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Tackling the holiday rush with Creative Automation: Five approaches to maximize your holiday ad campaigns

With a significantly higher ad volume for your marketing and design teams, managing the holiday rush can be overwhelming. Our article aims to help you stay on top of your marketing campaigns without sacrificing quality and increasing your overhead.

Whether you are a digital creative lead or a global marketing manager, the holiday season always comes with its challenges. With an increase in demand, it’s easy to fall behind and not make the most of your ad campaigns. 

Everyone is doing their holiday shopping. Everyone is looking for that perfect gift. Everyone is waiting for good deals. By scaling up your ad campaigns and making the most of your creative assets, you can maximise your business during the holiday rush. 

What does this year’s holiday season look like?

This holiday shopping season poses different challenges than before. Due to recent economic circumstances, like record-breaking global inflation in some G20 countries, purchasing gifts, products or services looks a little different this year.  

However, according to the latest surveys, consumers are still feeling the holiday spirit and want to have a positive shopping experience. A survey by PwC reveals that despite being afraid of rising cost, 74% of surveyed consumers said they plan to spend the same or more this holiday shopping season. 

When it comes to the US market, the forecast expects holiday retail sales during November and December to grow between 6% and 8% to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion.  

While online shopping is as popular as ever, and has continued to increase over the years, in-store shopping is holding its own, as consumers hunt for holiday promotions and seasonal offers amidst the holiday spirit of physical stores. In fact, according to this study, consumers indicated that they would do 57% of their shopping online; 43% in stores.  

Further in consumer behaviour

How, when, and why people shop has also changed in the last year. While consumers still seek holiday themed gifts, they want them on sale. Therefore, implementing holiday sales or offering free shipping in your stores is a must.  

Furthermore, while the holiday season certainly includes holidays like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas, research shows that shoppers also notice brands that celebrate more niche holidays. Whether it’s Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Festivus, broadening your target audience and creating a personal connection through these niche holidays is the way to go.  

It’s clear that holiday shoppers aren’t going to slow down, and neither should you. But increasing your overhead and risking burnout by trying to catch up with yourself throughout the season isn’t the answer. There are ways in which you can increase ad volume without sacrificing the quality of your creative assets and increasing overhead.  

Five ways to holiday-proof your campaigns through Creative Automation

Here are five ways in which Creative Automation can help you stay focused and thrive throughout the holiday season: 

  1. Leverage the power of premium creatives 
  2. Create meaningful connections with your audience through personalization
  3. Run A/B and multivariate testing
  4. Promote seasonal products
  5. Scale up and adapt your creatives fast

What is the best approach for marketing campaigns during the holiday season?
> Running a successful holiday marketing campaign is about having an empathetic approach and understanding the specific group of people that make up your target audience.  

> There are two ways in which you can segment your audience and implement personalization to your ad campaigns:
1. Geolocation
2. Localization

> Making aspects of your creative assets dynamic can help you use the best parts of your old campaigns in your new one.

Using the following approaches, marketers can better position themselves and their brands to navigate through yet another uncertain holiday season. 

1. Leverage the power of premium creatives

Creativity is inherently human but cannot be relied on entirely for large-scale ad campaigns. It’s possible to stretch yourself too thin over the festive season by having to complete the repetitive tasks of creating variations for your creative assets 

Instead, you can spend your time more efficiently by focusing your energy on one master template which you can then spin into multiple variations. 

“The creative is king to ultimately stand out, bring the message across, and connect with the consumer.”

John van Pijkeren, Product Manager at Nike (ex-Marketing Technology Lead at Heineken)

Marketers are increasingly aware of the pitfalls of aggressive retargeting campaigns. Running a successful holiday marketing campaign is about having an empathetic approach and understanding the specific group of people that make up your target audience.  

In this case, personalised videos and dynamic banners make a difference to your audience. They help you avoid ad fatigue, and by harnessing the power of your master creative assets, you can also drive your audience to perform a specific action. For example, including the right product above a specific Call to Action (CTA) can make all the difference.  

Even with enough time to prepare, and with your energy and time refocused towards creating your master creative template, things can still catch up to you. One way to help you through these times is to look into your archives and see what you or your team have prepared for previous holiday ad campaigns.  

By reusing your best-performing creative assets, your brand can harness maximum flexibility and avoid one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns. 

2. Create meaningful connections with your audience through personalization

Reaching customers at the right place and at the right time is essential for the success of your holiday campaigns. Creating personalised, data-driven videos to engage with your audience can help you increase the performance of paid ad campaigns.  

By producing creative assets that have dynamic components like text, audio, images, languages, you can ensure that they can be personalised to the maximum effect, creating a successful marketing campaign for the right audience. 

This is what the founder of Joinative shared on successful ad campaigns: 

“A successful campaign is a blend of an appealing idea, a good placement, and creatives that represent the message in a way that makes the right user want to click.”

Jonas Olausson, Founder at Joinative

There are two ways in which you can segment your audience and implement personalization to your ad campaigns:
1. Geolocation 
2. Localization

Geolocation

By identifying the geographic location of a user or member of your target audience, you can make sure that they see the ads that fit their needs and context more accurately. 

For example, the global brand Heineken decided to roll out ads in the United States that offer the user a free beer at their local bar. This is an excellent way of connecting to customers as it is in line with the current branding of Heineken, which is focused on the community that surrounds the product.  

