The Best Performing Holiday Content Trends on Social Media

Your Instagram holiday strategy is in full swing but you're noticing that it could still use some fine-tuning? Below is a breakdown of the current highest performing content trends on IG this season.

Grab some eggnog and your note pad.


Best performing holiday content trends on social media Instagram marketing strategyIt's the most wonderful time of the year.

The holiday season is the prime time of year for brand competition. Companies battle it out for exposure through strategic marketing efforts, especially online where the space is becoming more crowded, and most digital marketers are forever plagued by the fear of not being able to stand out. One way to ensure that you're leading the pack and not trailing behind is to stay on top of content trends. These Instagram content trends are continually evolving, and it’s important to keep up to understand what’s resonating with your community in order to better engage.

Not all brands are going to find success with the same type of holiday content, but most will be able to pull from the overarching trends to help guide their aesthetic choices. To assess what the current festive trending visuals are, we analyzed posts from across a variety of different brands focusing on yuletide cheer, and watched closely as themes started to emerge.

After organizing the data based on engagement, we identified 4 different varieties of holiday content that are driving the most likes and comments. It's important to reiterate that not all brands devise festive strategies during this time of year, which was crucial to bear in mind when screening for trending content. Only things merry and bright were to be considered and measured!🎄

What we discovered is that these trends surfaced across the board for both special activations and non campaign-related posts. This could only mean that there is a strong affinity for certain types of shots regardless of the brand and/or the campaign itself. Without further ado, here is 2016’s most engaged-around type of Holiday Insta Content. Merry Christmas!

1. Hot Drinks… In Your Pajamas

If you live on Insta (like us, tee hee) then you have most definitely witnessed this trend. Typically shot from above, these posts depict a cozy scene that instantly transports the viewer to a happy place. Bonus: this image composition offers brands the flexibility to feature a myriad of different products. LL Bean, Urban Outfitters, and J.Crew’s top performing holiday content so far this season all featured this style of shot.

The present is the pajamas. The gift is the perfect morning. #BeyondThePresent (Photo: @jackiegreaney)

A photo posted by L.L.Bean (@llbean) on

Parade-watching looks. #UOHome #UOonYou @UrbanOutfittersEU 📷: @isabellath

A photo posted by Urban Outfitters (@urbanoutfitters) on



2. Winter Foliage

Sticking with the foliage trend, as seen in the most popular Instagram content trends of 2016, we noticed a clear holiday verdure movement when digging into recent engagement. Not only does it offer a nice way to break up product posts, but it also aligns more with a brand's lifestyle facet. Anthropologie, Glitter Guide, and One King’s Lane all saw their highest engagement on posts featuring winter greens.

No one decks the halls (and doors) quite like @shopterrain. #holidayinspiration #anthroholidays

A photo posted by Anthropologie (@anthropologie) on

The best kind of poinsettias 💕 #pinkflashesofdelight by @caitlinkruse

A photo posted by Glitter Guide (@glitterguide) on

Holiday charm in San Fran. 💕🌿 [Thanks for sharing your #WhereToFindMe snap, @molly.pollet!] #regram

A photo posted by One Kings Lane (@onekingslane) on



3. Snowy Scenes

A perk of living in the Northern hemisphere is the abundance of blizzardy snow globe-like Insta opps. Just like the foliage posts, this nature centric content trend offers brands a way to break up their galleries by taking a step back from pushy product posts. Everyone seems to love the snow in December - contrary to when the January blues cold weather fatigue sets in - so best to take advantage of wintery scenes while there's holiday magic in the air. Martha Stewart, Airbnb, and Free People all received their highest levels of engagement on this type of content.

Walkin' in a winter wonderland 😍❄️⛄️ (Photo from @bryangardnerphotography)

A photo posted by Martha Stewart (@marthastewart) on

Let. It. Snow. 🙌🏽 @fpchicago 📷: @thenorthernnomads

A photo posted by freepeople (@freepeople) on




4. London Lights

Last year, we discovered that bright lights were Harrods' most successful holiday content pillar. Spoiler alert: history is repeating itself. Nothing like sparkles in the night to spread seasonal cheer. We also discovered that other British brands were experiencing a similar fad in terms of post performance. It has to be said - Instagram users can’t get enough of London’s lights. Topshop, Harrods, and Selfridges have reached engagement peaks this holiday season with these images.

This view never gets old ✨Photo: @sophieantropik

A photo posted by Topshop (@topshop) on

The #OxfordStreet lights are on, making #SelfridgesLondon even more festive. Thanks for sharing @samross_ #SelfridgesChristmas

A photo posted by Selfridges (@theofficialselfridges) on




If you’re looking to fill your feed this holiday season, be sure to consider the above. And for all of you 2017 planners, don't forget that these learnings can also be applied to campaigns. Interestingly enough, only one of these content trends was product-focused (hot drinks in pajamas we’re looking at you), which is a great insight into what people are connecting with. It's pretty clear that what's resonating the most with users are festive visuals that pertain to aesthetics and provide inspiration, validating yet again that authenticity reigns supreme on IG.

Lastly, it’s important to understand that many of these posts are #regrammed pieces of content from other accounts. Dash Hudson can help you with all of that, aiding in analyzing content and efficiently sourcing top quality images to repurpose. Our tools will also help you make the most of your Instagram holiday strategy, in both an executional and measuring capacity. Time to get cracking!


If you’re looking to source content, analyze your own posts, and drive engagement, hit us up STAT! And don't forget to sign up below to get our blog in your inbox - the treats land once a week.