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Alli Insights: Optimizing Holiday Retail Advertising

3 MINUTE READ | October 20, 2021

Alli Insights: Optimizing Holiday Retail Advertising

This holiday season is already predicted to be like none before, as shoppers continue to prioritize online spending over brick-and-mortar shopping, due in large part to the ongoing pandemic. To help retailers navigate a holiday season that seems highly unpredictable, we’ve combed through thousands of advertising data points from our portfolio of retail brands, leveraging our Alli marketing intelligence platform to bring you three ways to optimize your holiday marketing in 2021.

One key to retail advertising success will be the enablement of programmatic advertising through marketing intelligence platforms. Not only have audiences grown to expect more personalized ads, but programmatic advertising also allows for better management of ads in response to inventory and other logistical issues that are anticipated to emerge in the coming weeks. Setting parameters based on product inventory or shipping availability ensures brands aren’t leaving shoppers disappointed to find out the product in the ad they just clicked on is unavailable or out of stock.

The most successful retailers are using data-driven advertising to ensure creative assets and messaging resonate with shoppers. So, how do you nail engaging creative?



Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the name of the game this season as they are useful for automated ad creation and procurement. Getting ads in front of the right shoppers at the right time could make or break holiday advertising efforts. Audience segmentation will be especially important in personalized ad targeting.

While successful audience segmentation affects return on advertising spend the most, it’s still possible to predict which creative elements will perform best.

In analyzing thousands of display ads placed by PMG’s proprietary marketing intelligence tool, Alli, we discovered several trends and insights that can enhance brands’ holiday creative for optimum performance:

  • Over the summer, top performing palettes were soft and cool, featuring colors like teal and lilac, or neutral colors like beige. During the holiday season, expect warm colors to perform best. Not only will the weather be cooler, making us crave warmth, but the holiday season exudes feelings of coziness. Ads reflecting that desired vibe will outperform ads that do not.

  • Ads without text as part of the image perform better than ads littered with text. If text is important to your ad, such as calling out free shipping or a sale, try to keep the text to three words or less, and leave the rest for the ad caption.

  • Feature single products in your ads. Multiple products can lead to confusion about what the ad is actually selling. Contrasting backgrounds work well when showcasing products, but make sure they aren’t too busy.

  • While ads without models outperformed ads with models, several top ads did feature one or more models, particularly in the case of beauty ads. When models were included in an ad, diverse models performed best.

  • Include your logo in your image if your brand has credibility or high desirability.

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This holiday season will set the stage for online advertising and shopping for years to come. The most successful brands will be able to make adjustments to their ad placements quickly and will use data-driven decision-making to optimize their ads in near real-time. A solid marketing intelligence and ad management platform will be an important competitive advantage in the retail market for 2021, and will likely become a necessity for the future.


Posted by Tonia Thompson