The holiday season is undoubtedly an exciting time for everyone. At the same time, it is one of the crucial periods for publishers and many other business owners to meet their annual revenue goals. With the rise in seasonal sales in the eCommerce sector, advertising spending also sees a significant increase.

From November through January, consumers engage in an increased level of actively buying products. This extended time frame provides publishers with a strategic opportunity to optimize the efficacy of their programmatic advertisements, extending their influence well beyond the traditional holiday season.

In 2020, data revealed a 32% increase in CPM rates in November and throughout the holiday season on the Meta platform alone. And this was when the world was stuck in the claws of COVID-19. Year after year, the CPM and eCPM rates increase, making the holiday season the hottest time for publishers to earn more revenue.

These statistics highlight the substantial influence of seasonality on advertising metrics. And because of this, it gets more important than ever for publishers to be more attentive and serious about earning revenue during these times. But for that, there needs to be a strategy, which we’re going to discuss in this blog.

Let’s have a look.

Why is the Holiday Season Important for Publishers?

The holiday season is crucial for publishers for several reasons, primarily driven by changes in consumer behavior, increased online activity, and heightened advertising spending. Therefore, publishers need to take advantage of this time. Here’s why:

Increased Consumer Spending

During the holiday season, there is a significant uptick in consumer spending as people purchase gifts, decorations, and other holiday-related items. This increased spending often translates to higher online traffic and engagement. This benefits the publishers as they can capitalize on the surge in user activity.

Rise in Online Shopping

With the growth of e-commerce, more people turn to online shopping during the holidays.

According to Statista, during the last quarter of 2022, e-commerce accounted for 14.7% of total U.S. retail sales, marking a significant increase from 2021 when e-commerce sales constituted 12.9 percent of total retail sales during the holiday quarter, more than doubling within that year.

Image source – Statista

Publishers can benefit from this increased number of online shopping activities this season, which includes product research, price comparisons, and the actual purchase process.

Boost in Advertiser Spending

Advertisers allocate a more significant portion of their budgets for advertising during the holiday season to take advantage of the increased consumer demand. It results in higher demand for ad space, leading to increased competition and potentially higher ad rates for publishers.

Year-End Budget Utilization

Businesses often aim to utilize their remaining advertising budgets before the end of the holiday season. Publishers can benefit from this as advertisers seek to maximize their spending and achieve their marketing goals before the year concludes.

Increased Social Media Engagement

People are more active on social media during the holiday season, sharing festive content, gift ideas, and holiday experiences. Publishers with a solid social media presence can leverage this increased engagement to drive traffic to their platforms.

Now that you know the significance of the holiday season, let’s take a look at some content strategies that you can prioritize during this period.

Content Strategy for Publishers During Holiday Season

Re-optimize High-Traffic Content

Identify your existing high-traffic content through analytics tools and re-optimize it for the holiday season. Update information, refresh images, and ensure that the content aligns with current trends and search queries related to the holidays. Moreover, you should also consider adding holiday-themed keywords to improve search engine visibility.

Create Holiday Landing Pages

Develop dedicated landing pages for holiday content. It can include a central hub for all your holiday-related articles, gift guides, and promotions. Optimize these pages for search engines and promote them prominently on your site to enhance visibility.

Implement Festive Visuals

Enhance the visual appeal of your website by incorporating festive elements into your design. That could include holiday-themed banners, graphics, and images. Visuals play a significant role in capturing the holiday spirit and attracting user attention.

Incorporate User-Generated Content

Encourage your audience to contribute holiday-themed content, such as photos, stories, or reviews. User-generated content not only adds authenticity but also increases engagement. Consider running holiday-themed contests or giveaways to stimulate user participation.

Highlight Seasonal Promotions and Deals

Showcase seasonal promotions, discounts, and deals prominently on your site. Collaborate with advertisers to feature their special holiday offers. Creating a dedicated section for these promotions can attract users looking for holiday shopping opportunities.

Integrate Social Media

Leverage social media platforms to promote your holiday content. Share snippets, images, and links to your seasonal articles. Encourage social sharing by implementing social media buttons on your content. Consider running social media contests or challenges related to the holiday season.

Create Evergreen Holiday Content

Producing timely content is essential but you should also consider creating evergreen holiday content that can be reused in the future. This content can include general holiday tips, traditions, and timeless advice that remains relevant over time.

Stay abreast of current holiday trends and adjust your content strategy accordingly. Monitor social media, search trends, and industry news to ensure your content remains relevant and resonates with your audience.

Content Ideas for Publishers During Holiday Season

The holiday season is a prime opportunity for publishers to create engaging and relevant content that resonates with their audience’s festive spirit. Here are five content ideas to consider:

Sales Highlights

Objective: Highlighting the best holiday sales and discounts from various retailers.

  • Create a Weekly or Daily Series: Develop a recurring series showcasing the latest and most enticing holiday sales from a variety of industries.
  • Curate Exclusive Deals: Negotiate exclusive discounts or early access for your audience to make your sales roundups even more appealing.
  • Thematic Curation: Group sales by categories such as electronics, fashion, or home decor, catering to diverse interests within your audience.

