Best Practices For Native Ad Creatives This Holiday Season Best Practices For Native Ad Creatives This Holiday Season


Picture of Adelina Karpenkova
Adelina Karpenkova


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The holiday season is always a crazy race for marketers and advertisers. The buyer intent reaches the highest levels in the second half of Q4, and you’ll hardly find a brand ignoring the most lucrative time of the year.

With the competition for ad placements growing in direct proportion to consumer demand, you should do your best to create ads that get noticed by audiences bombarded with holiday offers. Moreover, while expecting higher CPCs during these days, you want to create ads that get clicked by people most likely to convert.

So how do you create native ads that cut through the noise and help you reach your goals this holiday season? Let’s figure it out together.

The Benefits of Advertising in the Holiday Season

Native advertising is often overlooked by advertisers preparing holiday ad campaigns. But if you add it to your holiday advertising mix, it will pay off.

The average CPC on major ad networks, like Facebook or Google is doubling during the holiday season. The risk of wasting the entire advertising budget before campaigns start delivering results is too high even for marketing pros.

With native advertising, you’re in a safer position. Being a more affordable alternative to Facebook ads, it has also proved to deliver even more significant results.

For those who have ever experienced Facebook account bans, native advertising will become a safer channel where they can run their holiday campaigns without fear of waking up to learn all your ads are blocked.

Apart from lower costs and way fewer problems with advertising accounts, native advertising has one more compelling advantage. Native ads are displayed within the content on media sources, like online magazines and news aggregators. While your audience got used to skipping sponsored posts on Instagram, they haven’t become so proficient in detecting native ad placements yet.

Of course, there are disclosures below every native ad, like ‘sponsored post’ or ‘paid content,’ but these catch your eye only after you pay attention to the ad content – which is already a win for an advertiser.

This all proves the effectiveness of the format in the holiday season, when advertising clutter is at the peak, and more creative ways of reaching your target audiences are needed.

10 Steps to creating awesome native ads for holidays

With all the benefits of native advertising in mind, let’s move on to the best practices that allow you to build holiday native ads that work.

Holiday Native Ad Checklist

1. Focus on your target audience

Before you pick assets for your holiday ads and come up with catchy titles, you need to specify audience segments that you’re going to reach with every campaign. The entire strategy will depend on this step.

Correlation between target audience and ad messaging

Having different ad sets for gift buyers (people that aren’t in your target audiences for the rest of the year), site visitors, and repeat customers will help you increase your CTRs while keeping conversion rates at the desired level.

2. Test multiple creatives within every campaign

Every advertising campaign is all about testing. Native advertising is no exception.

To realize your holiday campaigns’ full potential, we recommend that you launch at least 12-20 ads per campaign and exclude the least effective ones as campaigns are running. For this, you’ll need to combine about 3-4 images and 4-6 headlines in your creatives.

Here are variables you might want to test with your ads:

  • Headlines with numbers and without them.
  • Adding and removing pricing.
  • Emotional appeals.
  • The use of text within ad thumbnails.
  • Different CTAs.

Give it from one to a few days – the time needed to collect enough data to evaluate the effectiveness of this or another ad will depend on your campaign daily budget – and start pausing the worst-performing ads.

When there are 2-3 best-performing ads left, you can add more ads that include components that have already proved to work well.

As you don’t have much time for testing and need to scale fast, this approach will help you to make the most out of your holiday campaigns.

3. Include special offers

Exclusive deals are great motivators for buyers throughout the year, and especially during the holiday shopping season.

Offer deals tailored to audiences in different stages of the customer journey. You can share a 5% discount coupon for any product on your website with new customers or offer 25% off to people who have been buying from you for a while.

To make sure your promotions catch the attention of users on a publisher’s website, you can try to feature the maximum discount right on the ad image.

4. Themed images will help

Even though Christmas decorations are literally everywhere in November and December, ads that incorporate themed designs have higher chances to get noticed.

Using images where your product is placed near the Christmas tree (if relevant) or depicting people unpacking their gifts can work pretty well within holiday advertisements.

But if you choose between a stock image and a not-so-polished photo of your product, pick the latter. First of all, stock imagery is dull. Secondly, real photos will help you set the right expectations for ad clickers.

5. Keep it simple

The simpler ad design is, the better. You want to make relevant people click on your ads, not to freak them out.

When a person looks at your native ad, they shouldn’t spend a single second figuring out what your holiday offer is. Minimize the amount of text and fancy elements on your ad images to eliminate distractions.

6. Be descriptive

This point follows on from the previous one. In order for your ad content to be clear enough for your prospects, you should also make sure the ad headlines include all the key information about the offer.

Dos & Don'ts of themed advertising

Headlines like ‘THIS device will change your life’ might work well for driving traffic. If you aim at conversion growth, you’ll find it way more effective to avoid giving false promises and being more descriptive.

7. Use videos

If you want your native ad campaigns to stand out, video ads will be the best solution. By running in-feed video ads that autoplay automatically without sound, you’ll provide more context and ensure people that click through are highly interested in your offering.

Here are just a few ideas for your holiday native video ads:

  • Share your accomplishments. Feature the number of happy clients you had this year, reviews that you received, and other information that might catch an eye and generate interest in your brand.
  • Feature stories of customers using your products or reviewing your services. Show the real people who love interacting with your brand.
  • Create fast guides or DYI tips. What are the best, not obvious ways to use your product? Can your product be incorporated into holiday decorations or treats? How-to videos will undoubtedly grab your prospects’ attention.
  • Make a simple video with texts and images. This is an easy way to build a highly engaging ad without spending too much time on the video creation process.

8. Have a look at other players

Need inspiration before you start working on your holiday creatives? There are tons of holiday ad examples available on the web.

To find ads in the specific category or even analyze your competitors’ advertising strategy, go with Anstrex Native. With it, you can filter ads by keywords, URLs, ad platforms, and other criteria.

Examples of holiday themed ads found on Anstrex

9. Create and submit your ads in advance

Submitting your campaigns at the last minute isn’t a good idea during the holiday season.

Approval process might take longer than outside of the season as a lot of advertisers will decide to launch new campaigns simultaneously. Moreover, you don’t want to waste precious days fixing issues that have caused your ads to be rejected.

Most native ad platforms allow you to specify the campaign start date, which means you can schedule everything in advance and stay cool.

10. Be ready to adjust on the go

Remember you have an incredibly short span of time to launch, analyze, optimize, analyze again, and scale your holiday ads. Keeping on top of your holiday campaign performance is crucial.

We recommend that you monitor your campaigns daily to pause underperforming ads promptly and focus on the most effective ones. If you have experience working with the APIs of platforms that you run your campaigns on, you can even create bots that will be notifying you when something goes wrong.

Wrapping Up

Now it’s your turn to put these practices into life. When the holidays are in full swing, there will be too many things for you to work on. Make sure all your native ad creatives are created and submitted before the holiday rush.

About the Author

Adelina is a content marketer at Joinative, a native advertising agency and SaaS. She is responsible for building marketing partnerships, establishing content collaborations, and developing actionable resources for advertisers.

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