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Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace
The   Bazaar   Voice
Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace
Unwrapping the secrets of holiday content planning

The following article is based on a webinar hosted by Abi Awojobi (Brand Partnerships Director, Bazaarvoice) and Courtney Keats (Creator Marketing Team Lead, Bazaarvoice) on how to maximize holiday ROI with a full-funnel content strategy. You can watch the webinar here.

The holiday season is the biggest sales period of the year. You know it, we know it, everyone knows it. And that means a lot of marketing noise during the season.

Cutting through the chatter will rely on a smart, authentic content strategy for most brands. That means understanding your consumers’ behaviors, knowing your goals, and forging partnerships with creators who can help. In this article, we’ll look at some tips to help you navigate the festive frenzy and ensure your brand shines.

Chapters

  • Strategize to your audience: making smart timing and platform choices
  • Activating the entire funnel for the holiday season
  • A sample timeline for holiday success
  • How Bazaarvoice can help

Strategize with your audience

When it comes to holiday content planning, there’s no magic formula that works for every brand. Everything depends on what consumers are doing.

Get the timing right

You might think now is too early to start planning — but your audience doesn’t. While over half of holiday shoppers (55%) begin in October or earlier, more than a third (37%) kick off in September, and almost a quarter (23%) start as early as August! Even more shocking, a quarter (26%) said it’s never too early. The time to start planning is now.

Where Are They Searching?

Most shoppers intentionally search for holiday gifts — 42% look for specific products, and 25% search for items from particular brands or retailers. But increasingly, where they search is broadening to include social media platforms.

Younger generations, particularly Gen Z and Millennials, are the most likely to shop via social media, with platforms like TikTok becoming de facto search engines for products and gift ideas. The trend starts to fall off for Gen X and Boomers, and while your social media strategy should be geared toward younger generations, it should still be able to accommodate spontaneous shopping from the older crowd.

Activating the entire funnel for the holiday season

There’s never a more important time to have your sales funnel working hard for you. And a key piece of this is to incorporate creators and content (both UGC and social content) at every stage.

Awareness

Your goal is to grow and maintain awareness of your products while driving brand equity. Social media is built for product discovery, with almost 60% of shoppers preferring it over other awareness-driving platforms during the holidays.

Recommendations:

  • Don’t rely on branded and paid media content alone — supplement reach with creator content
  • Drive bursts of content and seed reviews by activating everyday shoppers through sampling and/or social challenges
  • Ensure you have the right content mix: 37% of shoppers consider video the most effective content format to capture their attention

Consideration

During the holiday rush, purchasing decisions can be spur-of-the-moment, so it’s crucial to quickly build buyers’ confidence. Creators play a vital role here, offering built-in audiences and trust. In fact, 35% of Gen Z shoppers seek out creator content on social media during the holidays.

Recommendations:

  • Drive consideration through themes content around holiday moments, celebrations, and seasonality: 43% of shoppers find gift ideas and trends content most appealing, followed by holiday traditions (35%)
  • Connect your brand with key consumer needs: think about all the various meanings of the holidays for people (even the not-so-cheery ones) and deliver content that fits
  • Repurpose visual assets but refine the messaging for a specific audience

Conversion

The final step is turning your interested shopper into a buyer. Two essential elements are social proof and purchase incentives. Deals are particularly attractive, with 67% of Gen Z shoppers more likely to buy when offered a discount code.

Recommendations:

  • Use content to reach consumers at key decision points to drive purchases. Reviews and product images are key
  • Optimize your digital shelf to maintain conversion throughout the holiday season
  • When you think about content mix, think about authenticity. Bad reviews are just as useful as good reviews, and a mix of negative and positive is proven to drive conversion more than all positive (which seems suspicious). 40% of shoppers look for this
  • Bonus tip: the best way to build up your reviews? Product sampling. Let shoppers get a taste of what your brand does best, and encourage them to leave a review

A sample timeline for holiday success

As we said above, the time to start planning your holiday content strategy is now. So we’ve put together a timeline to help you get started.

  • July: Outline your UGC strategy and set clear objectives and metrics. Gather your list of creators and tools
  • August: Allocate your budget and start building relationships with creators
  • September: Finalize campaign details, brief creators, and establish processes for check-ins and reviews
  • October: Launch early tactics and content, monitor performance, and engage with customers to create UGC
  • November: Feed social content to other channels to drive conversion, leveraging key shopping moments like Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • December: Ensure continuous content flow to capture last-minute shoppers

How Bazaarvoice can help

Understanding your audience, engaging the right creators, and strategically planning your content for the entire funnel can set up a truly special holiday season that gives your brand every reason to celebrate.

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