Best TikTok Holiday Strategies for Brands

The holiday season notoriously comes faster than we expect. As soon as the summer season is over, whether you’re a shopper or a retailer, it’s time you get ready for the holiday shopping frenzy. Surveys have found that shoppers start preparing for the holiday season earlier each year, often as early as October. That means that brands need to be ready by that time in order to maximize this potential. TikTok is an extraordinary platform for driving holiday sales, which is why this time around we’re sharing with you some of the best TikTok holiday strategies. 

tiktok holiday

From discovery to purchase through the For You Page 

TikTok has become the go-to platform for holiday shopping list research and planning. The entertaining and, more importantly, edutaining nature of the platform is ideal for finding inspiration for gifts and shopping locations. The For You Page (FYP) represents an enormous pool of possibilities when it comes to holiday inspiration. In fact, one in two TikTok users will use this page for holiday shopping content, according to TikTok Marketing Science US Holiday Purchasing Research by Material. 

What this means is that brands need to reach as many users as possible through their For You pages, making sure, of course, to reach the ones that align the best with the brand’s target audience. 

Now, there’s no single bullet-proof way for brands to make sure they’ll appear on their target audiences’ For You pages, but several things can certainly help, and hashtags are among the most important ones. 

This season, try the most popular holiday TikTok hashtags: #Holiday, #HolidayModeActivated, #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, #BlackFriday and #GiftIdeas. 

The content you post with these hashtags has to be aligned with its scope, which means it should educate and entertain while keeping the holiday spirit with appropriate visuals (which should correspond to the specific holiday you’re targeting). 

Prepare your holiday marketing funnel 

From Awareness through Consideration to Conversion, the marketing funnel needs to be aligned with the marketing objectives during the holiday season. These objectives may differ from the regular, considering the specific nature of the season. 

  1. In the Awareness stage, the ad formats that perform best are Top View, Top Feed Ad and In-Feed Ad. The auction objectives are reach and frequency. In this stage, you’re still taking the TikTok-first approach. You still want to keep the viewers within the app, while you build brand recognition and awareness, establishing the brand as part of the community. 

The content should be engaging and should encourage the viewers to participate. The best-performing content is created around humor, viral sounds and trends. Also, at this stage, native content works best.  

  1. In the Consideration stage, Top View, Top Feed Ad and In-Feed Ad are still the preferred formats. The auction objectives should be set to video views, engagement and traffic. 

As for the content, after you’ve got the audience to listen and pay attention (in the Awareness stage), it’s time to entertain and educate – edutain. Types of content that work best in this stage are tips and tricks, life hacks and product reviews. This is the time when brands are providing value to the community, by teaching them something or entertaining them. 

  1. Finally, it’s time for the Conversion. This bottom-of-the-funnel stage is all about inspiring action to leave TikTok, which is not an easy task since the app is so addictive and engaging. To do so, brands need to create a sense of urgency, and the holiday season is perhaps the ideal moment to do so. Also, if you set up a TikTok Shop account, brands can convert customers within the app.

In addition to creating FOMO, brands should also consider sales and promotions, and create “Where/How to buy?” content. At this stage, it’s best to focus on In-Feed Ads, and the auction objective is web conversions. 

Boost the holiday spirit with creatives

There should be no difference in creative approach throughout the funnel during the holiday season. In line with the holiday spirit, the creatives should be funny, cheerful, and positive, and should both entertain and edu-tain. 

If you’re stuck with inspiration or need to create visuals quickly, using AI tools for suggestions, tips and material is always a good idea. 

Viral sounds and holiday music are encouraged. The ads should be native, and, as usual, pairing with influencers and niche creators is a plus (the TikTok Creator Marketplace is your go-to place to find partnerships). Ads that encourage viewers to participate, as well as life hacks, always perform well during the holiday season. 

Align the tools with the funnel stages

TikTok has an amazing toolset of products for boosting reach, traffic and conversions through ads and native content. Most are geared towards eCommerce and should be used to the max during the pre-holiday and holiday seasons. 

