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The holiday season might be all about festive good cheer and culinary overindulgence, but it’s also an incredibly high-spending time for populations around the world. A typical UK household splashes £500 more in December than any other month, while in the States, the average shopper parted with an eye-watering $967.13 during last year’s Black Friday sales alone. So how can your business capitalize on this propensity to spend? And how can you ensure your product is front of mind for prospects when they begin to feel frivolous? We’ve put together some creative best practices to answer exactly these questions — and help you boost conversions during one of the busiest, most profitable times of the year.

1. Stick to Consistent Imagery and Language

Make sure all your holiday creative and festive language are consistent across every channel. This will help your brand stay recognizable while your prospects are shopping for holiday gifts. Additionally, if the design and messaging of your ads aren’t reflected on your product landing page, you risk increasing your bounce rate and losing hard-earned sales. Why? People connect to brands that look and feel authentic: mixed messaging undermines that sense of legitimacy and makes for a confusing user journey.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Moving With Video

In a world where static, flat media has traditionally reigned supreme, don’t be afraid to play around with rich media (namely video, which does especially well with increasingly affluent millennial audiences). Video is so powerful because it catches our attention, conveys messages in an engaging way, and is ideal for on-the-go smartphone users embarking upon the discovery phase of the purchasing journey. Importantly, it allows marketers to extend their campaigns to high-performing social channels like Facebook and Instagram to boost conversions.

3. Highlight Discounts and Seasonal Sales

One of the best ways to increase your online advertising engagement and conversions is to highlight product discounts. Beyond bringing in new shoppers, discounts can show your repeat customers that you appreciate their business. Additionally, it’s been reported that over 60% of shoppers would cancel an order if not offered free shipping at checkout. This certainly doesn’t need to be every purchase. But just the mention of free shipping within ads can help convince drive conversions.

4. Use Strong, Horizontal Imagery if Possible

While it may sound surprising, horizontal imagery can help boost conversion rates for online ads. This is because the majority of ad formats (especially on social media channels) employ horizontal formatting. We don’t want you to completely ignore vertical imagery. But if that’s all you have, stitch together a few vertical images to create a horizontal look.

5. Keep Product Feeds Updated to Maximize Dynamic Ad Performance Copy

Dynamic ads offer marketers the ability to show multiple products in a single ad and can be pivotal to the success of e-commerce marketing campaigns. In fact, these ads can see up to a 2.5x increase in click-through rates (CTRs) and an average cost per acquisition (CPA) 50% lower than regular static ads, according to our own data. To optimize the performance of these ads, keep your product feeds updated with the ads you’re actually selling.

6. A/B Testing Is the Key to Increasing Your Conversion Rates

A/B test different sets of ads in order to understand which ones are resonating with your target audience. Beyond just improving the performance of your campaigns, beginning your A/B testing early will ensure that you understand which ads are performing the best throughout the weeks leading up to the new year, when you might not have a full staff optimizing campaign performance on a daily basis.

7. Use Short, Eye-Catching Copy Copy

The majority of your copy should be as short as possible. Only the important information should make the cut. Additionally, all titles should be less than 50 characters—think skimmable. And, as mentioned before, it’s important that your ad copy is eye-catching. Your target audience will scroll past a ton of ads this holiday season. Grab their attention with your promotional text featured within or below your ad imagery. Highlight deals and common problems, or even feature a witty statement.

8. Your CTAs Are Your Biggest Lifeline

A strong call to action (CTA) is your lifeline to getting a prospect to engage with your online ads. When considering how to format your CTA, there are a few best practices to follow. Some of the most important are that you’ll want your CTA to have obvious placement and feature a contrasting color to your ad imagery. Make your CTAs large enough to read, but not so large they’re distracting. Finally, A/B test what works for your different product offerings. What works for one thing may not necessarily work for the other.

9. Look to Previous Years for What Works Best for You

If you’re unsure where to kick off the creation of your holiday ads, as many of us are, the best thing you can do is look to previous years’ performances for inspiration. Comb through the ads you served in 2016 or 2017 to see which copy and which imagery influenced the most conversions on your site. While this data doesn’t always ring true from year to year, it often helps marketers come up with fresh ideas for new campaigns.

We know the holiday season can be incredibly stressful for all e-commerce marketers. But AdRoll is here to help you springboard into fresh ideas for ad imagery and copy. To get started, update your AdRoll campaigns or speak with your Account Manager about your holiday plans. Need an account? Sign up for one here!