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Leverage Social Listening To Plan Your 2024 Holiday Marketing Campaign

Jamie Landry
July 20, 2023
Last Updated On
November 15, 2023
social listening for holiday campaigns blog header

As December quickly approaches, marketers are diligently preparing and commencing their holiday marketing campaigns. Holiday campaigns are largely informed by major goals, exclusive product launches, influencer partnerships, and more, all in anticipation of the winter season's festivities.

Advanced solutions such as Dash Hudson's AI-Powered Social Listening tool not only enhance ongoing holiday campaigns and enrich future strategies with valuable user feedback and sentiment analysis that can be seamlessly integrated into broader marketing strategies.

In this blog, we explore: 

  • How to incorporate social listening into your holiday marketing campaign.
  • Brand examples of past successful holiday marketing campaigns.

How To Use Social Listening for Successful Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Social listening lets brands monitor social media platforms for mentions of your brand, keywords and phrases chosen by your team, competitors and any other relevant information shared on social media. 

During the festive season, brands can use social listening to hone in on specific words and phrases to determine the overall sentiment of past holiday campaigns — and your competitors. 

Here’s how brands can use social listening during holiday planning: 

Analyze Last Year’s Holiday Campaign Sentiment 

A valuable approach when starting the planning phase for your holiday marketing campaigns is to look at the effectiveness of your previous holiday campaigns using sentiment analysis

Specifically, brands should look for: 

  • Overall sentiment: Was there an overwhelmingly positive, negative or neutral sentiment from users during last year’s holiday campaign? Use this insight to learn what resonates with your audience — and what doesn’t.
  • Popular terms: Which terms were used often and had a positive sentiment? Use this to determine which terms and themes were popular the previous year.
  • Competitor research: Brands can pull in all posts from competitors and even posts from brands within a specific industry. This is a great way to reflect on their campaign's sentiment and see what they did well and what they didn’t do well so you can learn from their mistakes. 

Refine Next Year’s Holiday Campaign 

After reviewing the previous year’s holiday campaign performance, be proactive — create a report at the end of your holiday marketing efforts to help yourself out next year. In this end-of-year reporting, use social listening to reflect on the sentiment from your campaign, where competitors might’ve made a more significant impact and what you did well.

This is also an excellent opportunity to look at user comments and interactions from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, to discover what overall themes pulled focus during the season. It’s also worth noting that brands can pull sentiment insights for owned posts across all channels. 

Inform Holiday Campaign Reporting

Brands can use sentiment analysis to inform their campaign reports — this could be insights into their share of voice for holiday campaigns, how their audience behaves during the season, whether or not the holidays are a peak time for them and other insights that help inform a health report.

Reporting on your holiday campaign’s success is an essential part of your marketing campaign that keeps your strategy on track and allows your team to make any changes to the strategy quickly if required. Agility is an important skill for any marketer, and social listening is an effective tool to gauge how your brand performs and is perceived by your most important social media demographics

It’s also where you can compile your data, insights and forecast your audience’s holiday habits. Some social listening features to consider for a holiday campaign report include: 

  • Top performing posts: What posts from competitors performed the best in the past six months or last year’s campaigns, and how does your brand compare? 
  • Top keywords: Which keywords are widely used among social — and what keywords does your brand currently tap into? 
  • Share of voice: Look at your industry’s share of voice, then examine your brand and competitor’s share of voice each month. This practice helps to set realistic benchmark goals around your share of voice for your campaigns based on the previous year and recent performance as well as, industry standards. 
  • Share of Engagement: This is another helpful metric to set benchmarks for performance and help refine your content strategy. Share of Engagement provides insight into how engaged your competitor's audience is — for example, a competitor might post a lot but see low engagement, which tells you the content might not relate to their audience. Conversely, another brand might post less frequently but garner higher engagement, which is a helpful starting point for brands to dive into what content works well for competitors.

Brand Health Reports  

Brand Health reports in Dashboards let you pull in findings from multiple channels for your owned content in one central location. Brand Health reports let you monitor performance for specific date ranges within your holiday campaign, plus get an at-a-glance comparison of your Positive, Negative and Neutral Sentiment Trend performance for posts on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This gives you a real-time — and retroactive — glance at how your content resonates with your audience.   

Create Relevant Holiday Campaign Topics

Customization is key for any social marketer. Dash Hudson’s Social Listening Trends and Topics lets you create holiday-specific topics to monitor before and during your holiday campaign.

Specifically, marketers can create three types of topics: 

  • Public posts: Posts for a given topic from Twitter, Instagram and YouTube 
  • Competitor posts: Posts from competitors you’ve identified in Dash Hudson for a given topic. 
  • Industry: Posts from all brands from specifically selected industries. 

Explore What’s Worked Well for Competitors

Just like you can create holiday-specific topics to monitor before, during and after your holiday marketing campaigns, you can also set up topic monitoring for competitors you’ve identified using Competitive Insights and Benchmarking, and explore which competitors had higher a Share of Voice and Share of Engagement for specific terms.

If you’re looking at competitor performance, these competitive insights help you identify immediate opportunities and wins by looking at both your brand and competitors' performance. It also includes AI predictions that hone in on which creative content you should leverage to achieve success over competitors and custom reports so you can examine the metrics that matter most to your team. 