For instance, display cards and stickers are excellent for the Awareness stage of the funnel. Display cards can be used in other stages too, since they are interactive and can be used to convey a range of messages. They can also be used to take visitors to your landing page or let the audience know about your holiday deals and specials. 

For audiences in the Consideration stage, brands can use countdowns for special offers or holiday sales. Countdowns are available as ready-made interactive add-ons on TikTok. Instant Pages are another great tool at this stage. These are the pages that load very quickly and within the app, and can be used to display videos, images, product carousels, etc. 

Instant Pages work well for the Conversion stage too, along with gift code stickers. At this point, the audience is about to purchase so you want to make the final gentle push towards that objective, and you want to make it as streamlined as possible. 

Video shopping ads, which are shoppable in-app ads connected to your catalog, should be on even before the holiday season starts and pushed right through the final days. Pre-season, these ads help the audience learn about your brand, and during the season they serve for prospecting and retargeting. Other TikTok Shop features are also worth exploring, like Live Shopping and Product Showcases. 

Optimize for Search Ads

TikTok Search Ads represent an enormous potential for expanding the reach and boosting brand awareness. During the holiday season, brands need to make sure their campaigns are expanded to include specific queries in the search bar. Optimizing for this feature means trying to appear among the first results a user sees when searching for a term on TikTok. These results are labeled as “Sponsored,” similar to Google search ads. 

This is an excellent tool for targeting users who already know what they want to purchase for holidays. More and more people use the TikTok search feature like they use Google, and this is especially true during the holiday season since audiences are aware a lot of brands will have a shopping functionality set up within the app. 

TikTok Holiday Tips and Best Practices

Here are some things brands can do to leverage the potential of the holiday season on TikTok and to maximize the effect of their campaigns: 

1. Start early

For brands, agencies and advertisers, preparations for the holidays should start as early as August. Late summer is the right time for connecting with partners or agencies (for brands that don’t have an in-house team), and for planning the holiday strategy. If you’re already late for this stage, don’t worry, start whenever you can by reaching out to TikTok marketing experts. 

September and October should serve for learning about your audience, trending content and creators, and for doing some testing. 

Bear in mind that holiday shopping starts mid-October/early November, so by that time you want to have your strategy in place. 

2. Prepare a variety of creatives

Holiday creatives can’t be tested mid-campaign, so brands should have more than one type of creative content in place. When the campaigns start, the strategy can be tweaked by using ad creatives that have been shown to perform better. 

3. Cultivate an “always on” approach

Although holiday season may sound like the right time to conduct burst marketing with hard sales and ads delivered in a specific period, for a fixed amount of time, the “always on” approach or drip marketing is actually better for maximizing efficiency with audiences primed to shop. This means marketing that’s running 24/7/365. The drip marketing approach is the safest way to build awareness and retention, so when the time comes for holiday shopping, your TikTok audience will already know who to turn to. 

4. Go full-on with effects and challenges

Holidays are the right time to spice up your campaigns with the creative tools available in the app. Branded effects are ideal for the season – they are primed for discovery and suitable for all ad formats. TikTok users love filters and effects so when you offer them your own branded effects in line with the holiday spirit, they can become valuable brand ambassadors. 

Brands should also seek to embrace holiday-themed challenges. Each year a new challenge goes viral for Halloween, Christmas and New Year, so keep a keen eye on trends and jump on the bandwagon to maximize the viral potential. 

Follow the trends not just for hashtags and challenges, but for creative content that has the potential for virality. For instance, many TikTokers enjoy creating anti-unboxing content around holidays. Brands can use this trend to showcase top product features and increase brand awareness.

5. Team up with TikTok marketing experts

To truly maximize the potential of the holiday shopping season on TikTok, it’s best to find a reliable and experienced partner to help you create a streamlined and efficient holiday strategy. Our GrowMojo team of TikTok marketing experts will be more than happy to help so reach out today and let’s create a campaign to remember!

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