The holiday season is a stressful time for shoppers and marketers alike, and the frenzy has already started. A recent report by RJMetrics found that November and December drive 30% more ecommerce revenue than non-holiday months. Consumers have a lot of gifts to buy, and marketers have a lot of compelling content to create in order to capture their share of demand.

Most marketers would agree, however, that this is easier said than done. Earlier this year, we conducted a survey to explore the current state of visual commerce, and found the three biggest challenges marketers are facing: 1) choosing imagery that resonates with their customers; 2) developing new, creative content; and 3) measuring ROI.

Matt Langie, CMO of Curalate, and Erin Flesch, Content Community Brand Manager at Schoolhouse Electric, shared best practices that marketers can incorporate to drive revenue this holiday season. You can view the full replay here, but for those who are pressed for time, we’ve compiled a TL;DR.

1. How To: Create Relevant Content


The vast majority of marketers feel that the type of channel (e.g. email, ads, print) is important when selecting images to use in different marketing scenarios. However, based on our study, 78% are nevertheless sharing the same images across every channel on which they are active.

Schoolhouse Electric is a smaller brand, so their holiday strategy is a bit different than what we see from larger retailers. Erin notes, “We don’t typically have holiday-specific products available on our site, so we use this time of year to share and promote some of the bestselling products we’ve had year round.”

How do they keep it relevant? By reshooting photos of products in a holiday context, and sharing them across their social channels as well as on their website. “We don’t have big sales or promotions going on,” Erin adds, “but we let our fans know that this is an opportunity to buy quality gifts that will last a lifetime.” You can find three great examples of repurposed images above.

2. How To: Effectively Measure Campaign Conversions

The holidays are the ideal time to create fun, engaging campaigns. The challenge comes in reporting conversions that result from these efforts.

54% of marketers either do not report on conversions effectively or doubt their ability to do so.

Z Gallerie is a great example of a brand that’s measuring campaign conversions effectively. Earlier this year, the team realized that fans were so engaged with Z Gallerie catalog mailings that they would photograph the catalogs and post the images to Instagram. To leverage these attributes, Z Gallerie put together a multi-channel UGC campaign to drive catalog subscriptions and bridge communication between online and offline fans.


Within the context of this campaign, a conversion was defined as a subscriber acquisition, and by leveraging an existing customer behavior, the team delivered their intended results. “They relied on analytics within the Curalate platform to surface customers’ photos and measure their influence,” Matt shared. Within just a few weeks, they saw a 24% lift in new catalog sign-ups.

3. How To: Optimize Mobile Strategies

About one-third of marketers are using mobile to reach consumers with visual content, but according to our study, marketers feel their visual content is weakest within mobile commerce environments.

Optimizing for mobile is especially crucial during the holidays. A July 2015 survey from Signal, as reported by eMarketer, found that 67% of U.S. internet users plan to research purchases more frequently via smartphones and tablets this holiday season than they did last year. Some 60% intend on increasing their mobile purchase activity.


Lilly Pulitzer effectively tapped into mobile last holiday season. The team noted that their daily Instagram posts of 5×5 illustrations were receiving a flurry of engagement on the platform. They relied on analytics to come to this conclusion, and decided to create a hardcover book full of the images. The announcement was made on Instagram (naturally!), and they utilized the Curalate Like2Buy solution to drive traffic back to their site once the book was released on Black Friday. They saw 400% more traffic from Instagram on that day as compared to their daily average.

4. How To: Create Visual Experiences

With more than 2.6 billion images shared daily, people find themselves in a constant state of content overload. One way to cut through the noise is by highlighting experiences. “We know that sharing imagery that resonates with audiences is a challenge,” Matt says. “The solution there is to tap into experiences.”


Matt continues, “If you’re marketing a plaid shirt, for example, share a photo of someone out in the woods or on a mountain in that plaid shirt. It invokes a sense of desire in the visual consumers of today that will drive them to engage.”

If you’re having trouble developing new, creative content, keep in mind that you have a variety of sources to pull images from. “Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to create everything on your own. Sourcing content from fans, partners and bloggers are all viable solutions,” Matt said.