How To Use Ads To Influence Purchasing Decisions During The Holidays


When it comes to influencing holiday shoppers, ads are money makers for brands. 50% of consumers state that ads impact their purchasing decisions during the holiday shopping season. Probably because more than half of last-minute shoppers not being certain where they want to buy when they start shopping. Let’s take a look at how ads impact holiday purchasing decisions.

Emotional Appeal

From feelings of happiness to wholesomeness, holiday ads are often emotional and influence consumers to make a purchase. The rate of people expressing an interest in buying products is 13% higher for Christmas ads than other ads.

Below are three tips that you can use to create ads that pull heartstrings and capture wallets during the festive season.

Tell a Holiday-Spirited Story
As always, focusing on storytelling rather than selling is vital. Crafting a story that is authentic to your brand and ensures consumers connect with your characters. But this time of year, make your story about the season. Highlight themes such as sharing, togetherness, and community. Use personal and shared experiences to connect with your audience and consider including real people in your campaigns

Be Nostalgic
Take consumers back in time by referencing key moments and cult figures of past decades. Target the right holiday and leverage attention-grabbing visuals, and music, to enhance the sense of nostalgia. Argos Book of Dreams Christmas campaign appealed to the child in consumers and was set to music from the 80s.

Target the Right Emotions
Aim for sentiments that align with your brand, purpose, and audience. Leverage social listening and messaging analysis to understand your customers’ emotional triggers. Oreo understands what emotional triggers influence its audience’s buying behavior. The brand’s humorous First Christmas campaign received praise from viewers, 60% of whom reported increased purchase intent.

Consider using precision programmatic buys to target shoppers that are most likely to be emotionally engaged by your creatives.

Discount Buying Motivation
Promotional ads make consumers excited about deals and encourage impulse buying. 66% of consumers planning to shop during the holidays do so to take advantage of sales and promotions. Since holiday ads will be swimming with offers of discounts, here are some ways you can make your offer stand out.

Focus on Value
Get consumers to choose your brand by highlighting the value of your products. Center your campaign around the diversity, quality, and uniqueness of your offerings. Aldi’s Miracle Ham Campaign touts how consumers can get an exceptional range of products on any budget. Once you understand your customer persona, it’s easier to determine what value should lead your campaign.

Be Inclusive
Millennials are likely to prefer a brand if it demonstrates inclusion and diversity. Use inclusive langue, imagery, and messaging and show diverse families in your campaign. Tesco’s Turkey, Evey Which Way campaign shows how diverse section of British families prepare their turkey in different ways.

Ensure your campaigns recognize the diversity of your customer base and if/how sensitive it is to brands being politically correct.

Go Beyond Price Discounts
Apart from price deductions, offer promotions such as free or fast shipping and other holiday-enhancing gifts to influence purchases. Etsy holiday TV campaign highlights the marketplace’s launch of free shipping on millions of products. Find out what promotional offers appeal to your customer base and clearly highlight them in your campaigns. Communicate urgency and FOMO with terms such as “for 24 hours only,” “limited quantities,” and “ends tonight!

Celebrating Generosity and Kindness

With consumers becoming more socially conscious and interested in making the world a better place, ads help holiday shoppers decide which brands to shop with. 63% of consumers prefer to purchase holiday gifts from brands that support specific social causes. Since cause campaigns can be tricky, here’s how to include social good in your ads the right way.

Highlight Your Values
62% of holiday buying decisions are influenced by a business’s ethical values. Use value-based messaging in your campaigns and stick to values that align with your brand. Environmental sustainability, inclusion and diversity, and education are a few values that consumers prefer. Take note of changing perceptions among your target audience.

Give Back
Link seasonal generosity with holiday spending, by empowering consumers to give back. You can center your campaign around a matching donation, a one-for-one giving model, or give back some cash. Pepsi’s Gift it Forward campaign gives consumers and fans cash for Christmas to enable them to spread some holiday cheer.

When developing a give-back campaign, allow consumers to decide if they want to give back to a friend, their favorite charity, or themselves. Encourage audience involvement through social media by giving your campaign a designated hashtag and consider using influencers to help spread the word about your campaign.

Showing The Holidays As It Is

Rather than traditional-specific campaigns, these days holiday ads take a real-life approach and show how modern festive season looks like. Realism driven ads are appealing and authentic to consumers because they are relatable.

Here are ways you can put some realism into your holiday ad.

Show The Chaos
The holidays aren’t always picture perfect. Focus your campaign on how you provide solutions to holiday problems that people actually have. This could be home delivery, curbside pickup, or free overnight shipping. Make your campaign relatable by adding some humor. Walgreens’ #TrueHolidayStory campaign, focuses on the beauty and humor in memorably imperfect moments.

Recognize Self-gifters
Take the ‘treat yourself’ spirit a bit further with self-gifting. Launch a holiday campaign for customers looking to treat themselves. Revolve your message on the stress of the holiday season and how consumers deserve some self-care and healthy indulgence. Create campaigns with emphasis on “gifting yourself” (perhaps with a future discount on birthday month), or a “buy-one-get-one-free” to encourage self-gifters to purchase something for themselves.

Focus on What Matters
Use surveys to find out what matters most to your customers during the holidays and create a campaign around it. Chick-fil-A found out that time was the most important thing to consumers and created a holiday campaign focused on the gift of time. Bring your campaign to life with experiential holiday activations or pop up stores.

The holidays, and any other “special time of year” periods, for that matter, are a fertile ground to influence your customers. Focus on holidays that your audience observes and select a few holidays you can own. Run an integrated campaign to increase your return on investment and ensure all team members know what is going live and when. And, above all, have some happy holidays!

This article was originally published by our friends at PostFunnel.

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Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. Starting in the early 2000s, Steve achieved eBay Power Seller status which propelled him to become a founding partner of, a contact lens and eyewear retailer. Four years later through a successful exit from that startup, he embarked on his next journey into digital strategy for direct-to-consumer brands.

Currently, Steve is a Senior Merchant Success Manager at Shopify, where he helps brands to identify, navigate and accelerate growth online and in-store.

To maintain his competitive edge, Steve also hosts the top-rated twice-weekly podcast eCommerce Fastlane. He interviews Shopify Partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, that assist Shopify-powered brands to improve efficiencies, profitably grow revenue and to build lifetime customer loyalty.

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