The holiday shopping season has now begun, and becomes most active in the first ten days of December. According to Facebook’s internal data, 58% of people buy presents before the start of the final month of the year.
It’s now high time to share your products with the audience who’ll be interested in your ideas and any advantageous offers.
November’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday fit well into the above sales graph. In 2018 more brands paid attention to marketing activities for holiday-related items before Black Friday, with 13 percent even saying they would start such advertising before October began.
Everybody feels holiday vibes: bids at ads auctions grow as do queues in shops. Says Kristina Polyakova, Mobile Marketing Manager at OZON.ru:
“During the holidays, platforms are saturated with advertising activities. Advertisers want to attract customers at all costs, while often sacrificing their indicators of quality. This leads to “overheating” of auction bids, and cost per click can increase up to 30%.”
When to start on holiday campaigns?
Prepare your Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year ads in advance; they will remain relevant for a long time – people continue looking for presents even after a holiday has finished. This is key: if you haven’t been thinking about your holiday ads yet, get moving right now.
Kirill Ukhov, a Head of Display at KupiVIP Group, recommends that you not only run ads for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but also have your own quarterly/monthly promotions and advertising campaigns for their support running in advance, so you can increase the retargeting traffic with the very high conversion period of the promotion.
OZON.ru suggests building predictive models of what consumers can be interested in and wrap it up in ad campaign package, generating gift ideas.
“You should start preparing for holidays in advance,” agrees Kristina Polyakova. “All major e-commerce start involving customers in the funnel long before the day. For instance, this year the Black Friday discount rehearsal has started at the end of October. At the same time we started preparing some activity at Twitter that will turn into a New Year campaign.”
Which formats to use?
First of all, use ad formats that suit and fit mobile devices. According to Facebook statistics, last year conversions on mobile during the holiday season surpassed those on desktop. During this time, users are busy with ordinary affairs and simultaneously begin looking for presents, on the go.
In its holiday practice OZON.ru successfully uses formats suitable any time: Carousel, Stories, video.
“Compared to other formats in the pre-holiday period, Carousel and Stories perform the best - you can display a wide range of goods and offers,” says Kristina Polyakova. “In this case, CR is 20% higher in comparison to other tools. We also try to expand our production using videos and gif images.”
By using Messenger you can talk to a client, offer individual discounts, and create the effect of personal communication. Have a look at how Facebook’s Messenger bot works: it gives advices on holiday marketing preparation. Utilise this interactive method in your campaigns to advertise your products in a friendly way and learn the audience preferences.
Instant Experience allows users to view a part of your product catalogue without having to leave the social network.
In our view, Dynamic Ads are mandatory for all e-commerce campaigns. Based on your product feed, Facebook’s algorithms choose goods to show users by analysing their engagement with a brand, e.g. their purchase history or what they added to cart. This improves your ads’ relevance. Also, target your dynamic campaigns Catalogue Sales to broad audiences who are unfamiliar with your brand – you could engage new users.
KupiVIP uses video as its main format for holiday campaigns. According to Kirill Ukhov, the company prefers a video to any static pictures, even customised to the event.
To immerse users deep in the holiday atmosphere and increase awareness of your brand, use Video 360. Such videos are immersive and connected to emotional perception.
What to show in creatives?
The universal rule: customise creatives both for a holiday and for your audience. Facebook offers the easiest route to thematic customisation in Video creation kit, where holiday templates for slideshow creation are provided.
Our second tip: entertain your audience. People are set up and looking for fun in the lead up to and during the holidays. So utilise those emotions: show your product from a new angle, joke more in your ads. Any product suits any holiday – even if we talk about dog food on St. Valentine’s Day. In that case, you could use the theme of love between pets and their owners.
Kristina Polyakova says:
“Whatever your business objective is – increasing sales, an acquaintance with a brand or service – do not miss out on a single media opportunity. Use the maximum possibilities for your products to meet customers’ needs, teaching them to return to your brand over and over again.”
(Dis)count your blessings for the holidays: nothing attracts an audience which is actively looking for presents better than feeling like they are getting something good for less. Facebook discovered that 50% of people want to see Stories where brands notify them about discounts and special offers*.
To gauge which products cause greatest interest among your audience, tag a subpage of each onsale product on your website with standard events of Facebook Pixel and watch it being added to cart and its conversions.
Select the colour palette of your creative in accordance with the holiday: Black Friday speaks for itself, and as for New Year and Christmas red and green are usually used. If colours do not match with your brand, think about how to organically include the festive atmosphere in your creatives.
As OZON.ru reminds us, it is mandatory to maintain your brand integrity across all platforms and channels across such global holidays as Back to School, Black Friday, and Christmas.
For the new season Facebook has launched additional opportunities in a tool: now you can customise overlays creating holidays templates, frames, and titles. Custom overlays can be useful not only during festive seasons.
It’s a sensible strategy to show sales products in your ads, but ensure you only display the products that are available for purchase. Be sincere with your audience and never use an attractive offer that can’t be actualised.
How to call users to purchase?
Directly. You are running your ads during a period of time when people are ready to make purchases, are primed to press that “Buy now!” button when they see something they like. Your ad content must lead directly to CTA.
Highlight the main message of your ad, make it clear, unambiguous and easy to understand. It should be one of the most obvious elements of your creative. Write about huge sales in large letters so nobody can miss them.
How to set up targeting?
On holidays people are buying things not only for themselves, but many others too. Keep that in mind setting up targeting. Along with your main audience, try to attract those for whom your products may not be intended. For instance, caring wives usually buy men’s products as New Year’s gifts, so keep that in mind by targeting such products to Women 30–35 years old.
To broaden your current audience reach in targeting by interests on Facebook, use additional keywords referring to holidays.
When using narrow targeting options don’t forget to put a tick on Expand Interests for campaigns with goals like Conversions, App Install, Lead Generation, Post Engagement, or Traffic. It helps Facebook find more people who will make conversions by a price optimal for you, including and excluding new audiences.
In the festive three-month bustle, do not forget about the main audience showing interest in your product. People who buy expensive goods regularly are your most valuable target audience. You should create Lookalike audiences by average purchase and bid higher on ad sets targeted to the most valuable clients.
What else should we pay attention to?
To ensure yourself against an unexpected rise of an advertising bid and in order to increase ad effectiveness at auctions, set rules of ad automation. It will help you keep everything under control. Don’t let your ad account run away with itself. You need to consciously set your own rules.
Apply our recommendations on targeting, placement and creatives and regularly check what is happening in ad sets, so your holiday advertising will not only work for the audience. It will bring you the best holiday gifts.
Ekaterina Gaponova, Senior Clients Success Manager at Aitarget, sums up the holiday fever:
“If you believe in the conspiracy theories, the holidays were invented by marketers and advertisers. There is some truth there: at least in so far as large e-commerce brands adapt the pre-holiday bustle to their business goals successfully. Seasonal sales, special promotions, discounts on festive goods – do not miss out on the opportunity to effectively tell users about your offers. How? With vivid creatives (specify price and discount percentages in your ads – it still works very well) and relevant targeting. Use Facebook tools such as Lookalike audiences for prospecting and DPA campaigns for retargeting.”
*Internal Facebook data