Breaking Down H&M’s Winning Ad Tactics

April 19, 2023

If there's one thing H&M is known for besides their trendy clothing, it's their clever and creative advertising campaigns. 

From breathtaking models in trendy outfits to visually stunning imagery, H&M has consistently produced ads that captivate and engage their audience, leading them to become one of the world’s leading clothing brands. 

On that note, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at precisely what’s so great about their ads to help you learn how you can improve your next advertising campaign. 

Below, we're diving into the elements that make H&M’s ads effective, and highlighting a few areas where they could push the envelope even further.

So whether you're a fashion enthusiast or simply a fan of compelling marketing, you won't want to miss this exploration of H&M's advertising prowess.

Let’s go! 

50% of H&M ads are static videos, 30% are static images, and 20% are dynamic product ads (DPAs) 

When it comes to their advertising strategy, H&M’s ad formats are as varied as their clothing collections, consisting of a mix of dynamic and static ads. 

Interestingly, only 20% of their ads are dynamic product ads, despite the fact that DPAs are one of the best ad formats out there. 

Meanwhile, static videos make up 50% of all their advertising efforts. 

These videos are unique in that they are essentially images with a video background, featuring overlays of text and the H&M logo that remain consistent throughout the video. 

But we’ll discuss their choice of overlays in a minute. 

Finally, the remaining 30% of their ads are static images, which are perfect for highlighting one specific product or message at a time.

With this diverse mix of advertising formats, H&M is able to reach a wide range of consumers and engage them in different ways.

But what else can we learn from them?

Other than DPAs, all H&M ads use the same layout

If you follow H&M on social media, you've probably noticed that their ads follow a particular layout for their Dynamic Product Ads, which include a snippet of text in the center of the ad, and the H&M logo below. 

But what's so good about this?

It's a great overlay choice because it makes it super easy for their marketers to A/B test different images or messages to find out what resonates best with their intended audience. 

But more importantly, this layout is one of the overall top-performing layouts in the industry! 

58% of H&M ads talk about new products

Yes, you heard that right! The best-performing layout in the industry!

But even though this layout works great in most cases, it’s not necessarily the best choice when it comes to ad messages that highlight new products.

In fact, when it comes to showcasing new products, this layout actually falls to the third-best performer.

Unfortunately, this is an issue for H&M since a whopping 58% of their ads fall under the new product category. 

But fear not, as we take a closer look at their latest advertising campaign, we'll see if H&M has been able to up their game in this area.

They adjust their ad colors based on seasonality and message

When creating compelling ads, color theory also plays an important role in the way people see and perceive your content. 

And that’s precisely why H&M choose their ad colors based on seasonality and messaging. 

For instance, when advertising their summer lineups, the brand uses lighter, brighter content, which tends to be less effective in the winter. 

Conversely, during the winter, they tend to use darker colors, which are seasonally more effective, particularly when creating Black Friday ad content.

On a similar note, whenever H&M displays a sales ad, they do the right thing by choosing vibrant flashy, bright red backgrounds, ensuring people will notice the content.  

But using bright red for sales content isn’t just our preference, it’s a fact that sale ads that use bright, vibrant colors perform 27% better than sale ads that use natural or muted tones.


For sales and discounts, H&M uses specific numbers

Aside from seasonal, eye-catching colors, H&M also ensures their sales messages will resonate by using specific numbers when it comes to discounts or savings.

Let’s think about it for a second: 

Would you rather click on an ad that says something vague like “further reductions” or an ad that tells you specifically how much money you can save? 

That’s what we thought! 

More importantly, sale ads that include specific numbers for discounts and savings perform 38% better than ads that don't! 

H&M’s dynamic product ads include a lot of info

Despite being one of their least used ad formats, it’s also worth mentioning that H&M’s dynamic product ads include a lot of information. 

DPAs are great because they look nice, and can show your viewers a wider range of products that might suit their tastes. 

But when you pair this A+ ad format with all the information a person might need to inform their buying decision, you’ve got yourself a winning combination! 

You see, people won’t ever make a buying decision based solely on looking at a product. 

So when you combine images with all other relevant information, such as price, size, color, in or out of stock, etc., you’re providing potential customers with the information they’d be looking for anyway!  

Breaking down H&M’s great ads that sell

In the end, H&M's advertising tactics are a masterclass in effective marketing. 

By utilizing the best performing ad layouts and always including relevant information in their dynamic product ads, this company consistently creates ad content that resonates with their audience. 

Furthermore, their use of color theory shows that they have a deep understanding of how colors can evoke different emotions and tie into seasonal trends. 

All in all, H&M has shown us that they are a savvy retailer that knows how to optimize their ads to have the maximum impact on their customers. 

And with this level of attention to detail and dedication to quality, it's no wonder that H&M's advertising campaigns continue to captivate and engage audiences worldwide.

Data section:

The dataset for this article is based on 3.85B+ impressions and 33.737 pieces of content for the period of Oct 10 2021 - July 6 2022. It takes into account data from all countries and industries, with the campaign objective of Conversions only. 

We also used H&M’s Facebook ad library as of August 9 2022, limited to the United Kingdom to compare the brand’s best practices with our dataset. Numbers are looking at correlation only, not causation. 

Remember to check your own data: numbers for different brands, industries, and contexts will vary.