Gift Guides

Objective: Providing inspiration and recommendations for holiday gifts.

  • Segmented Gift Guides: Tailor gift guides for specific demographics, such as “Gifts for Tech Enthusiasts” or “Perfect Presents for Book Lovers.”
  • Budget-Friendly Options: Create guides featuring affordable gifts catering to a wide range of budgets.
  • Collaborate with Influencers: Partner with influencers or experts to contribute to your gift guides, adding credibility and diverse perspectives.

Product Reviews

Objective: Offering in-depth evaluations of popular holiday products.

  • Top Holiday Picks: Review the hottest products in the market, and share insights on their features, pros, and cons.
  • Video Reviews: Enhance engagement by creating video reviews. This allows your audience to see the products in action.
  • User-Generated Reviews: Encourage your audience to share their experiences with holiday products. This fosters a sense of community and trust.

Best Lists

Objective: Compile lists of the best products, services, or experiences for the holiday season.

  • Top 10 Lists: Create lists such as “Top 10 Must-Have Gadgets for the Holidays” or “Top 5 Destinations for a Festive Getaway.”
  • Localized Recommendations: Tailor lists based on geographic locations, taking into account regional preferences and availability.
  • Themed Best Lists: Develop lists based on specific holiday themes, such as “Best Eco-Friendly Gifts” or “Top Luxury Picks for the Season.”

Product Comparisons

Objective: Assisting consumers in making informed decisions by comparing similar products.

  • Feature Showdowns: Pit two or more popular products against each other, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Budget vs. Premium Comparisons: Contrast budget-friendly options with premium alternatives, catering to different consumer preferences.
  • Interactive Comparison Tools: Develop interactive tools or charts that allow users to compare products based on specific criteria.

So, What Should Be a Publisher’s Strategy for Ads Operations?

Ad Operations (Ad Ops) plays a crucial role for publishers, especially during the holiday season when online activities and ad spending tend to spike.

Therefore, having a good strategy in place for publishers to optimize their ad operations is essential.

To do that, do the following:

Plan Early

Start planning your holiday ad strategy well in advance. Coordinate with advertisers and agencies to understand their promotional plans and ensure that your ad inventory is ready for the increased demand.

Optimize Ad Inventory

Identify high-performing ad spaces and optimize your ad inventory accordingly. Consider implementing responsive ad units to accommodate different devices and screen sizes.

Mobile Optimization

With an increasing number of users shopping on mobile devices, ensure that your ad formats and website are mobile-friendly. Mobile optimization is crucial for maximizing ad revenue during the holiday season.

Implement Header Bidding

Header bidding can help increase competition among advertisers, leading to higher CPMs (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) and better fill rates. Consider implementing header bidding to maximize revenue.

Ad Fraud Prevention

The holiday season attracts more online traffic, but it also brings an increased risk of ad fraud. Implement robust fraud prevention measures to protect your ad inventory and maintain the trust of advertisers.

Data-driven Targeting

Leverage data analytics to understand user behavior and preferences. Use this data to offer more targeted and relevant ad placements, which can lead to higher engagement and better performance for advertisers.

Ad Creative Optimization

Encourage advertisers to create holiday-themed and engaging ad creatives. Festive and visually appealing ads tend to perform well during the holiday season and capture the attention of users.

Ad Placement Exclusivity

Offer exclusive ad placements for premium advertisers during the holiday season. It can create a sense of urgency and exclusivity, encouraging advertisers to invest more in your platform.

Monitor and Analyze in Real-time

Keep a close eye on your ad performance in real time. Use analytics tools to monitor key metrics and make data-driven decisions to optimize ad placements and improve overall performance.

Collaborate with Advertisers

Foster assertive communication and collaboration with your advertisers. Understand their goals and help them achieve success with your platform. It can lead to long-term partnerships and increased ad spending.

Scale Infrastructure

Ensure that your infrastructure can handle the increased traffic and demand during the holiday season. It includes both your website’s capacity and your ad-serving capabilities.

Advertise Your Own Inventory

Consider running promotional campaigns to highlight your ad inventory to potential advertisers. Showcase the benefits of advertising on your platform during the holiday season.

Some Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Publishers

Go For Premium Ad Placements

Embrace exclusivity by offering premium ad placements on your platform. Designate select sections or positions for high-value advertisements, creating a sense of prestige for advertisers. This strategy can drive up competition, leading to increased demand and higher revenue.

Partner with an Ad Tech Partner

Collaborate with advanced Ad Tech partners to enhance the capabilities of your ad operations. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies and tools, you can improve targeting, optimize ad delivery, and provide advertisers with more sophisticated options. It not only attracts premium advertisers but also sets your platform apart in the market.

Eyes on Floor Price and Inventory

Keep a close eye on your floor price and inventory management. Set an optimal floor price to ensure you’re not underselling your ad spaces. Regularly review and adjust inventory to match audience preferences and advertiser demands, maintaining a healthy balance for sustainable revenue growth.

