With the holiday season accounting for nearly 30% of annual purchases, it’s a time of intense competition between sellers for traffic and sales. One way to stay ahead of the game is through Facebook and Instagram advertising.
Ideally, you should have started building your holiday season advertising funnel by mid-September.
But even if you’re late to the game, here are 8 high-impact Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns that you can start today to get up to speed. And if you are already advertising on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll find some advanced audience segmentation ideas and creative suggestions to help you refine your strategy further.
Before we get started, let’s run through the 4 basics that are required for every ad campaign: audience, offer, creative and budget.
This can be divided into:
Tip: Check the size of each audience when you are setting up your Facebook campaigns. For an ad to be effective, your audience size should be at least 1000 for retargeting (hot or warm audience) and 1 million for a cold audience.
This is usually a discount or an exclusive offer. It could be a store-wide sale, a coupon, a daily deal, a BOGO offer, tiered pricing, bundles or a number of other variations. Keep in mind that during the holiday season, buyers expect big discounts. You could consider starting on your cold audience without a discount and then retargeting them with a discount once they are in your funnel.
Tip: Plan your entire funnel when you set your discount. For instance if you set a 65% store-wide sale, you may not leave yourself the ability to offer VIP customers or cart abandoners a further discount of 10%. It would be better to set a 50% sale so you can further discount for specific audience segments later.
This is the busiest time of the year for online stores as buyers try to complete their purchases by the 15th of December for guaranteed delivery of their packages by Christmas.
This is what your audience sees. It needs to resonate with them on an emotional level.
Graphic: Designed graphics tend to perform better than simple product images. Simply adding a discount, coupon code or text like "Best Seller" to your graphic could make all the difference to your conversion rate. This is especially true for Instagram where the captions are de-emphasized and often missed by buyers.
We have found that designed graphics can lead to an increase of up to 30% in ROAS (Return On Ad Spend).
Copy: This should echo your graphic. If your graphic says "Best Seller", your copy can emphasize that by mentioning that the products are selling out fast and that only limited quantities are available.
Tip: Use urgency, scarcity or FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in your copy for best results. Think “Limited Stock”, “Selling Out Fast”, “Sale Ending this Weekend” or “Today Only”.
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Here are some general guidelines for setting the daily budget for your ad sets.
Tip: Once Facebook has had a chance to optimize your ad’s performance and finish its learning phase (48-72 hours), you can increase the budget for ad sets that perform well and decrease the budget for the ad sets that don’t. We recommend changing the budget in increments of 15% to 20% every 8 to 24 hours.
Now that we’re done with the basics. Let’s dive into the 8 campaigns that you should run this holiday season.
Advertising for the holidays is quite different from running ads during the rest of the year. The ad costs and competition for qualified buyers is very high. Plus, there are multiple big shopping events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Hanukkah, Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year.
We’ve broken the entire holiday season into 5 distinct phases to help you plan and better manage ad costs. Each phase represents a different challenge and we’ll discuss 1 or 2 campaign ideas per phase to address these challenges.
Now let’s dig deep into each of these 5 phases of advertising.
The cost of Facebook advertising tends to start rising in early November, peaking during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) week. So what can we do to optimize our advertising spend during the holiday season?
i) Fill the top of the funnel with as many new potential buyers (cold audiences) as we can early on in the holiday season. Re-engaging them with retargeting ads later will be cheaper than targeting cold audiences later in the season.
ii) Re-engage past visitors and buyers (all hot and warm audiences) before the holidays, and reinforce brand recognition and recall.
Tip: Use a mix of transactional ads (geared towards immediate sales with creatives highlighting discounts or urgency) and brand building ads (establishing brand recall with best sellers, new arrivals, customer reviews, blog posts). Pre-established brand awareness combined with effective creatives helps boost the click through rate during the retargeting phase of the funnel.
Campaigns: For this phase, we recommend the following 2 campaigns:
*Sellers sometimes use Add-to-cart (ATC) as the objective as it is cheaper, but we recommend Purchase as using ATC results in Facebook optimizing for people who add to cart, but may not always purchase.
