Facebook Advertising: planning for Christmas

You need to start thinking about the festive season and how you’re going to plan your Facebook ads well in advance of this busy shopping period – we break it all down below.

5-6 months in advance: lay the foundations

Evaluate your tech needs

Look at your Facebook pixel, catalogues and tracking. Are they working effectively and do you need to make any optimisations for campaigns, such as dynamic ads?

Test and learn campaigns

You should be using split testing to determine what delivery and creative methods are working the best for you before the season kicks in, so you are using the best ad strategies for your business. Here are some things you could test:

  • Do automatic placements improve conversion rates and cost?

  • Which bidding strategy drives higher conversion volume?

  • How should I consolidate audiences with campaign budget optimisation?

  • Which creative concepts resonate with key audiences?

  • Which discount strategies are most effective?

  • Do creative overlays improve conversion rates?

  • Should I add static brand assets to dynamic creative?

3 months to go: build your audience 

Start to generate interest in your product with prospecting campaigns and pre-awareness holiday campaigns:

Brand awareness campaigns

Sometimes businesses stay away from using the brand awareness objectives as they are not optimised for ‘conversions’, but brand awareness campaigns are really important in the run up to big events. 

By using brand awareness objectives, not only does your brand awareness increase, but it increases the intent of the user, which in turn decreases the cost per acquisition and increases the click-through rate in the long term.  

Broad targeting

The latest motto at Facebook is ‘broader is better’. When I first started doing social ads, I loved using all the interest based targeting to get some lovely niche audiences. However, Facebook’s machine learning has got so good now that it knows who to show your ads to out of all the people in your broad audience. Just because you are targeting 2 million people, does not mean Facebook will try and show your advert to 2 million people!

By going broader, we’ve found that the costs per acquisition and click are lower than if wego more specific with targeting. So, don’t be scared of casting your fishing net a little wider – you could reap the benefits. 

Lookalike campaigns

If you have not tried a lookalike campaign, you should! It’s doing the hard work for you, Facebook will look for people that resemble your desired audience. For example, you can ask it to look for people who look like your website visitors, purchasers and more. 

Dynamic Ads and broad audiences

By using dynamic adverts, you can personalise your ad sets with your product catalogue and different creative. It’s like each of your dynamic adverts are a helpful salesperson, introducing the top products that they know they will like, or reminding them of things they have already shown interest in.

1 month to go: ramp it up 

The month running up to Christmas is when there are usually flash sales such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday, so this is a great time to really ramp up your prospecting and testing. 

Forward planning is key to making your flash sales work. Facebook says that even for a sale that is only 3 to 4 days long, they recommend preparing 4 to 8 weeks in advance. 

Think about the phases in the run up to the flash sale, every business will have different timelines but here’s a template to consider:

  • 4 weeks in advance: test creatives, acquire new customers through brand awareness and prospecting

  • 2 weeks before: carry on testing and optimising creatives, start remarketing to your audiences, keep yourself top of mind  

  • Sales days: you should know by now which creative has worked the best. Do not touch the adverts otherwise you will reset the learning phase 

The final few weeks: heavy lifting complete

In the last 4 weeks, most of the heavy lifting has been done. You have already assessed tech needs, tested your delivery and creative strategies and built your audiences. Don’t start changing the adverts during the crucial sales period – keep your adverts out of the learning phase, this will keep the CPAs down. 

You might want to consider increasing bids and budgets for shopping days and also consider how close you are to the big day. The closer you are to Christmas, consumers are less concerned about price and more concerned about delivery speed and collecting offline. Here, you can leverage creative overlays to highlight expected shipping services, digital gift cards and offline collection services if you offer them.

Another aspect you need to consider during peak is your communication. People increasingly expect to speak to businesses in the same way they speak to their friends and family. 64% of people prefer messaging to call and email and 1 in 2 people wish they could communicate to more businesses through messaging. Think about your communication channels and how easy it is for consumers to get in contact with you. 

Post-holiday tactics

So, we’re finally here, peak holiday season is over, but after all that effort to build brand and find new audiences and drive sales, don’t forget to keep your audience engaged! You could retarget ads to high-value holiday purchases with dynamic ads, highlight post-holiday sales and introduce new merchandise.

Need a hand getting your holiday advertising in order? Contact us today.

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