We mentioned competitor performance earlier, but it’s worth repeating — social listening is your fly-on-the-wall to everything that worked well and didn’t for your competitors. To create a topic for competitors in Dash Hudson, follow these steps: 

  • Select ‘Create Topic.’
  • Select ‘Competitor.’
  • Choose which brand you’d like to see competition for.
  • Now, select which brands you’d like to monitor. 
  • Add keywords, hashtags and ‘@’ mentions to listen for — you can also create combinations here to look for hyper-specific phrases. You can also ‘Add Conditions,’ including or excluding certain words. 
  • Finally, name your topic so you can easily find it in Dash Hudson.

What Brands Can Learn From Past Successful Holiday Marketing Campaigns

There is so much noise to break through on social, but especially during the holiday season. To create holiday ad campaigns that stand out on social, brands need to understand their audience, share something exciting (bonus points for holiday exclusives), and create striking, shareable visuals with viral potential. 

Below are three examples of brands that experienced great success with their holiday social media campaigns and the reasons behind their wins. 

Drunk Elephant 

drunk elephant 2023 trunk instagram screenshot
Image credit: @drunkelephant

Drunk Elephant touted their Drunk Elephant 6.0 trunk last year on social and picked up significant ‘buzz’ — social listening could inform the brand of user's thoughts on product variety, price point and more. 

Each year, typically around the holidays, Drunk Elephant releases a large trunk containing most, if not all, of their products at a lower price point than it would be to purchase them individually. An exciting aspect of the trunk is the container — 2022’s ‘trunk’ was a LAKA cooler, while 2021’s ‘trunk’ was a limited edition suitcase. This year’s ‘trunk’ is a green Baboon to the Moon bag, which converts from a backpack to a duffle. 

This typically creates excitement around what trunk will be available each year. The sheer volume of products makes it an exciting product for creators to ‘haul’ — the extravagance adds to its virality potential. 

Drunk Elephant can gather valuable user-generated content from creators and access a substantial volume of content and discussions for social listening analysis.

Nespresso USA

The Food and Beverage Industry is an integral part of the holiday season — even as a consumer, you likely associate seasonal treats with the holidays. Nespresso is an example of a brand that uses its seasonal coffee and pod releases to generate excitement and social traffic from its users but who also effectively taps into influencers to increase their reach and tell a compelling story centered around its products. 

In 2022, they encourage traffic to brick-and-mortar locations with an influencer partnership centered on last-minute holiday shopping.

Image credit: @nespressousa

Nespresso kicks off the holiday season and highlights their annual advent calendar release, filled with coffee pods and other surprises. Nespresso can use social listening from past campaigns to determine which products customers want to see in an advent calendar, whether or not they find value in the release and more. Nespresso can use social listening for this year’s holiday campaign to gauge excitement for the release and analyze any neutral or negative sentiment to refine next year’s campaign — and advent calendar offering.

This year, their Nespresso Instagram post earned over 6,000 engagements with overwhelming positive sentiment, and a 1.6% engagement rate — their audience loves the advent calendar.  

nespresso machine making drink
Image credit: @nespressousa


Anthropologie kicks off the holiday season for their audience early, with a post that shares holiday decorating inspiration while promoting their line of home accessories. 

Anthropologie can use social listening and sentiment analysis to gauge how customers feel about the upcoming holiday season, their thoughts about upcoming products and more. Anthropologie can use social listening and sentiment analysis to gauge how customers feel about the upcoming holiday season, their thoughts about upcoming products and more. 

This year, Anthropologie’s holiday post earned positive sentiment from over 7,000 engagements and a 0.1% engagement rate.

anthropologie christmas tree ig screenshot
Image credit: @anthropologie

Refine Future Holiday Marketing Campaigns With Dash Hudson

This holiday season, take your marketing campaign to jingle-worthy heights with social listening. Uncover what users and competitors think about holiday trends — and most importantly, your brand. It's time to spread some holiday cheer and sleigh the competition!

Social listening is essential to a healthy social media strategy — not only can brands refine their holiday campaigns, but they can also use social listening to create benchmarks to measure their performance for any campaign. Be it Valentine's Day, Halloween or even Black Friday, you can leverage social listening to understand your past performance, to set goals for future performance.

A great complement to social listening is Campaign Reporting, which measures your ROI and provides multi-channel reports so you can get a comprehensive look at how all of your campaigns did among owned, earned and creator content. It also offers a visual look at your top-performing posts for a given campaign, perfect to monitor success — and quickly.


When to start holiday marketing?

When it comes to holiday marketing, it’s best to start about six months before the holiday season or when you plan to launch your campaigns. While planning your strategy earlier is best, planning too early means you might miss important social media trends or creator marketing opportunities that could positively impact your holiday strategy. 

How to create a holiday campaign? 

To create a holiday campaign, it’s best to first look at your goals and determine which products, services or platforms make the most sense to focus your efforts on. Another great step to include in your holiday planning is to create buyer personas based on social analytics that provide your team with a more comprehensive look at the unique needs of your user base — or a new demographic you plan to target. 

From there, you can use this preliminary research to inform your strategy and which tactics you’ll use to reach your holiday goals and yearly targets. 

What makes a great holiday marketing strategy? 

What makes a great holiday marketing strategy will differ from brand to brand — however, here are a few tactics brands from any industry can keep in mind to develop an airtight holiday strategy: 

  • Social listening: Use a social listening tool and continue to monitor brand mentions before, during and after your campaign. 
  • Spotlight what sets you apart: Focus on what makes you unique — whether this is limited seasonal products, an exciting new solution for the holidays, or a splashy, viral campaign that speaks to your brand and helps build brand awareness
  • Plan early: Start planning around 6 months out from when you plan to deploy your holiday campaign. This gives you time to sort your organic and paid assets and loop in relevant stakeholders to make sure you align your strategy.

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