10 Tips for Choosing a Clickable Holiday Image, According to Data

Sure, you know you want your marketing materials to be festive. But, beyond that, what’s going to resonate most with consumers?

Online retail will likely be marred by unpredictability this holiday season. That means marketers will need to work even harder to hit their numbers. Thankfully, artificial intelligence has some insights that can help.

Using Shutterstock.AI, we analyzed eleven years of historic creative marketing data to understand what trends make holiday campaigns as clickable as possible. Through this research, artificial intelligence was able to determine:

  • How many people should be in your photos to get the most clicks.
  • What color palettes are optimal for increasing audience engagement.
  • Whether there are specific objects—and specific gifts—that are most clickable.
  • What types of content performs best for different industries.

When put together, all of these creative insights give us a look at how to choose the most clickable images this holiday season. Consider these tips a gift . . .


1. Choose Silver over Gold

While you might recall the song “Silver and Gold” from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special, its lyrics don’t discuss which precious metal is preferential. Data has the answer, though. If you want to boost the CTR of your ads, include silver whenever possible.  

Silver had a consistently higher click-through rate (CTR) than gold over the last three holiday seasons. Over the last three months of 2021, silver has had a 252% higher CTR than gold, indicating that there’s no sign of the silver trend waning during the holidays.


2. See Red

Various shades of red consistently rank among the top-performing colors in Q4. And, year over year, this frequency has increased. During the 2020 holiday season, 35% of the top-performing colors were shades of red.


3. Leave out Faces

One year ago, we were asking if Christmas parties could still happen. Unfortunately, we’re asking that same question this year, amid the rise in COVID cases thanks to the Delta Variant and low vaccination rates

As we’ve observed throughout the entirety of the pandemic, caseloads impact what creative gets clicks. Based on the data it recently observed, AI projects that ads containing zero faces will have the highest CTR this holiday season.

Over the last three months, the engagement rates of ads containing no faces remained high, and this continues to rise with each passing month.


4. If You Do Include Faces, Feature Five

Let’s face it: Sometimes your ads need to include a cast. Even though AI says that content with zero faces will have the highest clickability, it has also offered an alternative: Include five. Ads with five faces will have the second-highest click-through rate this year. 


5. Include a Christmas Tree If It Makes Sense

Over the last three holiday seasons, ads containing Christmas-themed creative have a 39% higher average CTR than ads that don’t. More specifically, ads containing Christmas trees see a 41% higher CTR during the holidays, on average, than ads without them.


6. Feature Sneakers: The Most Clickable Gift

Perhaps it’s because some people are returning to the gym or more of us are exploring the great outdoors—whatever the case, gym shoes are the most clickable gift, according to data.

In fact, sneakers saw their CTR increase 22% since the 2019 holiday season.

Socks are also super-clickable. Really! Socks in imagery and videos saw a CTR boost of 35% over the last three holiday seasons.

But, while socks are pretty clickable, sneakers still have them beat with a 13% higher CTR.


7. Plug Video Games: The Most Clickable Toy

It’s no big surprise that imagery and videos showing people playing video games are popular with audiences everywhere. Games have made their way into living rooms and onto phones, and they’ve become popular pastimes for people of all ages.

While video games have the highest CTR of any gift in the toy category, other content that compliments gaming is on-trend too. For example, imagery and videos containing TVs saw a 37% CTR boost since last December.


8. Show Speakers: The Most Clickable Home Good

Do you often find yourself yelling, “Hey, Google!?” Or, are you constantly asking questions of Alexa? Well, you’re not alone: Speakers are the most widely-adopted smart device for homes.

Their popularity carries through to ad engagement, as well. AI tells us that speakers have the highest CTR of all items measured for clickability in the home goods category. Not only that, speakers are consistently strong performers, holding their top spot over the last three years. 


9. Play up Holiday-Themed Imagery

Artificial intelligence can track top-performing content for entire industries. So, why not take advantage? Here’s a glance at the most clickable holiday-themed images across five different categories.

  • Consumer packaged goods: ornaments
  • Home goods: stars
  • Entertainment & media: shopping bags
  • Restaurant: snowman
  • Retail: stockings


10. Spotlight Family Meals

Standing apart from the highly-specific (and highly-clickable) holiday imagery across the aforementioned industries, comes content for travel and hospitality. Photos and videos showing families at dinner are driving clicks here.

Despite the drastic drops in travel spend during last year’s holiday season, consumers are showing us that they’re wanting to get back together, at least through their clicks.


The holiday season is upon us! Let’s get into it with these beauties:

Cover image via Ilona Titova.

The post 10 Tips for Choosing a Clickable Holiday Image, According to Data appeared first on The Shutterstock Blog.

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