anticipation

Many of the most successful holiday ads start their marketing efforts EARLY.

One way to keep your product on your shoppers' minds can be having a contest or giveaway leading up to the holiday. You can also build anticipation by creating teaser ads that drip-feed just enough information to keep them engaged and speculating what’s to come.

You can also use intriguing visuals and copy, such as ‘something big is coming this holiday’ or for ‘2 days ONLY - stay tuned for more’ or ‘limited edition holiday drop, subscribe for exclusive access’. The best campaigns know their target audience well and create ads that make them feel like they will be missing out if they don’t engage, sign up or learn more about the campaign.

#4: Get in the holiday spirit

Why do so many people love the holidays? A big part is because everyone has their own traditions and ideas of what the holiday means to them.

Many of the top-performing ads year over year are ones that give people a reason to put up their Christmas lights, bake cookies or buy a product they are convinced is central to their holiday celebrations.

    So what are some ways to get into the holiday spirit?
  • Use holiday imagery. Christmas trees, reindeer, Santa, snowmen - these are all recognizable things that make us think of the holidays. Let your imagination run wild and find creative ways to add these elements to your holiday ads.
  • Use humor. You can make your ad stand out by creating clever ads that your customer will remember—like when Dollar Shave Club’s ad showed who their product WASN’T the perfect gift for.
  • Recipe ideas. Provide a holiday recipe or show your product being used in a popular holiday dish.
  • Use nostalgia. Whether it’s through familiar music or family traditions, most ads appeal to our emotions in some way to market their products to us during the holiday season.
    Gift guides. While simple and straightforward, it’s an easy way to offer your product directly to your customers.
  • Be giving. Remember, nothing beats the feeling of giving, so partnering with a charity or non-profit is a great way to support a good cause while also sharing your brand's values in action.

#5: Get some help from the experts

During the holidays when consumers are in the mood to buy gifts for themselves and all those important to them, it can be a big opportunity for businesses…or a missed one.

In order to set yourself up for a successful holiday season and New Year, working with a strong marketing partner can help you create top-performing ads within your budget, by determining the best platforms and creative strategies for your products.