Oracle Data Cloud Blog

10 Simple hacks for launching attention-grabbing holiday campaigns

Allan Stormon
Content Marketing Manager

Our digital world is more cluttered than ever before and there isn’t a more important time for marketers to break through the noise than the holiday season. Capturing consumer attention is paramount each November through January.

But once you have consumer attention, there are still challenges to overcome: did the intended audience see your ad? Was it in a brand-safe, suitable environment? Did the consumer take an intended action?

Overwhelmed by these questions? Don’t be—we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 tips and tricks to help you hack the holidays and deliver more effective campaigns this year.

Holiday hack 1: Protect yourself from the unpredictable holiday news cycle with always-on brand safety

For the most part, the holiday season is dominated by happiness, festive cheer, and general optimism. The mostly positive news cycle is a fertile ground for marketers hoping to engage audiences, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons for brands to be wary as they launch their programmatic campaigns.

Consider the shopping frenzy in the days leading up to the big holidays. In the past, we’ve seen stories emerge detailing instances of unruly shoppers, product recalls, travel delays, and other unsavory holiday news. The holiday season is just as unpredictable as any other time of year, and it’s essential to protect your brand from the negative news cycle that’s inevitably going to emerge.

Deploy an always-on, brand-safety solution for your brand to see you through the duration of the season and avoid any unwelcome press or brand associations.

Holiday hack 2: Stay aligned with trending content

As we move from one holiday event to the next during this season, the nature of digital content engagement changes and so should your strategy. These trends can be unpredictable. However, marketers can now leverage contextual intelligence solutions that help track trends and reach previously undiscovered consumers well matched with your brand.

An effective solution should do the work for you, dynamically matching what content and context is best suited for the brand to deliver the appropriate messaging.

Holiday hack 3: Pinpoint the best environments for your brand to increase the likelihood of your ads converting

Brand safety is about protecting your brand identity from negative context, but identifying and capitalizing on positive context is equally important. Brands should customize their contextual strategies so their matchless characteristics are served and even capitalize on unique media placements.

For example, If you are trying to sell a flashlight, think of how much more impactful your message would be if it was against context for camping, kids sleepovers or a black out versus everyday news.  Brands should look for solutions that allow them to customize keywords that map to their objective and message for maximum consumer relevancy and engagement.

Image source: eMarketer

Holiday hack 4: Grab attention instantly and keep it

According to Microsoft, the human attention span dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015! Ensure your creative has strong stopping power and the attention of your audience within the first 1-3 seconds.

Don’t be cute. Be direct and get to the point quickly. You have mere seconds to grab the attention of your audience so make your message count by using zoom functions, graphics, and framing to make your message and creative stand out. Use effective storytelling techniques to retain attention throughout the duration of the ad so your audience stays engaged until the end.

Holiday hack 5: Course correct campaigns in real time

You want to celebrate campaign success during the holidays and not keep adding to your wish list for next year. Inflight campaign measurement techniques will tell you if you’ve captured attention and kept it.

Digital marketers now have access to measurement solutions that deliver insights in real time.  This enables marketers to pivot creative mid-campaign if the messaging is not resonating with audiences or driving them to take intended actions.

Holiday hack 6: Ensure real people are seeing your ad

During the holiday season, and the rest of the year, there’s a scrooge trying to steal marketing budgets: invalid traffic or IVT.  Both malicious (i.e., bot fraud) and non-malicious, invalid traffic simply means that an advertising impression wasn’t delivered to an actual person in the intended method or at all. The good news is that marketers now have access to data and tools that improves IVT detection levels within campaigns.

Holiday hack 7: Prioritize your audience not the media platform

Tighter budgets, shifting responsibilities, and heightened industry regulation have set the scene for companies to re-center their digital strategies around what matters most: the customer. And even though data tells us that planning your campaign strategy around your audience first makes campaigns more effective, many marketers still buy for the platform their campaigns will be deployed on. 

This approach risks missing your audience completely. The most important part of your campaign is the people on the other end of it, so keep them at the core of your initiatives.

Holiday hack 8: Deploy a ‘smart’ audience strategy to capture the most valuable attention

Smart audience strategies rely on relevance and reach. Proceed from a place of using basic data, such as ‘women over the age of 45’ to ‘women, aged 45-54, who are interested in home décor'.

Armed with this data, marketers can build more effective campaigns that match creative to consumer behavior with greater precision to drive conversions. Reaching higher-value audiences with more relevant messaging minimizes wasted impressions.

Holiday hack 9: Tap into audiences that demonstrate intent to buy

That is the ultimate goal of an in-market campaign is reaching audiences actively shopping for your product to drive sales. Maximizing scale via reach and frequency is one approach. Simple scale strategies, however, are inherently wasteful in digital advertising. Using online behavioral signals of intent such as online holiday party planning searches or reading tech gift reviews can identify those that are likely further down the funnel. Employ solutions to help you optimize your audience strategy toward potential buyers.

Holiday hack 10: Test audience strategies for better performance

Assumptions are the enemy of data-driven campaigns and that’s why continuous testing is critical to success. The initial audiences we use in campaigns are not always the most effective, so we must iteratively test performance throughout the campaign. As the campaign unfolds, you gain a better understanding of who the best audience is and how we need to adapt your strategy to reach the right person to deliver ROI.


Each year, the period between November and February provides both opportunities and pitfalls for marketers. Focusing on one tactic alone is no longer enough to drive successful business outcomes during the most important time of the year for many industries. Marketers must focus on strengthening every area of their campaign strategy to make an impact on consumers.  Oracle Data Cloud can help you find your optimal audience, in the right environment and drive them to the right action to win this holiday season. Contact your Client Partner or The Data Hotline to get started.

About Allan Stormon

Allan is the Content Marketing Manager at Oracle Data Cloud. He leads the content strategy and global content marketing program, producing content that helps marketers create and launch more effective campaigns with data.


Image: Shutterstock

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Comments ( 1 )
  • Peter Louison Thursday, September 6, 2018
    Great piece Allan!
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