The holiday season is the most profitable time of the year for almost all businesses. Advertisers rush to advertise their brands on Facebook and this increased demand results in higher advertising costs.
While being the most expensive time of the year to engage in advertising, it is also the most profitable, with click-through rates increasing by 100% and conversion rates by 60%.
Here are 9 strategies to help you navigate the holiday advertising landscape and get the most out of your Facebook advertising budget.
Schedule your ads in advance
The holidays are the busiest time of the year for Facebook advertising, so approving your ads might take a little bit longer than usual, especially if Facebook decides to do a manual review of your ads.
Manual review and approval usually takes about 24 hours. During the holidays, this can increase to up to 48 hours.
Take this into account when planning your campaigns and try to prepare and schedule your ads a few days before the holidays.
Pro tip: If you’re having problems getting your ads approved, make sure your ads are not suffering from one of these common issues:
Poor grammar and spelling - Make sure that your ad copy is grammatically correct and that you’ve spelled everything correctly. Grammarly can help you with this.
Prohibited content - Facebook does not allow advertising of tobacco products, weapons, explosives, adult products etc. You can check their complete guidelines here.
Trademarked or copyrighted content - Your ad won’t be approved if it features content which you don’t have the right to use.
Fake buttons - Don’t overlay static images with fake play buttons to make them seem like videos.
Display URL not matching actual URL - The URL that is displayed at the bottom of your ad needs to be the URL of the actual website that the visitors will be taken to after clicking on your ad.
If your ad isn’t making any of these mistakes and you believe that you’re not breaking any rules, fill out Facebook’s appeal form and explain your situation to their ad team.
Try out less popular ad placements
As advertisers flock to Facebook during the holidays, click prices will increase substantially. To decrease costs, you can try using less popular ad placements.
Facebook offers a total of 14 different ad placements, giving you plenty of options to try and avoid running your ads in all the same places as your competitors.
We suggest you experiment with running your ads in Facebook’s right column, as well as in Facebook and Instagram stories.
Pro tip: Instagram story ads, in particular, might be a good choice since a lot of advertisers are still staying clear of them, mostly due to time and budget constraints, but also due to a lack of experience. Brands such as Twosister’s and NinjApparel are some of the brands that have recently experimented with Instagram story ads and experienced great success.
Focus on warm audiences
Consider using the big holiday days to exclusively remarket to existing customers or people who have already interacted with your website or content in one way or another. You can use the days leading up to the big holidays to prime new customers and introduce them to your brand.
In order to target warm audiences, you will need to create a Custom Audience in Facebook’s Ad Manager. There are five different ways to create a custom audience in Facebook. We have listed these below, along with suggestions on how you can use them:
Customer file - You can use this option to create a custom audience by using a list of your customers’ email addresses.
Website - This option can be used to create an audience from people who have visited your website.
App activity - Use this to create an audience of people who have used your app.
Offline activity - This option is for creating an audience of people who have interacted with your business offline.
Engagement - This can be used to create a custom audience from people who engaged with your content (e.g watched one of your videos, visited your Facebook Page, sent a message to your Page etc.)
Pro tip: Try remarketing to visitors who have watched one of your videos. People who watch your videos are the most engaged part of your audience, which makes them perfect for remarketing. They are also one of the cheapest types of audiences for remarketing.
Design the best possible offer
You’ll be competing with a lot of advertisers during the holidays. In order to entice consumers to buy from you, you will need to prepare the best offer you can.
When it comes to Black Friday, most shoppers expect to get at least a 20% discount. Anything less than that will most likely not even be noticed.
Instead of discounts, you can also try offering free products, accessories or 2-for-1 deals. If you’re not doing this already, offer free shipping on all orders during the holidays.
