How PayPal’s 2020 Holiday Campaign Increased Web Traffic by +32% YoY

Content & Messaging
Cross-Channel
Advertising
Display Ads
Facebook
September 28, 2021
Financial Services

Key Takeaways

In November 2020, PayPal launched a sentimental holiday campaign "Make It One to Remember".  The campaign included a 1-minute hero video and five 15-second videos which captured the stories of different families making the best out of their holiday season despite the COVID-19 restrictions. The hero video tied for second place on Ad Age's 2020 Top 10 Holiday Ads for its list for its authentic emotion and natural tie to the brand. 

The holiday campaign resulted in a +32% increase in website traffic and a +38% increase in MAU relative to the 2019 holiday season in the US. 

Holiday Campaign — Creative Strategy:

  • Agency Partner: PayPal commissioned Tongal to produce 137 videos for the campaign, which featured five of their products and were localized for eight countries.
  • Authentic Emotional Connection: Ads in 2020 focused on provoking heartfelt, wholesome, soothing and energetic emotions and had a decrease in humour and value relative to 2019. PayPal's campaign created authentic emotional connections with the viewer by celebrating different stories of families making the best out of the holiday season while being mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Holiday Campaign — Campaign Timing: PayPal launched the "Make It One to Remember" campaign in November 2020 and increased their ad spend by +102% and +52% in November and December, respectively. From November to January, PayPal allocated 34% of its total spend on the last two weeks of December. 

Holiday Campaign — Budget Allocation: From November to January, 12% of all ad spend was allocated to “Make It One to Remember” campaign, which predominantly ran on Facebook (61%), followed by Instagram (19%). 

Holiday Campaign — Digital Campaign: PayPal aired the “Make It One to Remember” holiday campaign on NBCUniversal channels and digitally on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Display in the US. PayPal optimized the campaign creative across all platforms. Ads promoted their Pay in 4, Pay with Rewards, donation features and encouraged shoppers to shop safely online. PayPal used display video ads on student learning sites such as brainly.com and quizlet.com to target a younger demographic. Creatives used strong CTAs such as “shop now” and “learn more” to drive clicks.

The 2020 holiday season offered a unique challenge for marketers to produce noteworthy campaigns that showcased the holiday spirit while being mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Top ads in the 2020 holiday season focused on value (33%), soothing (31%), wholesome (26%), and narrative (26%).  

2020's Seasonal Ads Evoke Classic Holiday Emotions

When looking at 2020’s emotional metrics relative to 2019’s, holiday ads had the greatest increase in heartfelt (+8%), wholesome (+8%), and soothing (+13%) emotions and the greatest decreased in funny (-7%), and value (-6%) emotions.

2020's Seasonal Ads Evoke Classic Holiday Emotions

Riding the e-commerce wave in 2020, PayPal released the sentimental holiday campaign, “Make It One to Remember”, that first aired on November 9th, 2020.

The campaign was commissioned by Tongal and its global team of independent creatives, to produce 137 videos for the campaign, which featured five of their products and were localized for eight countries.

The campaign included a 60-second hero video ad, in which a dad uses PayPal to purchase all the things he needs to bring Nutcracker ballet home for his daughter. The ad tied for second place on Ad Age's 2020 Top 10 Holiday Ads list for its authentic emotion and natural tie to the brand (source).

In addition to the hero ad, the campaign included five, 15-second videos, which captured the stories of different families making the best out of their holiday season despite the COVID-19 restrictions. 

“In such an unprecedented year, we knew the holidays would look a little different, and people will celebrate traditions in new ways and in some cases be virtually together”
 “We wanted our campaign to celebrate the real stories of real families whose inventiveness will undoubtedly make this holiday season one to remember.” 

- Jill Cress, Consumer Marketing at PayPal

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During the 2020 holiday season, Paypal had a +32% increase in website traffic in the US relative to the 2019 holiday season. 

In addition to web traffic, PayPal had a +65% YoY increase in their monthly active app users* in December 2020. 

Directional data including Apple and Google app users in the US

In November 2020, PayPal increased its total digital advertising spend by +102% MoM, and then increased it again by +52% in December. From November to December, PayPal allocated 34% of its total spend on the last two weeks of December.

Ad Spend does not include search ad spend

PayPal aired the “Make It One to Remember” holiday campaign on NBCUniversal channels and digitally on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Display in the US. During this time, 12% of all ad spend was allocated to “Make It One to Remember” campaign, which predominantly ran on Facebook (61%). 

21% of PayPal’s Facebook holiday ad spend went towards link post ads that linked to the product page on PayPal’s site, based on the features mentioned in the ad. The campaign resulted in+30M impressions at a CPM of $9.48. 

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PayPal ran four videos as in-stream video ads on Facebook, which made up 79% of their Facebook holiday ad spend. The videos resulted in +112M impressions at a CPM of $9.47. The videos were optimized for mobile devices by appearing vertically (4:5).

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On Instagram, PayPal ran the “Make It One to Remember” campaign creative as single image ads and utilized the six campaign videos as vertical (4:5) and landscape (1.9:1) video ads. Ads focus on promoting their Pay in 4 and donate feature. 

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PayPal allocated 32% of their holiday YouTube ad spend to promote the following three 15-second campaign videos as in-stream ads. These ads focused on PayPal’s Pay in 4, Pay with Rewards and their donation feature.  

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Additionally PayPal ran the hero campaign video “Make It One to Remember”, in 15-sec., 30-sec. and 1-min. ads slots on YouTube. These video ads made up 68% of their holiday ad spend on YouTube. The hero campaign video ads generated over +110M impressions at an average CPM of $0.60. 

'Make It One To Remember'

PayPal ran the 15-second campaign videos as Display Video ads, which resulted in +6.6M impressions at a CPM of $10.76. These display video ads targeted a younger demographic by appearing on student learning sites such as brainly.com and quizlet.com.

Utilizing the campaign photography, PayPal spent $120K on inline rectangle (300x250 px) Display Image ads. The ads promoted their credit card rewards, Pay in 4 feature and shopping safe. These inline rectangle ads resulted in +12.7M impressions at a CPM of $9.41. 

PayPal allocated $167K to the following four holiday leaderboard (728x90px) Display Image ads which resulted in +19.9M impressions at a CPM of $8.39. Creative utilized a strong CTA such as “Learn More” and “Shop Now”. 

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