The end of the year is coming, and brands need to make sure their web marketing strategies are ready for the increased economic activity that accompanies the holiday season.

Most companies want to optimize their content marketing for the holidays, but many wait until it’s too late to do anything meaningful. There’s a lot to lose, because eMarketer’s Holiday Shopping Preview estimates total sales during November and December will be 5 percent higher than last year and ecommerce sales will be 16 percent higher compared to 2013.

Is there still time to get in on the action? By optimizing for specific keywords and using visual media, brands can get a jump on the increases in traffic and overall spending activity that arrive each Q4.

1. Optimize for specific topics, products and services

According to research by Outbrain, headlines and anchor text see higher holiday season click-through rates when they contain certain keywords like:


  • “Cocktail” – gets a 102 percent higher CTR 
  • “Shopping” CTR increases 84 percent
  • “Tricks” clicks grow 36 percent
  • “Quick” jumps 25 percent.

Part of this adjustment is about subject matter, but a substantial portion is also about readers’ mindsets during the holiday season. Parties, shopping, shortcuts and fast solutions are all on peoples’ minds as they plan for holiday shopping, and marketers should find relevant ways to appeal to readers’ headspace (whether they’re prospective B2B or B2C customers).

2. Include visual media

Another interesting holiday behavior is the importance of visual media. Videos and photos saw click-through rates 10 percent higher than plain posts.

During the holidays, videos and photos see click-through rates 10 percent higher than plain posts.

This finding emphasizes how important digital video, infographics and other kinds of visuals are for grabbing readers’ attention. If it’s true customers aren’t able to spend time thinking long and hard about some purchases during the holiday season, sticky content that draws them in is going to lead to more clicks, more engagement and ultimately more conversions.

There’s still plenty of time left to craft a successful holiday plan. B2C companies that expect some (but not all) of their products to become gifts should start to produce visual content centered around those items. B2Bs don’t have as direct a line to conversions, but should use the right language and formats to save readers time and energy – potentially by producing video blogs or infographics. Either way, the most important step to take is to begin soon so all the content marketing pieces are in place by the time the holiday season begins.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.