Unwrapped: Holiday sampling campaign best practices

July 12, 2023

Holiday marketing is the priority for every brand marketer. It’s the biggest shopping season of the year, with most brands planning for Holiday as early as the summer. If you’re a marketer who’s looking to boost the performance of your holiday media; driving engagement, trial, and ultimately boosting sales – we recommend implementing a strategic digital sampling campaign this season.

Product sampling not only presents a great experience for consumers, but helps your brand spread awareness, generate fresh reviews to instill buyer confidence, and influence consumers’ path to purchase –  whether they’re adding your product to their wishlist or purchasing as a gift for a loved one. When consumers are given an opportunity to try a sample, they are able to make a confident and educated decision about the product. Combine sampling with a positive, engaging brand experience and you’ll be rewarded with consumers who are 4X more likely to purchase your product (​​Meiyume).


Why you should consider holiday sampling

  • Advertisements that stand out: In a time when consumers are overwhelmed with holiday media, a sample offer will allow your ad to stand out amongst the cluttered holiday marketplace, while incentivizing consumers to try your brand or product.
  • Collect opt-ins for future marketing: Digital sampling allows you to collect opt-ins from engaged consumers, giving you the opportunity to remarket throughout the season, keeping consumers up to date on seasonal sales and promotions.
  • Collect reviews to instill purchase confidence: One excellent by-product of sampling campaigns? Reviews. Collecting reviews ahead of the holidays as consumers are searching for gifts will instill purchase confidence in first time buyers.
  • Prime consumers for purchase: Sampling campaigns introduce your product to new audiences while driving engagement and building education. Often, campaigns include special offers and other purchase incentives which will keep your product top of mind as participants plan their holiday purchases.

How to plan your campaign

Spread awareness ahead of shopping holidays

In order to spread awareness and prime consumers for holiday purchases ahead of key holiday shopping days, such as Single’s Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday we recommend launching your sampling initiative in early September.

Launching in September will allow enough time for participating consumers to receive and try their sample and plan purchases ahead of Single’s Day and the holiday season.

Furthermore, launching a campaign earlier in the season also allows you to apply the campaign learnings to the rest of the season.

Mid-season campaigns to drive in-store traffic and last minute purchases

November and December are the perfect time for in-store pick up sampling campaigns. Since there is no fulfillment or shipping directly to consumers, these campaigns can be activated during peak shopping periods in order to drive traffic in-store or to a Holiday pop-up. Unlike a traditional digital campaign, consumers have the opportunity to pick up their sample as soon as they submit their sample request. This option will keep gifting top of mind at peak purchase times and shopping moments in-store.

Post-trial engagement: influencing conversion

Including Post-trial engagement in your sampling campaign is particularly important during this time of year. We want to ensure that consumers are engaged and well educated on the product. abeo’s sampling campaigns include an engaging email experience to welcome consumers to the brand, drive product education, and influence calls-to-action. As a part of this experience, in order to influence purchase and build loyalty, we recommend that our partners reward engaged campaign participants with a special holiday offer or coupon, exclusive early access to Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, or offer free express shipping on full-size purchases if they’re shopping late in the season.

Additional considerations for media, creative and content

The abundance of advertisements during this time can be overwhelming to consumers. In order to ensure they do not scroll past your sample offer, we recommend leveraging GIFs and video to stop their thumb, using creative that leads with an instantly recognizable product or that represents the offer being made in a visual way, and ensuring that your headline is action oriented and your call-to-action is clear.

The content of your sampling campaign also makes a tremendous impact and can be key to building long term loyalty. We encourage our partners to move away from a transactional experience to an educational experience that focuses on welcoming consumers to the brand and expressing gratitude for their participation in the campaign. This includes downplaying order and shipping details while reinforcing product benefits, providing deeper context on the brand, teasing future benefits of a relationship with a brand, and incorporating exciting imagery and videos.

  • lean into the idea of gifting and expand the reach of your campaign with no additional media cost: abeo offers our partners an email add-on, gift-a-friend, that ties perfectly into the idea of gifting. This technology allows engaged sample campaign participants the option to share a sample with a friend, expanding the reach of your campaign with no additional media cost. 

For more best practices or to activate a holiday digital sampling campaign, speak to a sampling expert!


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