**Make multiple ad sets of different audiences to test efficacy of each audience. For example, you could have different ad sets for age ranges 18-24, 25-35, 36-45.
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Tip 1: Make sure you include at least 10 products for a carousel ad.
*Your pixel only has data for the past 6 months. Upload a file with all your past buyers and retarget them now.
Tip: If you are running a new discount, you could consider removing purchasers in the last 7 days to avoid returns.
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The cost of advertising is now rising fast. Our aim this week is to continue to grow the top of our funnel with new customers, and to start pushing sales to our existing customers and VIP segments.
Segment your Facebook audiences based on the category of products that they have viewed or purchased from previously, and personalize the creative for each audience segment. For instance, a jewelry shop could have separate audiences for buyers of rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces.You could also give your VIP customers (or all past customers) early access to the same offer that you plan on giving during BFCM week.
*If you are promoting 3 categories, you’ll have 6 ad sets.
Example (creative targeting audience who viewed the ‘ring’ category in a shop):
🤐 Shhh...we won’t tell her that you got these stunning rings at 40% OFF!!Use coupon FAB40 at checkout.
Prep needed: Make an audience of all your past buyers or VIP buyers.
Tip: Emphasize that this is your best BFCM deal and add urgency around availability
Bonus Tip: Communicating the same deal via email and other channels will help reinforce the message and push up the Click Through Rate (CTR).
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Lucky Brand works this in through their email marketing, sending in a special email to their VIP customers.
Ad costs on Facebook and Instagram have now reached their peak. The main challenge now is to compete for impressions, clicks and conversions while keeping your ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) profitable.
Run your best offers using catalogs and retarget all the pixel audience that you’ve worked hard to warm up during the last 3-4 weeks. Make sure you emphasize your offer in the creative.
Increase your budget to 3 to 4 times your usual retargeting budget. If you have any leftover budget, use this to target your past purchasers and your best performing cold audiences.
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Are you ready for the biggest sale of the year? 😲65% OFF entire store, no restrictions!!Rush, offer ends Nov 26th, 11:59pm 🏃🏃
This is the busiest time of the year for online stores as buyers try to complete their purchases by the 15th of December for guaranteed delivery of their packages by Christmas.This is the time to cash in on the traffic you’ve been building during the previous 3 phases. The problem? Buyers are being bombarded by deals, each more extravagant than the last. How do you compete without compromising on profitability?
Try running a Deal of the Day. Choose one product to discount heavily every day, and have a lesser discount on other items. Use the heavily discounted product as bait to drive traffic to your store. Even if you don’t make a profit on this one item, try and make up for it by using product recommendations and other up-sell techniques to increase the final order value.
Campaign: Run a series of Daily Deals on popular items for the first 12 days of December. Once your customer visits your store, try to up-sell with more profitable products. You can limit the number of items available under the offer (offer valid for first 50 order only) to manage costs.
Tip: Try a different creative for every day’s deal to minimize ad fatigue.
* Make sure you also promote that day’s deal through organic social media posts, email marketing, and any other channel like messenger that you use to communicate with your customers.
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Tip: Use the carousel ad format so you can lead with the highly discounted deal and follow up with lesser deals.
By the 13th of December, online shopping enters its last phase and the main concern of shoppers now is making sure that they receive their package in time for Christmas.
Calculate the last day by which you can ship to ensure timely delivery (make sure you account for delayed shipping times due to the holiday rush), and communicate this clearly to buyers. If you offer expedited shipping to extend the buying period, make sure you include that in your messaging.Finally, double down on retargeting and then allocate any left-over budget to cold audiences.
Tip: Consider offering free expedited shipping as an added incentive for last minute shoppers.
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This might seem overwhelming or hard to follow, but take a deep breath, read the article a couple of times, make some notes and you'll feel completely in control of your holiday marketing.
And if you still have any doubts or questions about how to relate these campaigns to your store, drop me a note in the comment section below and I’ll be happy to help.
Wish you a merry and profitable holiday season!
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