MNI Blog  /  3 minute read

What Advertisers Should Know About the 2020 Holiday Season

COVID-19 has led to an eCommerce boom, which means more advertising opportunities during the 2020 holiday season. Learn how to leverage these new shopping trends in your advertising.


By Kathryn Marshall

Supervisor, Digital Planning


Now that we are in the second half of 2020, it’s time for brands to strategize for their holiday marketing campaigns. The unfortunate presence of COVID-19 has led to an e-commerce boom, which means more opportunity for retailers that offer online shopping. Consumers have made strong shifts toward online shopping in the past few months, especially as many stores have limited hours or are temporarily closed. Gift buyers will rely heavily on online shopping for the 2020 holiday season, so retailers need to be prepared for the high demand. Below are some trends we expect to see during the 2020 holiday season.

The Online Shopping Increase Will Lead To More Digital Ads

COVID-19 evoked a major e-commerce spike; stores across the country closed forcing shoppers to turn online. Many people are either quarantining at home or social distancing which has led to copious amounts of time spent online bouncing between social media platforms, streaming services, and e-commerce sites like Amazon. Advertisers need to take advantage of the extra hours consumers are spending online, especially leading up to the 2020 holiday season. In order to stand out amongst the crowd of digital ads, unique strategies need to be implemented. Where we used to see click-to-map options to drive consumers into stores, we will now likely see click-to-cart ads to drive product purchases. Advertisers need to quickly adjust their marketing efforts to ease the shopping experience for buyers, break through the clutter, and run ads that drive interest.

Customers Care How You Treat Your Employees

The corporate social responsibility (CSR) of retailers and brands will also play a dominant role this holiday season. More and more consumers care about retailers that prioritize their employee’s safety and wellbeing during the holidays. Walmart, Target, Best Buy and many other retailers are closing their doors this Thanksgiving to avoid large crowd gatherings and to protect their workforce. Target is even making 20,000 more products (including fresh and frozen groceries) available via their pickup and delivery service. Consumers take notice and respect brands that take prominent actions to protect their workforce, which is why marketers should incorporate their brand’s CSR into their advertising strategies.  

Holiday Spending Via eCommerce Will Be Just As Strong This Year

Business Insider reports that “Amazon's Q2 2020 was its biggest online sales quarter ever due to the pandemic.” Widespread unemployment hasn’t affected online spending habits; e-commerce saw a major boom right in the middle of the pandemic because consumers feel much safer shopping online as opposed to visiting stores. Amazon’s jump in revenue during Q2 led them to estimate even higher revenue during Q4 for the holidays. High demand early in the pandemic led to supply chain issues and low availability of products online. Brands need to be prepared for high demand as no consumer wants to see the dreaded “Out of Stock” notice. Supply chains took a hit during early stages of COVID-19 so retailers will need to rework their models in preparation of all the online shopping that will be done for the upcoming holiday season.

6 Tips for Holiday Advertising 2020

Knowing all the trends to come this holiday season, advertisers need to adapt and adjust to these changes. More than 70% of shoppers are set to spend more online this holiday. Therefore, focusing on your brands eCommerce channel is crucial. Below are some best practices that advertisers should keep in mind:

Stagger Sales 

Don’t blow out your brand’s holiday sales by debuting with a large sale off the bat. Stagger sales throughout the holiday season to help incentivize customers to both buy and stay tuned.


Flash Sales

Similar to Staggered Sales, hold flash sales that can only be accessed with unique email or app codes.

Drive Urgency

Even though less consumers will be fighting long lines and crowds on Black Friday, this doesn’t mean they should relax and wait to purchase. Drive urgency in emails and ads with countdown clocks and dynamic product grids that indicate both bestsellers and products that are running out of stock

Drive Exclusivity

If your brand has a loyalty program, take full advantage of it in your holiday advertising—roll out early access for customers who have signed up, and promise rewards for those who are still not on the list.

Focus on Abandonment Messages

See that your customers are abandoning their online cart? Make sure to follow up with triggered email messages reminding them of the items they were interested in, and possible discounts/savings they might have.

Always Showcase What's New

Have your emails and ads showcase the latest inventory. This will help provide a fresh experience for both new and returning customers.

Overall, we expect the 2020 holiday season to be highly reliant on e-commerce shopping. COVID-19 is still prevalent across the nation, driving consumers to continue turning to their devices for shopping, which ultimately creates massive opportunity for advertisers. The future of holiday shopping might jumpstart with 2020; consumers will become comfortable with online shopping and may continue to purchase gifts this way in the coming years.

Our extensive ad services reach consumers online, offline, any time. Our 20-minute webinar dives deeper into how brands can make it onto consumers’ holiday lists this year. Click here to view the recording.


Successful ad campaigns start here.