Best Practices

The Holidays are Coming! 5 Performance Strategies to Prepare

Summer is ending, which can only mean … The holiday season is nearly here.

It’s hard to believe that July is the time to start prepping for the end of the year, but the truth is–ads that perform will be the ones that have been planned and tested. 

In fact, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), each year about 40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween. Overall, holiday sales in November and December have averaged about 19 percent of annual retail sales over the last five years, but the figure can be higher for some retailers. 

For performance marketers, that means that now is the time to plan and implement digital strategies that will maximize revenue. The team at StitcherAds have put together 5 key trends we think will help maximize your planning.

Use tools and rules to work for you 

With an influx of users and advertisers during key holiday periods, ad review periods can be longer than usual and prohibit delivery. This can be especially problematic when you want to keep your ad copy or creative timely, especially during Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Luckily, we have a work around that will allow you to bypass placing ads back in review. Use StitcherAds to automatically update your Dynamic Ads’ Copy or Creative at a set schedule. If you’re a client and want to understand this new feature, reach out to your Success Team manager.

Additionally, you can utilize rules to notify you about issues with ad delivery, increase budget if ROAS is above the allowable threshold, and update daily budgets overnight. Check out this blog if you would like to learn more about rules.

Lastly, you’ll want to leverage a reporting suite that will give you accurate reporting without delays caused by the iOS privacy updates. StitcherAds unlocks the ability to tie performance data from additional analytic sources to help fill attribution gaps. 

Step into the past to learn for the future

The first step for implementing a winning strategy is to look back on last year’s data. Review last year’s data to identify key periods and trending products from previous holiday seasons. You’ll want to recognize  the best timing for ramping up your ads, when ads peaked, and when demand fell off. You’ll also want to study which DPA elements offer the most ROAS. While trends shift over time, understanding which overlays performed the best will help to set a benchmark. 

You’ll want to understand which products will likely see better performance over the holiday season. For example, you may see a spike in sweaters or sentimental gifts that you don’t see throughout the rest of the year. It’s important to note time frames to serve ads at the right points throughout the season. Use your findings to evaluate how you will bid on your campaigns.

Lastly, if we have learned anything from the past year’s pandemic, it’s important to over-communicate with customers. Last year, shipping issues made delivery times exponentially greater than in previous years. Make sure to plan ahead for communications about store closings, shipping times, curbside pick-up, and more.

Optimize for online and in-store sales.

As the pandemic has ended, more and more shoppers are shifting their behaviors to include both online and instore. In fact across Gen Z and millennials, 42% say they will return to pre-COVID habits including both online and offline shopping.

One way for digital marketers to account for in-store activity is to leverage Digital Circular and Catalog technology. This tool takes items in your feed, dynamically inserts current and local deals and specials, and incorporates branding and logos. Plus it’s all scalable and can highlight product availability and prices across different store locations. (PS. Check out our video about Digital Circulars for Retail).

When creating omnichannel digital marketing material, we recommend that clients include:

  • Interesting and compelling copy that uses overlay elements for each region or store.
  • a map card highlighting the nearest store location, hours, and distance from the user; 
  • Links or info on where shoppers can get their products (online, in-store, buy online pick up in-store).

Personalize content for each viewer

Use dynamic ads to personalize how each viewer sees them. For example, if you know your customer is looking for size 9 women’s jeans, you can use that data to serve them ads that include your own jeans. Better yet, show viewers items that could complement those jeans. In fact, 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. 

Leading retailers are using technology to help build out their advertising around their individual customers. What’s more, if you don’t offer personalized ads, they may go looking elsewhere. 47% of consumers check Amazon if the brand they’re shopping with doesn’t provide product suggestions that are relevant.

Go cross-publisher!

Facebook and Instagram, are reliable channels, especially with older generations. Yet, advertisers are missing out if they don’t consider the full array of publisher ads. 

Snapchat and TikTok

Each publisher has it’s advantages. For example, Snapchat and TikTok are capturing younger audiences by the day. Snapchat is the most popular social media network among teenagers, with Instagram and TikTok following closely. If you’re wanting to target younger gift buyers, TikTok and Snapchat are the places to go. Plus, new advancements in technology are allowing retailers to place enhanced product ads into video, helping them to look more authentic on the platform.


Pinterest, on the other hand, is a great place to incorporate dynamic ads that feature holiday-specific elements. Shoppers love how easy it is to navigate to different areas of Pinterest. Pinterest ads can help shoppers discover new content or hone in specific stores. Now is the time to be building out those Halloween, Thanksgiving, and other holiday layouts and callouts.

The time to start testing and prepping is now.

As many families have the opportunity to be rejoined after a rough year last year, and more pressure to have the perfect line of presents ready for the taking, now is the time to get your ads ready for the holidays. Performance marketers will want to start analyzing last year’s results, testing their DPA elements (make sure to check out our blogs on testing), and building their creativity for the season ahead. Plus an effective strategy will include cross-channel marketing. If you have questions about how to best go about planning for the holiday season, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Are you looking to maintain or even grow your performance during this tumultuous time? We are offering a free 1:1 performance consultation with our Director Media Strategy, Bryan Cano. Book your spot here.