Holiday Video Ads: Ideas, Tips, & Templates

Lucas Killcoyne


It's been a year filled with unexpected events and life changing events. However you're feeling about December being just around the corner, small business owners will do best to recognize that the time is now for holiday advertising.

So while the holidays might look a bit different this year, there is still plenty of opportunity to make your presence felt on social media, and spread the word about any holiday sales you may be having.

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Per our recent survey, 56% of consumers say a brand’s video on social media has influenced a holiday purchase decision.

Targeted ads are a great way to make sure your videos are hitting their mark and reaching the people most likely to make a purchase with you. We’ve put together some ideas for ads that you can run to reach potential customers this holiday season.

Calendar Plan for Holiday Ads

Most of the holiday video ad ideas here don’t pertain to a specific day on the calendar, but we’ve included suggested start dates on the calendar for each one. Feel free to use our placeholder dates, but they’re not written in stone. If different dates make more sense for your business, perhaps relating to the start date of a sale or new offering, that’s entirely up to you.

Whatever you decide, add them to your calendar so they don’t slip through the cracks during this busy time of year.

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Holiday Video Ad Ideas

Ready to get down to business? We’ve put together ideas for a well-rounded slate of holiday ads, designed to appeal to a variety of potential customers. Choose from among them, create all four, or divide your ad spend based on how your social audience is responding to them.

If this is your first foray into the world of Facebook/Instagram advertising, or you’re looking for a refresher, check out our blog post on the subject, which has the full rundown on all things targeting with Facebook Ads Manager.

Holiday Promo

There’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple. Your customers have shopping to do, and you have the gifts they need. If you’re running a sale, consider this your chance to share it with a larger audience. Even if you won’t be offering any seasonal prices, your promo video is an excellent opportunity to highlight some of your most holiday-appropriate gift ideas.

You’ll want to make sure you’re including any relevant information about your sale or gift ideas, including what’s being offered, what sort of discount they can expect, how long the sale runs, and where they can take advantage of the offer (online, in-store, etc.).

It just so happens that we have a Holiday Promotion template that you can take advantage of for this video. Use our text as a guide to your message and upload any photography or video clips that you have on hand as well. Then fill in any blanks by browsing our stock library, which is chock-full of festive images.

Gift Guide

For your second ad, a gift guide that helps shoppers understand what you have to offer—and who might enjoy those offerings—can be a great way to attract viewer attention and encourage a visit to your website or store.

As you plan out your video, consider what the customer is getting out of watching your video. Holiday shopping is hard! How is your video making it easier? A great gift guide should be a win-win for you and your customer. Take the guesswork out of their decision-making process and earn yourself a sale.

We used our Product Catalog template to create this gift guide example video:

PRO TIP: Not all CTAs (calls to action) are created equal. The easier you can make it for your viewers to act, the better. Move potential customers one step closer toward making a purchase by creating an accompanying gift guide on your website and prompting them to click through to the guide upon completion of the video. You’ve convinced them that you have what they need, now make sure they can finalize their purchase easily.

You can also reach new audiences by advertising your business on Instagram Stories. Try our iOS app or use the vertical 9:16 Cyber Monday template to create IG story video ads from your desktop computer.

Ad Targeting Gift-Givers

One of the best parts of the holiday season is that your audience for potential customers grows to include anyone purchasing a gift for one of your usual patrons. That said, these sorts of customers will often need a bit more explanation of what you have to offer, and why your offerings would be a perfect gift for the person on their list.

Our Bite-sized Product Intro template can work well for videos like this. As you create your video, make clear early on what you’re offering and who the product is for. Your target audience for this ad may not automatically think of your business when they’re searching for gifts, so it’s important that you quickly establish what you have to offer them and convince them to stick around.

PRO TIP: This applies across the board here, but if one or more of your ads is performing above and beyond the rest, consider moving your ad budget around to increase that ad’s reach.

Free Shipping Day

Free Shipping Day falls on December 14, so whether you want to run an all out blitz on the day-of or start your ads earlier, this is a great opportunity to secure a few bulk orders. Ultimately, it’s entirely up to you which products you choose to highlight, but we recommend leaning on your crowd-favorite offerings here to get them in the proverbial door.

We created this example using our Holiday Event Invitation template, but the Holiday Promotion that we mentioned above could also do the trick.

PRO TIP: Align your website with your social content. Especially if you’re calling on your customers to click through from a social post to an online store, keeping your branding and wording consistent will help reassure customers that they’ve reached the right place to attend to their holiday needs.

Holiday Ad Video Tips

We’ve got a few last tips and best practices for you before you get started on your holiday ads and, as always, if you have any questions, let us know in the comments.

  • Targeting is key. Are you a brick and mortar store? Target locally! If you’re an online business, focus on target customer interests and demographics. You can also use target people who have been to your website or like your page.
  • Use Ads Manager. It’s tempting to hit that boost button, but if you want to achieve the sort of targeting we just mentioned, we recommend checking out the blog post we linked to earlier (here it is again) to learn how to reach the people most willing and able to make a purchase.
  • Open with a strong visual. Your video will not be the only one that your customer sees while scrolling through social. Chances are it won’t even be the only holiday promotional video. A special offer won’t always be enough to hook a customer, and a memorable visual can go a long way. Check out this blog post for holiday color palette ideas that extend beyond the red and green.
  • Give your customers enough time to act. Ideally, your viewers are watching your ad and immediately taking some sort of action to make a purchase, but that’s not always how it works. Encourage quick action, but make sure you’re building in enough time for viewers to finalize their holiday shopping plans. That’s also why we recommend targeting the same audience throughout your ads, to give you multiple chances to make an impact with your audience and stay on their minds while they make their lists.
  • Double down on successful ads. If an ad is performing especially well, strongly consider moving around your budget to get it seen by more people. For more on how to determine how well your ad is performing, check out this blog post.
  • Keep a close eye on your ads. You ads should land in front of more people than an organic post would, and you need to be ready to answer any questions from customers. Your attention sends the message that you care about your customer and that can be enough to earn sales.

This is it! The holiday season is here and it’s up to you to seize the moment. That said, we’ve got your back. Click here for the rest of our holiday video marketing schedule, including guides like this one, and tackle the holidays head on. For feedback on your videos from fellow video creators and tips from our team, join our Facebook group, The Animoto Social Video Marketing Community. Happy video making!