October 9, 2018

Leveraging Native Ads to Drive Engagements During the Holidays

With the holidays just around the corner and Q4 in full swing, it's more important than ever for brands to diversify their media strategy with native formats. Whether your campaign is focused on holiday recipes, shopping guides, or travel, here are some tips for using native to achieve your marketing objectives during the holidays.

Research and Insights

We conducted studies with Qualtrics and Placed to find the most impactful opportunities for advertisers during the holidays:

  • Online Recipes are the biggest driver for deciding what food to make during the holidays, with 58% of people saying they typically discover new recipes from food blogs or websites (study)
  • “Gift guides” and “gift ideas” drive the highest engagement for product messaging
  • Smartphones are the primary shopping device used during the holidays, with 70% of people using their phones to make purchase decisions (study)
  • In-Feed native ads drive 29% higher purchase intent than standard banners
  • Native ads drive in-store traffic–people exposed to native ads are 21% more likely to visit a brand's physical retail location (study)
  • Native display and native outstream video ads have higher influence on holiday purchase decisions than pre-roll or standard outstream
  • Native is proven effective up and down the funnel from raising awareness to driving conversions, even increasing search results

To summarize, native display and native outstream video ads have higher influence on holiday purchase decisions and in-store visits than pre-roll or standard outstream. Native is effective throughout the funnel for every marketing objective from raising awareness to increasing search results to driving conversions.

Creative Best Practices


Use longer headlines that tell a story, rather than just stating a product name or a short description. The headline should be a mini preview of the content on the other side of the click, enticing users to engage.

Recommended headline length is 50-90 characters, max 90 (including spaces). Description recommendation is 50-140 characters, max 200 (including spaces).


Use images that involve people or an interesting scene, rather than static images of products.

Avoid images that include text since the message can easily get cut off. If you must use an image with text, make sure the text is centered as much as possible.

Recommended image is 4:3 ratio and 1000x750px, but the minimum image requirement in MediaMath is 300x250, and can be .png or .jpg.


These activation strategies will help programmatic buyers make sure they reach the right audience at the right time:

  • For Thanksgiving campaigns, target PMPs with top food and beverage sites including Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Forkly.
  • For the holiday gift campaigns, target PMPs on top lifestyle, fashion, technology, and entertainment sites such as Ziff Davis, HGTV, and Elite Daily. Don’t forget to heavy up just before Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
  • The Sharethrough Exchange is integrated with most major DSPs including The Trade Desk, MediaMath, DV360 (fka DBM), AppNexus, Adobe. Reach out to your Sharethrough rep for custom and priority deals to secure first-look.