Essential advertising and content insights for the 2021 holiday season

September 22, 2021 | 3 minute read
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Advertising’s most anticipated season is here yet again, and we’re here with insights to help you plan, launch, and manage your campaigns more effectively. Throughout the 2021 holiday season, we’ll be updating this post with the latest data and analysis from Oracle Advertising to help inform decisions around thematic research, planning, and brand affinity. As of September 22, here’s what you’ll find below:

  1. When consumer interest in holiday shopping peaks, and when to launch campaigns
  2. Cookie-free targeting recommendations
  3. Why Christmas segments are critical for holiday campaigns
  4. Tips for targeting content based on sentiment


Oracle developed the following insights by analyzing a 15-billion-page dataset to help you understand the online ecosystem in granular detail so you can plan confidently.

1) When consumer interest in holiday shopping peaks

Key takeaways:

  • Holiday campaigns follow a distinct pattern with initial interest beginning in October, before ramping up in November followed by the peak in December. Pace your campaigns accordingly.
  • In 2020, the pandemic fueled a significant increase in online holiday engagement as families were kept apart and inside. As a result, online engagement peaked on Christmas Day, when it usually drops off because people typically spend more time with family and away from their screens. This may impact holiday campaign pacing in 2021 as well.

2) Cookie-free targeting recommendations

Interested in exploring your options for cookie-free targeting? Target the most relevant, high value, and trending content using custom context segments built around the key online missions happening in that moment, as shown below.

Key takeaways:

  • Gift giving remains the core online mission for consumers during the holiday period. But there are other scalable topics such as decorations, travel, and sports that you can align with to drive engagement and reach.
  • Combine the knowledge of your audience with your brand objectives to find the sweet spot for your campaigns.

3) Why Christmas segments are so critical for holiday campaigns

Throughout the year, brand safety and page engagement rates fluctuate depending on the season. Use the below data, which shows engagement metrics—including page scroll depth and inventory viewability—to inform campaigns and determine the seasons most valuable to your brand and campaigns.

Key takeaways

  • The Christmas holiday is likely to provide engaged audiences visiting high-value pages compared to other key events during the year.
  • The Christmas period remains a clear winner for marketers when it comes to assigning budget allocations.

4) Tips for targeting content based on sentiment

Sentiment analysis helps you keep campaigns aligned with relevant online conversations and trends. The chart below shows the sentiment breakdown for holiday content and how you can serve ads in environments that align best with the sentiment of both your brand and target consumers. 

Key takeaways:

  • Holiday content is typically positive, with stories around charitable acts and families coming together. You can use custom targeting to feature on these pages while avoiding unsafe content.

Plan your holiday campaigns with Oracle Advertising

Oracle Advertising provides contextual targeting and audience solutions to help you navigate the 2021 holiday season with confidence. From standard and custom brand safety technology to dynamic contextual targeting and trusted audience data solutions, Oracle has a solution for you. Contact us today to learn more.


Allan Stormon

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