Elevate Your Holiday Campaigns With Insights from Our 2023 Creator Survey
While the temperatures may still be high outside, in the world of Creator Marketing, the holiday season is almost upon us. It’s the most wonderful time of year when sales, partnerships, and content creation shift into high gear, bringing in big earnings for brands and Creators alike.
Having a well thought-out Creator Marketing strategy can make or break the holiday season for brands, and understanding Creators’ needs is key to planning an effective, lucrative Creator Marketing campaign.
So, to make the most of this holiday season, Collective Voice surveyed our Creator community to gain helpful insights into their content planning process and approach to brand partnerships.
Planning Holiday Content Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Holiday shopping gets earlier every year. In 2022, 56% of consumers began their holiday shopping in October, while 44% did their holiday shopping in November, December, and January. Whereas in 2021, only 45% of consumers started their holiday shopping in October, while the majority of consumers began their holiday shopping later.
Accordingly, Creators are getting ahead of the game and adopting an earlier posting approach to get their content in front of audiences before the shopping frenzy begins. A significant 27% of Creators begin their planning process in the first half of the year. Meanwhile, 21% of Creators start their planning in August, followed by 30% in September, 18% in October, and a mere 3% in November.
Marketers and brands are clearly picking up on these trends, as 71% of Marketers are kicking off their holiday campaign planning between July and September.
But content planning isn’t just about timing. It’s also about the most effective formats for gaining traffic and driving sales. And sometimes, you can’t beat the classics; written/blog-style content continues to be a top performer, with 28% of Creators considering it as their most vital sales driver.
In fact, gift guides remain a go-to for both Creators and consumers alike. “Gift guides always seem to be even more popular with my followers than I anticipate,” says Creator Tina Adams. To supercharge her gift guide strategy, she creates a “wide range of guides that help followers shop for all the people on their list.”
Blogs make up one piece of many Creators’ content roadmap. As part of a holistic approach, Creators are syndicating their content through social media platforms. Instagram continues to reign supreme, as 25% of Creators named Instagram Stories and 25% named Instagram feed formats as their biggest sales-driving platforms.
Creators also aren’t afraid to shake things up and try something new, like short-form video. “Reels are still a dominating factor on Instagram. Sharing shopping finds and new products in a reel/short term video is always going to be a popular piece of content,” explains Creator Jackie Gill.
‘Tis the Season for Creators to Cash In
With sales and gift guides galore, the holiday season is one of the most lucrative times of year for Creators. In fact, 57% of Creators surveyed acknowledged that a quarter of their yearly revenue comes from holiday content alone, while 28% of Creators said that holiday accounts for nearly 50% of their total annual content creation earnings.
Audiences are hungry for holiday content, and they’re turning to Creators as their go-to sources for shopping inspiration. A noteworthy 69% of shoppers between 25-34 years old say Creators are a great source of inspiration for holiday gifting.
“Audiences are much more engaged this time of year and want to shop,” says Sarah, a Creator who goes by @My.Sister.Made.Me.Buy.It on Instagram. Sarah also believes that some of the best money-making opportunities come from sales. Audiences “also love shopping deals and it is so helpful when we can prepare sale content ahead of time,” says Sarah.
Industry Changes Are Affecting Creators’ Holiday Strategies
Creators aren’t immune to the kind of industry changes and societal shifts that are affecting workers, consumers, and brands everywhere.
Economic uncertainty and its potential effects on consumer spending remain top of mind for Creators, who described it as their primary business concern. A significant 65% of Creators indicated that this uncertainty has a negative impact on their holiday campaigns. Similarly, this economic uncertainty is raising questions about potential partnership opportunities, with 54% of Creators expressing worry about brands limiting their marketing spending.
However, brands are still planning on investing significantly in their holiday marketing, as 75% of Marketers we spoke to plan to increase their holiday marketing budget compared to last year.
Importantly, the rapidly changing social media landscape is encouraging Creators to shift their content strategies and try new things. Some of these industry shake-ups are leading to positive adaptations, as Creator Kayla Fernandez says, “I’m really excited to use more short-form video content to truly showcase how excited I am about the products I love.” To get in on the growing short-form video trend, 59% of Marketers we surveyed plan to test TikTok and Reels this holiday season, and 36% are interested in exploring live shopping.
But it’s not just the popularity of these formats that excites Creators. Fernandez believes short-form video can create more authentic content and partnerships. “The more that [short-form video] gets integrated into platforms, the easier I find it to support brands that I both have a relationship with as well as the ones that are new to me and my audience,” explains Fernandez.
Conversely, some Creators are turning back to owned and operated content in the face of these rapid social media shifts. “I’m actually digging deeper into blogging with all the unflattering press around social media,” says Adams. These tried-and-true content formats can provide insulation from huge industry swings. Adams has adopted this approach, explaining, “I sense a growing nostalgia for quieter connections that blogging allows, without all the noise of unwanted ads and frustrating algorithms that monopolize social media feeds.”
Putting A Bow On It: How To Partner with Creators During Holiday
At Collective Voice, we are all about fostering relationships between brands and Creators for prosperous, mutually beneficial campaigns. Understanding Creators’ needs and goals during the holiday season is crucial for producing mutually-beneficial, sales-driving content and Creator campaigns.
Here’s everything you need to know to produce a winning holiday campaign, all neatly wrapped up like a present:
- Long-term partnerships: Brands who work throughout the year to develop a relationship with Creators have a competitive edge, as brand loyalty also remains high during the holidays. In fact, 85% of Creators prioritize nurturing their existing brand relationships during the holiday season, while only 14% focus on securing new brand deals. Since many Creators are inundated with offers during the holiday season, they prefer to have fewer high paying collaborations that are truly authentic.
- Content that’s authentic and native to Creators’ channels: According to 57% of Creators, Instagram generates the highest sponsored campaign revenue during the holidays. Facebook follows, with 18% of Creators reporting that it generates the highest sponsored campaign earnings. 11% of Creators named blogs, while the remaining 5% named TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and Amazon, respectively, as the platforms providing their highest sponsored campaign earnings.
- Advanced planning: The earlier the collaboration can start, the better. Says Creator Laura Danforth, “planning early is important so that Creators have time to work partnerships into our calendars and have enough time to create high-quality content.”
- Creative freedom: Brands should encourage Creators to lean into their authentic voices, personal experiences, and unique backgrounds, which benefits the brand through authentic and engaging posts. “It’s a VERY busy time for brand deals. I would appreciate it if brands…would give less direction and leave us a little more creative license,” suggests Kay Harms, a fashion and beauty Creator focusing on women over 50.
- An inclusive approach: The holiday season is an ideal opportunity for brands to target diverse audiences by working with diverse Creators. “It’s important for brands to showcase a variety of cultures and ethnicities during the holidays,” states Fernandez. Overlooking diverse Creators means brands are forgoing an opportunity to speak to a wider audience. “We have dollars too that we love to spend during the holidays…and Creators of color often speak directly to those audiences,” says Fernandez.
Harnessing the immense potential of Creator partnerships during the holiday season demands both a strategic and empathetic approach. As our exclusive data suggests, Creators are seeking collaborative opportunities that align with their authentic values, creative vision, and tight schedule during this busy season.
By paying attention to Creators’ holiday-specific needs and objectives, Marketers can produce more effective campaigns to drive sales and brand visibility. And importantly, they can cultivate lasting and meaningful connections with Creators and consumers in the spirit of festive celebration.