During the holiday sales season, creative – more than anything else – will shape the success of your campaigns. The stronger your creative strategy, the higher your performance will be. The equation is simple.
But what constitutes a strong creative strategy when it comes to the all-important holiday season?
In this article we’ll get to the bottom of this question.
Below you will find four creative strategies that are especially powerful during the holidays. By combining these strategies with business-as-usual creative best practices, your campaigns will be primed for peak performance.
1. Creative diversification
Here at Shuttlerock, the most common strategy that we’ve been advocating for when speaking to brands leading up to the holiday season is creative diversification. In our experience, the more diversification you have in your holiday creative, the stronger your campaigns will be.
Creative diversification is more important than ever. With signal loss making broad targeting the norm, advertisers need to test a variety of creative concepts to see what’s resonating with whom. The more diverse your creative, the higher the likelihood that your campaigns will be able to connect with the highest intent shoppers – delivering stronger ROAS.
There are three main ways to diversify your holiday creative:
Visuals: Showcase your product in various holiday-themed settings, feature diverse talent, and experiment with different visual techniques.
Messaging: Test a variety of opening hooks, speak to different motivators, highlight a range of offers, and switch-up your CTAs.
Formats: Use a mixture of different formats offered by the platform you’re advertising on. For example, on Meta you can produce creative variations for Reels, Stories, In-Feed, Instant Experience, Collections, and more.
Diversify at scale by remixing existing content
Remixing your existing content is a great way to efficiently produce high volumes of creative diversification. This is especially useful when it comes to video creative – something traditionally difficult to scale.
Remixing keeps costs low and turnaround times fast, supplying you with the diverse creative you need to test, learn, and ultimately optimize your holiday campaigns.
You can remix any type of content from product pack shots and key visuals, through to long-form video and UGC. You’ve already invested in these assets. Why not maximize their value?
2. Creative agility
Being too rigid in your planning is one of the biggest pitfalls you can fall into during the holidays. The fast-paced, changeable nature of this period demands flexibility and the agility to produce new or revised creative at the drop of a hat.
Creative agility is important all year round, but it’s during the holiday sales season that it becomes a real necessity. If you don’t have the ability to quickly adapt, adjust, refine, and iterate your creative during this period; your abilities to drive performance will be restricted.
Here are some of the main ways that you can benefit from creative agility during the holidays:
Avoid creative fatigue: Even though most holiday campaigns happen in short bursts, creative fatigue can still arrive and ruin the party. Creative fatigue occurs when audiences become less likely to engage with an ad because of them seeing the same creative repeatedly. The most effective counter to creative fatigue refresh things with either new or adapted creative. And since time is of the essence, creative agility is key.
Tap into trends: Holiday season trends can’t be predicted in advance. You don’t know when they will appear, what they will be, or how long they will last. But if you’re agile enough to respond with creative that taps into trends when they do pop up, you’ll be rewarded with high engagement.
Refine creative on the fly: During the holidays, chances are there will be points where you want to make quick refinements to your creative. These refinements could be based on performance data or prompted by changes in your sale offering. Regardless of the reason, you don’t want to be delayed by creative. Creative agility ensures that this doesn’t happen.
Unlocking creative agility with CaaS’ fixed costs
One of the biggest barriers to creative agility is pricing. If you pay for creative on a billable hours or unit-cost model, any new work incurs additional cost. Having to take these costs into consideration – or getting budget approval – only slows you down.
At Shuttlerock, our Creative as a Service (CaaS) model operates on fixed-cost pricing plans. This allows you to brief in new or revised creative immediately, without having to worry about extra cost.
3. Omnichannel activation
An omnichannel campaign strategy enables you to connect with holiday shoppers across the various fragmented platforms and touchpoints that influence their purchase decisions.
Activating a strong omnichannel strategy during the holiday season requires you to develop many creative variations that are each optimized for their respective platform or placement. It’s important to avoid matching luggage and make sure that each piece of creative is customized by leaning into platform-native best practices. These range from different ad specs, through to more nuanced storytelling techniques.
It can be tempting to take a shortcut and skip these steps. This will only result in subpar engagement and performance being hampered. By taking the time to develop optimized creative variations, you will give your campaigns the best shot at capitalizing on the huge opportunity that the holiday season presents.
4. The lo-fi approach
It might sound counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to stand out during the holidays is the blend-in.
What I mean by this is that audiences are more likely to engage with your holiday ads if they look less like ads, and more like organic content. We call this the lo-fi approach to creative. Lo-fi creative drives relatability and authenticity through a purposefully unpolished aesthetic.
Key elements of this approach include:
Featuring real people, as opposed to professional actors.
Raw unpolished footage – often shot on a smartphone.
Leaning into conventions and trends from organic content.
In a holiday context, lo-fi creative is a powerful way to engage shoppers as it showcases products in a more genuine setting that’s relevant to their lives.
Tip: Combine UGC & creator content with urgency messaging
An effective way to produce lo-fi holiday season is to combine UGC and creator content with messaging that instills a sense of urgency.
UGC and creator content are a great way to capture engagement as they enable you to showcase genuine and relatable interactions with your product. But since the holiday season is all about conversions, the messaging on top of your visuals should be heavily sales-focused.
Inspire shoppers to take action with urgent copy such as “don’t miss out!”, “limited stock available”, or “order now to get it delivered by Christmas”. If you are promoting a sale such as “50% off”, make sure you communicate this on screen with extra bold text.
Elevate your holiday season creative strategy, with Shuttlerock
If you’re looking for a creative partner to help you thrive throughout the festive season and beyond, Shuttlerock has you covered. Our solution helps you unlock powerful strategies including creative diversification, agility, omnichannel activation, and the lo-fi approach.