Geolocation campaign - Heineken
(Source: Heineken)

Localization

You can go beyond using geolocation and implement some localisation processes in your ad campaigns. Why just rely on the location of your target audience when you can create an even more personalised experience?  

It’s critically important to focus on unique selling points that resonate with specific, local audiences.  

For example, you can create ads in multiple languages for the specific markets you are targeting. In addition, you can also adjust other dynamic aspects of your creative ads  

With Creative Automation, you now can automatically create different versions of your ad.  

Two brilliant examples of localization from two global brands, Coca-Cola, and Heineken, showcase how they use the momentum behind local events to promote their products and create a personalised experience for their customers. This way, these brands can make the flag or the team logo on the bottles dynamic and change them depending on the market they are targeting.  

Examples of localization campaigns of Coca Cola and Heineken
Coca-Cola ad featuring the logos of local US teams.  Heineken ad featuring world flags. 

3. Run A/B and multivariate tests

To maximise your engagement with your audience and achieve high click-through rates, make sure to test your campaigns via A/B or multivariate testing.  

Ask yourself the question: What elements of my creatives work the best?  

It’s important to play to your strengths as an advertiser. Think of it this way. As a marketer, you might find hiking to be the best way to clear your head and get some inspiration. But your colleague might think the opposite. The same goes for advertising. One-size-fits-all is no longer acceptable as a form of strategy. This is why you need to invest some of your energy into testing and tracking performance. 

Creative Automation can help you spend less time on creating digital ads and help you find the versions of your creative assets that work the best for you. Testing ensures that your business will have the right creative and messaging for your specific target audience.  

Make sure you test at a small scale, limiting your concepts or iteration to between three and five. By doing market research and knowing your audience, you can create relevant creatives for testing.  

“Storyteq is ideal for us to do A/B testing. We can change a lot of dynamic elements in the templates and experiment with what works best for our target audiences such as copy, color usage, models etc. Using the platform makes this very cost-efficient because we can easily create these banners ourselves.”

Marc Poelsma, Customer Journey Expert Online Marketing at Allianz

Here is a simplified visual of what it might look like to create a dynamic personalised ad in our Creative Automation platform.  

How to create dynamic personalized ads within Storyteq's Creative Automation platform.

4. Promote seasonal products

The holiday season encompasses multiple holidays, all of which require a different holiday marketing strategy. For example, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are usually focused on electronics, but Christmas is usually more about seasonal, event-specific products.  

By doing A/B or multivariate testing, you can find out what products to promote best, for each season. By making several elements of your creatives dynamic, you are no longer limited to promoting one product to your target audience. Instead, you can easily switch between the right product for the right segment of your audience in the right season. 

Nevertheless, seasonal content can help you fight ad fatigue and drive up your engagement. By understanding the expectations of your audience, you can aim to deliver creatives that meet those expectations.  

By featuring seasonal products in your holiday marketing campaigns, you can avoid static creatives and increase click-through-rates to your sites. For example, research has shown that a seasonal New Year’s ad had a Click Through Rate (CTR) of 1.10% compared to a non-seasonal ad with 0.62%.  

5. Scale up and adapt your creatives fast

Creative Automation lets you focus on the things that matter. By reducing the tedious work of creating creative iterations manually, you can focus and re-centre your energy towards brainpower, testing, scalability, and most importantly, creativity.  

This makes scaling your marketing campaigns during the already stressful holiday season easy. You can relieve the pressure from your design teams and make sure that you have met the increased demand without increasing work hours or overhead.  

Using a Creative Automation platform like Storyteq can help you meet the needs of your creative and marketing teams in-house or support the creative teams you outsource to. By cutting down on cost and time spent on tedious tasks, you can streamline your workflows and achieve a faster go-to-market strategy.  

With our Creative Automation technology, you can create ads at scale while maintaining brand consistency across platforms and reducing risk. 

How can Creative Automation help in these busy seasons?
> Creative Automation can help you spend less time on creating digital ads and help you find the versions of your creatives that work the best for you.

> By making several elements of your creatives dynamic, you are no longer limited to promoting one product to your target audience.

>By reducing the tedious work of creating creative iterations manually, you can focus and re-centre your energy towards brainpower, testing, scalability, and most importantly, creativity.

Through Creative Automation, companies are 4x more likely to see improvements in their asset post-production process. Download the guide.

Takeaway

As a marketer, your goal is to create a cohesive brand image that brings together design, creativity, and data. When you are faced with the holiday rush, it can become overwhelming to stay consistent and creative resulting in undesirable quality trade-offs that end diluting your brand. 

The solutions we have outlined in this article can help you overcome the challenge of the holidays and make you stay on track to maintain a consistent brand image so you can create any kind of promotion, across any channel, for multiple products in multiple markets during any season.  

If you want to hear more from us about how Storyteq can help you create, scale and deliver multiple creative assets in minutes, book a demo or connect with us through our LinkedIn page. 

Nov 17, 2022
Robert Winkel
Robert Winkel
Graphics
Johanna Kaszti
MarCom Executive at Storyteq
As the MarCom Executive, Johanna works alongside our marketing team to write stories for our various platforms. Outside of work, she is passionate about the outdoors and animals.

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