Holiday Ads for Social Media: 10 Strategies to Consider

Social media marketing is always changing, but one thing remains consistent: it can determine whether your online store thrives or fails, especially during the holiday season when everyone is shopping. We’re sharing our top 10 tactics for ensuring that your social media holiday ad campaigns reach the correct consumers and persuade them to add your items to their shopping list in order to help you get a leg up on the competition.


We’ve worked with dozens of retailers over the last decade. Along the way, we’ve uncovered a few key strategies to make your holiday social media marketing stick.

1. Use seasonal ad creative.

This advice may seem obvious, but it’s the basis for successful holiday advertising on social media: Use Christmas-themed text, photographs, and video advertisements to engage with your consumers and encourage them to buy.

Seasonal touches, such as advertising certain items as Christmas or Hanukkah presents immediately within your message, can be simple and obvious.

(Bonus: It also enhances our brand awareness by vibing with our year-round social strategy.)

Examine your brand’s social media holiday advertising to see which current product pictures and videos may be used.

2. Emphasize holiday sales and promotions.

A great way to make your ads more seasonal is by incorporating holiday sales and promotions.

If you haven’t done so already, talk to your brand’s promotional team to get an idea of what kind of sales will run during the holidays.Then, create a content calendar for your different social media platforms around that schedule.

Your customers already delaying their purchases until they receive holiday sales and discounts from you. Utilize your social ads to increase the urgency and encourage them to make that purchase now instead of later.

Make sure to emphasize your unique discounts and discount codes in your ad design, ad text, or both today’s consumers are trained to seek for specific savings.

3. Get your first-party data in order.

First-party data isn’t as simple to harvest from Facebook users these days thanks to Apple’s iOS updates. Because this consumer data is a gold mine, you must decide how and when you’ll gather and use it now that you have it.

That way, you’ll have it ready to go when the upcoming holiday shopping season hits its full stride in a few months.

Consider collecting first-party data through:

Email list growth and acquisition

  • Progressive profiling form fills
  • “Save cart” prompts
  • “Create account” prompts

4. Strategize your segmentation.

Your first-party data is only as good as the strategy you have for using it. Develop a plan for targeting your holiday sales towards your VIP purchasers, regular customers, or Christmas newcomers.

If you’re undecided, take a look at your past shopping data and run some experiments in the next few months. With enough time, you can develop a target audience that is ready to buy before winter arrives.

5. Watch your competition.

It’s always a good idea to monitor your competitors, but it becomes even more important during the holidays. See what kind of ads they’re running and when their campaigns start. This will help you create timeless holiday content.

Last but not least, you don’t want to be caught flat-footed as your competitors swoop in on your early bird consumers (see tip #10).

6. Evaluate and set realistic targets.

The 2021 shopping season is unpredictable. With the recent pandemic and concerns about inflation, it’s difficult to say how shoppers will behave this fall and winter. When setting your Facebook marketing campaign KPIs, keep this in mind.

In addition to metrics like revenue and ROAS, we recommend looking at micro conversions and micro-KPIs, like:

  • Link click-through rate
  • Link cost per click
  • Add to cart ratio

These can be just as informative metrics as purchases and give you an even deeper understanding of your customers’ behavior.

Start tracking these early on, and they will help you optimize your holiday Facebook ads strategy throughout the season.

7. Look at historical holiday shopping data.

Although this year’s shopping trends may defer from years past, there are bound to be some similarities. To get an idea of what these might be, take a look at your CRM data on holiday shoppers from previous years.

Remember, a prospective buyer looks different during the holidays than the rest of the year. Use the demographic data from previous buyers to build a seed audience and remarket to them for repeat purchases. You can also create a lookalike audience from the same data for new customer acquisition during this period.

8. Don’t forget about Pinterest.

Pinterest is often overlooked — but, as the darling of women looking for gift ideas, it’s a great opportunity for your eCommerce brand to get your holiday advertising in front of interested customers.

Remember that customers on Pinterest are looking for gift-giving inspiration, so tailor your creative with that in mind. Run different ad campaigns utilizing interests and keywords during the holidays, and watch their performance closely to further optimize them in the months to come.

9. Stretch your budget to beat the competition.

The holiday season is a competitive one. If you want your ads to be shown in increasingly crowded ad auctions, you’ll need to up your budget.

Take another look at your historical data on Facebook, Instagram, and other target platforms before setting your budget. How much were your ad costs in the past? What were your results like from that spend? Were you leaving money (or impressions) on the table?

Based on this data, work with your digital marketing team to identify the best budget for this holiday season. Don’t forget to include some room to adjust your spend depending on your campaign performance.

10. Start advertising early — like, right now.

Finally, we recommend building and running your Instagram and Facebook ad campaigns as early as you can swing them.

The holiday shopping season starts earlier each year, and your eCommerce business shouldn’t be caught unaware. Just as there will always be the customer who waits until the last minute to buy their gifts, there will also be the customer who crosses everything off their list before Halloween.

Split the difference with your social media advertising, and stretch your calendar (and budget) as long as you can during the holiday season.


The holiday shopping season is the most crucial period of the year for eCommerce businesses — which means it’s certainly not the time to slack on your paid social media advertising.

Fortunately, with a little forethought and the tips above, you can set your brand up for success with months of planning to spare.

If you’re not sure which kind of Instagram or Facebook holiday advertising is best for your business — or you just want an experienced social media marketer running your holiday marketing strategy — our team is always here to help.

Request a free proposal from our strategists today!

Contact PMC

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At PMC we believe that creativity is not just a hat that can be put on and taken off. We live it. We work hard, we play hard and we have fun!

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