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[Guide] Light Up Your Brand’s 2023 Holiday Influencer Marketing Campaigns

The holidays are approaching faster than you can say, “TikTok made me buy it.” And, we’re happy to report that social media creators on TikTok and elsewhere are slated to make big waves for brands this holiday season.

So ready or not, it’s time to get festive. From MagicLinks’ millions of data points, we’ve pulled key consumer trends and full-funnel strategies to ensure brands unwrap success with their creator content this year. From fashion to fitness gear and even some surprises (hello, Barbie!), keep reading for ways to make your holiday influencer marketing campaigns sparkle. ✨

Before tackling your holiday influencer marketing strategy, dive into what’s top-of-mind and driving decisions for shoppers headed into the 2023 holiday season. 

The Holiday Effect and the Power of Creators

With consumers increasingly relying on social media in their buying journeys, creators are set to move the needle for brands in a major way over the holidays. 

Historically, the holiday season accounts for a third of all creator-driven sales. And this year, they’ve got more momentum than ever, with sales already up 30% year over year according to MagicLinks data. 

MagicLinks YoY Creator Sales Growth 2022 to 2023

What’s their secret? Creators are real people who offer authentic, relatable takes on products. Shoppers can often get fatigued during the holidays, after weeks of seeing traditional advertising content from brands. 

The power of creators lies in their personal relationships and the trust they’ve built with audiences. During the holidays, these social media connections are expected to drive 10 times more holiday visits to online shops than traditional marketing.

2022 Remix: Takeaways from Last Year’s Top Performers

According to MagicLinks data, last year’s holiday shoppers spent the most on:

  • Fashion
  • Home & Kitchen
  • Big box items
  • Beauty
  • Electronics

Fortunately for marketers, these types of products make for highly visual, engaging video content on social media!

Heating up over the holidays: Hobby items (card and video games, music, novelty gifts, and toys) saw the biggest surge in popularity over the 2022 holiday season. It’s a good bet that these classic gift items will do so again this year.

Creator Inspo from 2022

Ready for content inspo? The below creator examples all drove results to top-performing MagicLinks campaigns last year:

Andrea Ransbury | Holiday Gift Guide – Nordstrom

In Andrea’s gift guide for beauty lovers, she gushed about the products she’s excited to give and the ones she is saving for herself. She also provided helpful tips for shoppers – like who a product might be right for and how to best gift fragrances – that lead to engagement rates 2X over MagicLinks’ benchmarks. 

Bryan & Chris | In-Store Focused Content – BuyBuyBaby

Bryan and Chris’s short and sweet trip to BuyBuyBaby highlighted the retailer’s Countdown to Christmas sale. This video focuses on value and urgency by calling out limited-time discounts on specific items on the shelves. It ends with feel-good vibes of seeing happy babies enjoying their new gear and a reminder that the sale won’t last forever!


The @buybuybaby Countdown to Christmas sale is going on now through December 24th. Head to our link in bio and to learn more! #fyp #buybuybabypartner #buybuybaby #countdowntochristmas #babyessentials #babymusthaves #gaydads #itsbryanandchris

♬ Uplifting & Inspiring Christmas New Year Holiday Background Music Trailer – FlorewsMusic

Ashley Parke | What to Wear for the Holidays – Express

Ashley’s enthusiasm for the sparkle and glam of Express shines through in each of the specific looks she models. And, she balances that positivity with reality, making note of which pieces run a bit big or small to help her audience find the perfect fit for them.

Shopping Trends on the Rise for Q4

Like a snowball rolling downhill, these categories have the most momentum as we head toward the holidays: 

✈️ Travel: Memories may be the most precious gift of all! And after the holiday hustle, everyone could use a vacation, right? 

🤑 Budget shopping: Inflation is on shoppers’ minds, and it’s impacting how they’ll spend over the holidays.

👟 Fitness & Athleisure: Audiences expect to indulge over the holidays, and get into healthy routines afterward. What better motivation than new workout gear and equipment?

MagicLinks chart - YoY Growth by Product Category holiday campaigns 2023

Other top purchasing trends:

🎁 Self-gifting: it’s fun to buy for others, but just as fun to grab something nice for yourself! 

🩷 Everything is coming up pink: Barbie-related sales are up 15% YTD. Audiences just can’t get Kenough!