Do Direct Deals

Pursue direct deals with advertisers for customized campaigns. It involves collaborating closely with brands to create tailored ad experiences that align with their specific goals. Direct sales can lead to long-term partnerships, providing advertisers with unique opportunities while securing consistent revenue streams for publishers.

Ad Blocker Monetization

Rather than viewing ad blockers as adversaries, explore ways to monetize this audience. Implement acceptable ad formats or offer ad-free subscriptions. By addressing user concerns about intrusive ads, you can turn ad-block users into a revenue source while fostering a positive user experience.

Don’t Violate Policies

Adhere rigorously to industry standards and policies. Violating regulations can lead to penalties, loss of trust, and potential legal issues. By maintaining a clean and policy-compliant environment, you not only protect your brand reputation but also create a trustworthy space for advertisers.

Again – Optimize the Entire Website

Continuously optimize your entire website, focusing on both user experience and ad performance. Streamline page load times, improve navigation, and enhance overall design. A well-optimized website not only retains users but also provides a better canvas for advertisers, maximizing the impact of their campaigns.

What Ad Formats Perform Well During Holiday Season?

Choosing the proper ad formats is paramount for maximizing revenue and ensuring a positive user experience.

Here are four ad formats that tend to perform exceptionally well during the festive season:

Video Formats

  • Engaging Storytelling: Video ads allow advertisers to tell compelling stories, making them ideal for conveying the holiday spirit. Emotionally resonant videos can capture the attention of users and leave a lasting impression.
  • Product Showcases: Showcase holiday deals and popular products through video content. Demonstrating how a product can be a perfect gift or complement festive occasions can significantly influence purchasing decisions.

Web Interstitials

  • Full-Screen Impact: Web interstitials cover the entire screen, providing a high-impact advertising experience. During the holiday season, when users are actively seeking information and deals, a full-screen ad can grab attention and convey the advertiser’s message effectively.
  • Promotional Offers: Use interstitials to highlight special promotions, discounts, and limited-time offers. The full-screen nature of this format ensures that the promotional message is front and center for maximum visibility.

Scroll to Stick

  • Persistent Visibility: Scroll-to-stick ads are designed to stay visible as users scroll down a page, ensuring continued exposure. This format is particularly effective for promoting ongoing holiday sales or exclusive offers, as the persistent visibility reinforces the promotional message.
  • Product Catalogs: Showcase a range of holiday products in a scroll-to-stick format, allowing users to explore various offerings without navigating away from the content they’re viewing.


  • Interactive Engagement: Interscrollers dynamically reveal content as users scroll, providing an interactive and engaging experience. Use the interscroller ads to unveil elements of a holiday story, display product features, or showcase different facets of a brand’s festive offerings.
  • Countdowns and Timers: Create a sense of urgency by incorporating countdowns or timers in interscroller ads. It can be particularly effective for promoting limited-time holiday sales or encouraging users to take advantage of exclusive deals before they expire.

Final Thoughts

To capitalize on the anticipated increase in website traffic during the holiday season, publishers must carefully coordinate their content and advertising strategies.

A solid content strategy is essential for growing and retaining an audience, while a well-thought-out ad operations plan ensures effective ad placements without detracting from the site’s user experience.

Plan for a unique holiday marketing strategy to increase seasonal sales. When promoting your business this season, explore various options, such as offering personalized experiences and sharing gratitude.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can publishers increase ad ops sales during the holiday season?

Publishers can increase ad ops sales during the holiday season by optimizing ad inventory, offering exclusive holiday placements, collaborating with advertisers for festive promotions, implementing header bidding for higher CPMs, and creating engaging seasonal content to attract more visitors and advertisers.

2. How do publishers use seasons and holidays to increase sales?

Publishers leverage seasons and holidays to increase sales by producing seasonal content, creating holiday-themed landing pages, showcasing festive promotions, collaborating with advertisers on unique campaigns, optimizing content for search engines using holiday keywords, and incorporating lively visuals to enhance user engagement.

3. What marketing strategies should publishers use to boost sales during the holidays?

Publishers can boost sales during the holidays by implementing targeted email campaigns, promoting gift guides, optimizing mobile content for holiday shoppers, utilizing social media for seasonal promotions, collaborating with influencers for holiday content, creating evergreen holiday content, and highlighting exclusive deals and discounts through various ad formats.

4. How much money is spent on advertising during the holiday season?

The amount spent on advertising during the holiday season varies annually and across regions. In the United States, for example, holiday season ad spending can reach tens of billions of dollars. The exact figure is influenced by economic conditions, consumer trends, and the overall health of the advertising industry.


Nidhi Mahajan is a content author with a remarkable talent for ad tech. With a deep understanding of the ad tech industry and a sharp focus on detail, she excels in crafting insightful articles and compelling narratives. Nidhi is dedicated to making the complexities of ad tech more accessible to all through her clear and informative writing.

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