Strong Social Media Holiday Campaigns from Publishers

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[Originally published on the Dash Hudson blog.]

Not all companies are trying to push sales during the month of December, but that shouldn’t make developing social media campaigns for holiday marketing any less of a priority for these businesses.

Below we’re exploring how 6 top publishers are creating social media content for on-brand Christmas campaign activations that engage their audience.

We’ve already established that the holiday momentum is an extremely big deal for retailers. But it’s not an exclusive social media campaign opportunity for sales-oriented businesses, au contraire. It’s a really important time of year for all types of companies to build a festive content plan, because the general population is primed to be marketed to.

There’s no better period to be broadcasting you brand’s holiday perspective with a social campaign, no matter your industry or niche. Audiences are excited about engaging with the yuletide theme leading up to the new year, and not partaking is a missed opportunity to build on that momentum. It’s the perfect time to be capturing the attention (and hearts!) of people with an apropos branded content strategy that contributes to your agenda.

There are so many factors to account for when devising a social marketing strategy around the holidays. For publishers, it’s generally two-fold: delivering stories that readers will connect with, and earning extra revenue from ad partners through promotional posts. The season represents a great occasion for these players to become indispensable to Instagram audiences by providing useful, thematic editorial content.

With that in mind, we decided to take a dive into how some notable magazines are partaking in the Noël narrative.

Here’s what we found. 🎄🎊🎅

Veranda Magazine

Veranda magazine is your window into beautiful interiors. The social team curates a fabulous Instagram account full of dreamy homescapes and anything relating to the topic. The mag’s followers love its social content, as its Instagram account rings in at a high 1.13% average engagement rate.

Since Thanksgiving, Veranda has been consistently pumping out festive images that contribute to the magazine’s brand, and its audience can’t get enough. We gathered all of Veranda’s holiday posts so far to analyze their performance, and the group of them is outperforming regular content with an average of 1.75%, as seen below.

You can see the bundle of them here, in order of engagement.

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These are Veranda’s top 3 performing holiday posts so far:

We went the extra step to surface content that would guarantee Veranda’s continued Intagram holiday success by searching through creative assets on Vision. If the mag went with these, its yuletide engagement would continue to soar.

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Town & Country

Town & Country is a storied society publication that delivers the goods on places and people. This magazine’s audience is highly engaged, as its content garners a whopping 1.62% average engagement rate. That is extremely high in the publishing world, especially with an audience that big — almost half a mill.

The festive content that’s been pushed out by T&C so far this season has resonated even more with followers: after analyzing the account’s group of holiday visuals, we found that it also outperformed regular content with a 2% average engagement. Breaking the 2% is a super rare feat for any brand, let alone a publisher.

Here is the bundle of holiday visuals in order of engagement:

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Town & Country’s top 3 performing holiday posts so far:

To keep breaking engagement records, Town & Country could schedule these holiday posts surfaced by Vision and predicted to earn the mag some extra double-taps.

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House Beautiful

As the name would suggest, the House Beautiful magazine is there to tug at the homebody’s heartstrings. Its Instagram account boasts inviting interiors and impeccable decors, peppered with really fab facades that would give anyone house envy. The magazine’s average engagement rate sits right below 1% at a solid 0.89%.

That said, the social team clearly understands that their audience is all about emotional connections in the home, and has curated a display of holiday visuals that does just that. The proof? House Beautiful’s festive imagery has outperformed regular posts, averaging at 1.28% engagement.

Here are the holiday visuals in order of engagement:

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The top 3 performing posts are:

To continue nailing that holiday spirit and keep on a path above 1%, House Beautiful should be posting the following types of images surfaced by Vision.

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Redbook

The Redbook lifestyle is on display on the magazine’s Instagram account, and its content mix of memes, family images, quotes, and the occasional royal fodder has earned it an average engagement rate of 0.9%. With Christmas around the corner, Redbook has made sure to nail its output of holiday content, to which its audience has responded to with an even higher 1.21% average engagement rate.

Here are the Redbook holiday posts in order of engagement:

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Rebook’s top 3 holiday posts are:

If Redbook wants to keep a soaring engagement rate leading up to the new year, the account should post the type of holiday content that would resonate with its audience, as seen below.

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Oprah Magazine

The Oprah magazine has (surprise!) a devout following of Oprah fans, and it’s proving to be the holiday anomaly in our little analysis. The mag’s average engagement rate on Instagram is a high 1.25%, yet its holiday posts have averaged out at 1.06%. This is the only publication where the festive spirit is underperforming.

That said, there’s a clear reason for it: Oprah. Any time the social team posts a visual of the mag’s namesake icon, it often quadruples in performance, making anything pale in comparison.

See for instance all of the holiday visuals below in order of engagement. The top posts are the ones with queen Oprah:

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A closer look at her festive majesty Oprah:

Good Housekeeping

Here’s another magazine that has the homemaker’s heart going pitter patter. Followers of Good Housekeeping are looking for domestic inspiration and anything pertaining to house goals. This account’s content doesn’t resonate as well as the other publications we’ve explored, with a lower average engagement rate of 0.69%, but it still keeps on the pattern of high performing holiday visuals.

The magazine’s festive posts average out at 0.91% engagement, which almost hits the 1% mark. Here they are in order of highest performing:

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The top 3 goes as follows:

To optimize that Chritmas-y vibe on its Instagram account and boost engagement, Good Housekeeping should focus on these types of images:

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A brand activation can boost any Instagram account’s KPIs, the above proving especially true over the holidays. Publishers can really capitalize on the holiday period’s emotional factor, as reinforced by the consistently high engagement of thematic content with the magazines we just scrutinized (except for you, Oprah). It’s a great insight for ad partners to be placing more promotions with these publishers throughout December.

Visuals that create meaningful connections with audiences are always winners, and Christmastime is prime for that. While it’s important to always think about what resonates with your particular followers and what contributes to your brand image, seasonal content is something you should run with when it clearly outperforms regular programming .🦄

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