Be Smart About Your Programmatic Campaign This Holiday Season

"Picture of snowman on an iPad, Google Holiday Marketing"

The holidays are approaching— is your marketing strategy ready? As businesses assemble their campaigns to drive holiday gifting sales, marketers can’t afford to miss the boat on getting their brand in front of current and prospective customers effectively. So if you haven’t hopped aboard the programmatic bandwagon, now would be a great time to start. According to eMarketer’s forecast for 2018, programmatic digital display ad spending will climb to $39.46 billion— that’s up 21% from 2017. Eighty percent of mobile display ads are purchased programmatically; it’s more than just a solution, it’s a marketing imperative. Read on for our tips on optimizing your programmatic campaign for success.

It’s not just about timing— quality matters.

When it comes to purchasing ad inventory before the holiday season, most might say that it’s all about timing. However, the data doesn’t lie— we haven’t seen a significant uptick in pricing or conversion rates based on what time an ad was fired. What does that mean? Ultimately, you can’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Anyone in the marketing game knows that the holidays are a crucial time for ads, which means that the market is a veritable flood of hyper-targeted advertising. While it’s best to consider strategic partnerships with agencies that can help you bid smarter, you should also make sure you’re evaluating the actual quality of your messaging to be sure that you are not only getting in front of a customer, you’re actually connecting with them as well.

Create quality ad copy to boost conversions.


  • Analyze deals of your competitors to create competitive promotion packages.
  • Write eye-catching ad copy that is most relevant to your target audience.
  • Make your deal directly linking to the product you want to sell, saving time for the customer.
  • Have a strong call-to-action; make it time-sensitive!
  • Conduct A/B testing for your landing pages to see which layouts work better.


  • Rely on discounts on a per-item basis. Try creating bundle deals with additional product included for the same price make for a more attractive offer.
  • Underestimate free shipping. Simply put, free shipping deals work. Your competitors will likely offer it, and you should consider it, too.
  • Leave your holiday promotion deal on auto-pilot. Monitor engagement, shift priorities as necessary, and reward customers who made transactions.
  • Neglect your landing pages. Cluttered landing pages that don’t correspond with the CTA of your advertisement can drop your quality score on Google.
  • Measure your success based on web traffic; conversions are king.

Don’t put all your eggs in the paid search and social basket.

Saturating the internet with display banner ads can be a turn-off to customers, and considering the rise of ad blockers, it’s best not to depend solely on digital and social advertising for your marketing strategy. Programmatic television, on the other hand, is a small but burgeoning industry— and a valuable investment to keep in mind. There is less video inventory, which accounts for its higher price tag and competition— but, this year alone saw approximately 168 million Americans using Smart TV devices like Roku, making it a top contender for your ad spending. TV is just one option; from email, to radio, to in-store promotions, there’s no shortage of ways to creatively think outside the world of traditional advertising. Ultimately, diversifying your strategy toward a more cross-platform approach is going to have the strongest impact.

Be creative, be strategic.

It bears repeating— November and December are prime-time months for marketers looking to entice customers with holiday shopping deals. The market will be saturated, so it is more important than ever to prioritize the quality of your brand message and ensure that it is being served to customers appropriately. We hope these tips will give you a bit more insight on how to tackle the holiday season for your brand, but we also know that you can’t always do it alone. Need help? Katana brings valuable expertise in creating campaigns that deliver high-impact results on a smaller budget, as well as superior technology that allows you to get your brand in front of the right audience in the right place, at the right time. Talk to us! We can set up an introductory call to learn more about how we can help you boost your holiday marketing efforts this year.

Want to learn more about holiday campaign optimization? Tune into our Twitter Live session on Wednesday, October 25th at 11amPST to get more expert tips!