Here’s an ad from Ashley Bridget promoting their Black Friday offer:
Use holiday-themed ads
Use holiday-themed ads to make shoppers associate your brand with a cheerful holiday spirit and view your products as potential gifts for spouses, family members, and friends. To do this, try incorporating the following into your ads:
Festive branding - Incorporate colors and visuals traditionally associated with holidays into your logo, banners, and promo images.
Holiday-specific copy - Avoid generic-sounding copy and call-to-action text and opt for something that is more in tune with the holiday season. Use separate campaigns for each holiday (e.g. one campaign for Black Friday and another one for Cyber Monday)
Here are some examples of holiday-themed ads from Loft and Dorothy Perkins:
Pro tip: Hunch Ads’ large database of design templates and images can help you create ad creatives quickly and at scale, even if you don’t have any design skills.
Create a sense of urgency
Try creating a sense of urgency in your ad copy to increase both click-through rates and conversion rates. This works by playing on consumer’s fear of missing out (FOMO). Here are some ways you can do this:
Stock level - If a product you’re advertising is low on stock, mention this in your ad copy (e.g. Only 12 left!)
Limited-quantity offer - If you’re offering a limited number of deals, make sure to mention this in your copy (e.g. Discount valid for first 100 customers only!)
Time-sensitive offer - If your offer expires on a certain date, mention it in the ad copy to entice users to purchase today (e.g. Offer ends on November 25th.)
Here’s an ad from Target that uses urgency to entice customers to make a purchase as soon as possible:
Personalize your advertising
Dynamic Product Ads allow you to create highly-relevant ads and target consumers at every stage of the sales funnel. With dynamic ads, you can target four different types of audiences:
Viewed or added to cart but not purchased - Use ads to show these people the products they viewed on your website again.
Added to cart but not purchased - Remind these shoppers that they have left products in their cart. Consider offering them a discount to entice them to complete their purchase.
Upsell products - Use this option to upsell more products to your recent customers.
Cross-sell products - Useful for cross-selling products from a specific category to recent customers.
Follow these steps to start using Dynamic Product Ads:
Create and upload your product catalogue - Your product catalogue contains all the products that you wish to promote on Facebook. To create a product catalogue, you can use a data feed or create it manually in a .XLS or .CSV file. Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce have options for easily creating your product catalogue for Facebook.
Add the Facebook pixel to your website - You can use Facebook’s developer’s guide to help you install the pixel correctly.
Create a dynamic ad template - You will need to create a dynamic ad template which will be used to generate each ad.
Run your ad campaign - After completing the previous three steps, you can start your dynamic ad campaign.
Pro tip: Try using Hunch Ads to create dynamic ads automatically. Hunch Ads can help you scale your targeting and creatives in a quick and efficient manner and improve the performance of your dynamic ads by up to 30%.
Use reviews to your advantage
Review-based ads have a 400% higher click-through rate than standard ads. Facebook offers two options for displaying reviews in your ads:
Website reviews - You can use these to reach people who haven’t shopped with you yet but might be enticed to do so after seeing positive reviews.
Product reviews - These are great for re-engaging existing customers by showing them other highly-rated products that you offer.
Here’s how minimalist watch brand Brathwait uses review-based ads during the holidays:
Pro tip: When designing a review-based ad, you need to make sure to choose the right review. We suggest using reviews in which customers tell a personal story.
Optimize for mobile
47% of Facebook users use Facebook exclusively on their mobile phones. Shoppers also state that they use their smartphones to look for deals and gift ideas during the holiday season. This is why it’s important to make sure to optimize your ads for mobile devices.
We suggest using ad units that work well on mobile:
Collection ads - A great way to showcase multiple products from the same category.
Carousel ads - Ideal for showing a product from different angles.
Canvas ads - Full-screen ads designed specifically for mobile devices.
The most important piece of advice that we can leave you with is to constantly test, tweak, and optimize your ads while keeping a close eye on ad spend.
While effective advertising during the holidays is a challenging task, these 9 strategies can help you make this holiday season your most profitable one yet.