🍗 Cooking and recipe-based products (such as blenders & air fryers) are having a moment, growing 4X YoY

Strategies to Sleigh Your Holiday Campaigns

The holiday season is a marathon, not a sprint. Your influencer content should be intentional and comprehensive, with content designed specifically to build awareness, ramp up engagement and consideration, and then drive purchases at opportune times.

One-off sponsored content spots might cause a temporary lift in one of these areas. However, brands that activate creators to bring authentic, seasonal content throughout Q4 are much more likely to unwrap full-funnel success. 

Awareness: Shine Brighter with Authentic Holiday Stories

Three out of 4 shoppers will turn to social media to learn more about products for holiday shopping this year. October and the first few weeks of November are prime time for planning and researching. This is your brand’s opportunity to build excitement for the season via creators – for example, “How to throw the best holiday party” or “It’s never too early to start on your New Year’s Resolutions.” 

Have creators tell their own holiday stories: traditions, favorite moments or events, and end-of-year reflections to maintain the human element. 

📱Creator Inspo: Check out Miyae Varenae’s Get Ready with Me vid from last year, where she preps for her Christmas date while unveiling the new beauty products she loves from Nordstrom.

Consideration: Merge In-Store & Online Experiences through Creators’ IRL Lens

Because budget is a concern for many shoppers, it’s important to reduce friction wherever possible. Put minds at ease by making holiday shopping stress-free, whether they’re buying online or in-store. Make sure to get this content out in early November and December, before peak buying times.

How creators can bridge the gap between the in-store & online experience:

  • Emphasize maximizing time with loved ones by spending less time in-store.
  • Visualize convenience: Creators can capture videos of items being added to their cart online, and then easily picking up in-store.
  • Poor return processes will put 21% of online sales at risk. Talk up your return policies and give shoppers more confidence to purchase.

📱Creator Inspo: In a sponsored Reel for Sam’s Club, Sierra Honeycutt tackled the very real problem of searching for the perfect gift for the man in your life. In the process, she also highlighted how much time and sanity Sam’s Club curbside pick-up saved her during a busy Black Friday.

Purchase: Activate Creators to Hype Special Offers & Drive Sales

As we mentioned, creators aren’t just spreading holiday joy – they’re motivating audiences to purchase! Focus your holiday influencer marketing content on specific products, offers, and timeframes in fun ways:

  • Gift guides are a holiday season staple, but you’ve got to do them right. Creator gift guides consistently outperform publisher gift guides because they’re less sales-y and more true to how shoppers actually purchase. Consider sponsoring integrated videos (where multiple brands are represented) vs dedicated.
    • With MagicLinks, we’re encouraging Creators to curate linkable gift guides through ObsessedWith.It 🔗
  • Everyone loves a giveaway! Use creators to generate buzz around any freebies or contests you are running over the holidays, to help boost overall campaign performance.

📱Creator Inspo: YouTuber Jessica Stockstill uses a “day in the life” approach to show her workout routine with P.volve. The video prompted immediate action from followers through an exclusive discount code and free gift offer. The timing couldn’t have been better – with a December 20th release, this video came out just in time to hit viewers in resolution mode!

Of course, timing is everything when it comes to converting shoppers into buyers! So let’s talk about the best days for linking and sales in November and December. 

Top Days for Creator Linking and Sales

To maximize impact, execute placements and campaigns when Creators have historically done the most linking. On average, Mondays are the most successful days for linking.

MagicLinks top days for creator linking and sales - calendar view of holiday campaigns 2023

Final Thoughts on Unwrapping Success with 2023 Holiday Influencer Marketing

As brands gear up for the holiday marketing frenzy, keep in mind the power of creators have to enrich your brand narrative with authentic storytelling. In the world of influencer marketing during the holidays, it’s not just about who’s been naughty or nice, but who’s been engaging and authentic!

With the majority of shoppers turning to social media for product discovery during the holiday season, it’s your chance to ignite excitement and connect with your audience through influencers. Whether it’s crafting engaging narratives, seamlessly blending online and in-store experiences, or activating creators to highlight special offers, you’re armed with the strategies and insights needed to make your influencer campaigns shine brightly this holiday season. 

Ready to learn more about partnering with MagicLinks to create dazzling holiday influencer campaigns? Let’s talk!

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