5 Types of Engaging Thanksgiving Campaigns


Vikas Bysani

November 25, 2014 5 min read

Updated on November 6, 2017

The biggest day of the year for retailers is coming up this Friday, but before we get to that, brands have been ramping up their Thanksgiving content like never before. In the last thirty days alone, there has been over 6,700 posts on Facebook from brands in North America that mention Thanksgiving. Compare this to the 5,720 posts from the same period last year and we have a 12% increase in content.



Meanwhile, the increasing importance of Twitter to brands in 2014 becomes more apparent when we look at the amount of Thanksgiving related content that has been tweeted. In the last thirty days, over 14,000 tweets about Thanksgiving have been sent by brands, 42% more than in the same period in 2013.


As we enter the last two days before Thanksgiving, here’s a quick look back at what brands were doing this time last year. Maybe this will give you some last minute inspiration to bump up your engagement on your Thanksgiving campaign this year.

#MacysParade by Macy’s

This year will be Macy’s 88th Annual Parade. This time honored tradition was extensively covered by Macy’s on its Facebook where its fourteen posts received an average engagement score of 455, which is well over twice the average engagement that the brand normally receives for a campaign. In fact, amongst all the Thanksgiving campaigns run by Macy’s last year, the #MacysParade is amongst the top in terms of engagement.


The Macy’s Annual Parade has become such a fixture that other non-competing brands have also leveraged the event. Some of the options to capitalize on the parade include covering the event or running a contest to win tickets to the event. Here’s some of the ways other brands have looked to cash in on Macy’s event.


Thanksgiving Feast by Whole Foods

Last year, Whole Foods shared recipes under the campaign name “Thanksgiving Feast”. A total of 8 posts were made, which received a total of 6,125 likes, 329 Comments and was shared 963 times.

Brands like Betty Crocker, Bisquick & Pillsbury have already started to share recipes on their Facebook Page and are receiving massive amounts of engagement.

Bisquick is actually pinning their recipes to Pinterest first and then reposting the content to Facebook, helping to drive growth and engagement on a platform where recipe content does very well, while also getting extra mileage from the content by posting it on Facebook.

Cranberry Fiesta Salsa by Ocean Spray

The words ‘Contest’, ‘Free’ and ‘Win’ usually receive huge amounts of engagement through the year, but this is especially true during Holidays and Events. A brand looking to boost engagement can definitely consider running a contest during the Thanksgiving buildup. This post on Ocean Spray’s Facebook page announcing the contest saw the highest engagement amongst other posts during the Thanksgiving period.

The post received an engagement score of 1,000, which is much higher than Ocean Spray’s typical engagement score of 475, and higher than the industry average score of 294 during the same period.

Butterball Hotline by Butterball

This unusual Thanksgiving campaign from one of the best known turkey brands in the country could be called an “Expert Advice” type of campaign where the goal is to position the brand as the go to expert for all things Thanksgiving. Last year Butterball promoted its hotline and Twitter handle across all of its social channels.




Encouraging followers and customers to get their questions and queries answered by a Butterball expert, this form of campaign increases both offline and online engagement, as any form of interaction between a brand and its followers is termed as engagement. Any brand can run this kind of campaign to interact more with their community and grow their follower base. Although Butterball didn’t see a spike in growth rate, it did see 9.9% increase in followers on Twitter while it ran this campaign, as the chart below shows.




Here’s how a typical question might look, during the 30 days before Thanksgiving, Butterball answered over 239 questions with an average reply time of 1 hour 45 minutes.




Favorite Caramel Recipe by Werther’s Original

This campaign by Werther’s Original falls under the category of User Generated Campaigns. In this particular campaign, Werther’s Original asks followers to share their favorite caramel recipe on a  microsite they had created.

This type of campaign gives followers a platform to showcase themselves and feel more connected to the brand. As mentioned before, any form of interaction between a brand and a customer counts as engagement. You can take your own spin on User Generated Campaigns and make it a contest, thereby giving users more of an incentive, a good example will be the Thanksgiving contest by MyHeritage, where the winner receives an Amazon Kindle.

Every year brands show us how creative they can get when it comes to driving engagement and as mentioned before, the amount of Thanksgiving content is increasing on social media. We here at Unmetric can’t wait to see what brands have in store for this Thanksgiving and Black Friday.


The Engagement Score calculation is based on the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and estimated impressions, so a page with a lower fan base can still have a better engagement score than a page with a huge fan base even if they don’t get as many interactions.

All data has been compiled and analyzed using Discover which helps content creators like you to find anything a brand has ever said about any topic by searching through 500,000,000+ items of branded content published by over 100,000 major brands over the last 5 years.

Plan more engaging content and evaluate brand performance

Choose Unmetric to get insights and 7 years of brand data that helps you improve your content engagement.

Learn How