The holiday season is peak sales time for most eCommerce retailers.
Have you started thinking about how your Facebook and Instagram advertising plan is going to lead you through this peak season?
If not…now’s definitely the time to start!
Here’s my advice when it comes to maximising eCommerce sales results from your Meta ads this holiday season…
Time to make a plan
The 4th quarter of the year (September to December) is not just the most lucrative sales season for eCommerce retailers…
It’s also the most competitive time of year to advertise on Facebook and Instagram. So being strategic is more important now, than ever before.
Maximising your results this festive season is unlikely to come from one campaign on its own. It’s going to come from an integrated approach to attracting and engaging your audience, and then giving them a reason to buy.
Things really start to heat up around the Black Friday promotional event at the end of November. Which means you don’t want to leave your run too late. You’re best to start now and then scale up.
For a step by step approach to planning your festive marketing and promotions, check out this Podcast episode.
Build your audiences
Getting started doesn’t need to be going ‘all in’ on conversions campaigns. In fact, it shouldn’t be.
Going straight for the sale to a cold audience rarely works, but especially not at such a busy time of year when customers are seeing many more marketing messages per day than at other times!
Instead, now is a great time to start building up strong warm audiences.
This is valuable, because as competition intensifies, it can become expensive to reach your target market. So knowing that you’ve got an engaged audience (that knows, likes and trust your brand) will help your activity succeed.
We recommend using post engagement and video views campaigns, as an efficient and cost effective way to win over your audience and capture them for your future retargeting.
Also, make sure you’re creating and sharing the kind of organic content that’s currently in vogue! At the time of writing this post – Reels and Stories are getting the most reach.
Build up your Christmas messaging
I’m someone who can’t even think about Christmas until the last birthday in my family is done and dusted (my 2nd son on 25th November, which is leaving it kinda late…)
But realistically, that’s not how it works in business.
Christmas is a long game. You have to get involved early – but if you go too hard too early with the baubles and tinsel, you run the risk of losing momentum. Or even causing your audience to switch off.
We find a staged approach to your Christmas messaging to be more effective. It’s a bit like starting to hum some carols at first, before you whip out the Michael Bublé Christmas gold, closer to Christmas.
Give customers a reason to buy
When it comes to your ad creative, or your marketing in general, you might start by featuring different gift-related products, with messaging around different gifting situations or gift recipients.
And the closer we get to our date with Santa you might ramp this up by rolling out additional incentives, like free gift wrapping, free express shipping, or other offers. Along with using images that look more Christmassy.
This recent podcast episode shares some fun, creative marketing ideas to really stand out from your competition this Christmas.
Show ads to the right people (without going broke…)
As we get to the pointy end of the year, the number of advertisers actively promoting on Facebook increases dramatically.
One thing you’ll notice is that the brands with the bigger budgets are dropping some serious cashola on their FB ads. (Well, “der” you may be thinking!)
What this means for those with smaller ad budgets is important:
Facebook ads are an auction process and all advertisers are competing for a slice of the newsfeed pie.
The space on the newsfeed devoted to ads is finite. Therefore, ads will generally go to the advertiser willing to spend the most.
HOWEVER, there is one way you can still compete, and that’s by using the right overall mix of campaign types and the right kind of content and offers.
Here’s the best way to help improve your audience targeting.
Use custom audiences
Rather than boosting posts to your Facebook page, or targeting broad interests, it’s time to start using Facebook’s custom audiences in your targeting.
Two of the best for eCommerce include uploading a CSV file of your email subscriber list (or even better – sync your Klaviyo subscriber list to your Facebook custom audiences. This integration will dynamically update for you!), and people who have engaged with your Facebook or Instagram pages.
Both these two custom audiences are HIGHLY targeted with your warmest audience.
Once you’ve got these two custom audiences set up, then you want to create Lookalike audiences.
Basically, this allows Facebook to use its sophisticated algorithm to find other people similar to those very warm audiences.
Use Advantage+ Shopping ads
Earlier this year, Meta started to roll out their AI-driven ad options, and Advantage+ Shopping campaigns (ASC+) are one of the better ones.
Basically, this is an AI-driven website purchase conversion ad type, which uses fancy lookalike targeting to get your ads in front of the right people.
Typically we still like to run website purchase conversion ad campaigns alongside it with quality interest audience targeting, as this tends to help train the algorithm and feed in different data as you cycle between interest audiences.
But then, using the power of the (ASC+) campaigns can really help you to optimise and scale your ads efficiently and profitably.
Use dynamic product retargeting ads
One of the coolest options in Facebook Ads Manager, is the ability to show ads to people featuring the specific products they viewed on your website.
This means, you are showing images of the products people literally just looked at on your website, along with some text about your Christmas special offer (if you have one).
It’s a bit of a fiddle to set up – you need to be using the Facebook Business Manager, and then you need to set up a Product Catalogue. If you’re on Shopify, it’s dead simple.
These ads are INCREDIBLY effective at converting to sales at a great price! So definitely worth the effort.
Test different creative
A lot of people ask me, ‘what images should I use? What text should I write in my ads?’
We like to test out variations on similar themes, for example an image carousel, animated gif and short video that show the same or similar visuals but in different formats.
Also, it’s worth testing short and long versions of your copy. (ChatGPT might lend you a helping hand here…)
Try to use original imagery rather than images provided by suppliers. If you use what your suppliers give you, it’s likely to be the same as all your competitors and that won’t stand out in the newsfeed at all…
Make it look gift-y and festive so that it’s easy to capture the attention of fast-scrolling fingers!
Use automated rules to scale
Have you ever published a new ad campaign on a relatively low budget just to see if it’ll convert. And then, upon seeing some great results, decide to scale the budget.
Only to see the return on ad spend (ROAS) completely die off?
So very frustrating isn’t it?!
The issue is that changing your budgets is a ‘major edit’, according to the platform, and doing so will usually send the campaign back into ‘learning’.
You want to avoid that learning phase at all costs, because it is the death of profitable ads!
This is where using automated rules can help. It allows you to scale budgets up and down based off pre-defined results, without sending your ads back into learning.
Here’s the results we’re seeing from this strategy
In case you’re wondering what kind of revenue you could potentially experience by setting your ads up like this, here’s a nice little visual to illustrate.
As you can see, both in terms of revenue and ROAS, it’s generating some incredible returns!
Need some help implementing an effective Facebook Ad strategy?
Meta Ads are one of the most powerful tools currently available. Get it right and you put your business in front of potentially thousands of new customers.
Get it wrong and you’ll not only waste your advertising dollars, you’ll also lose sales.
If you’re unsure how to get it right, don’t spend months trying to figure it all out for yourself!
Would you love to start seeing sales growth in your business right now? I’d love to help you achieve your goals sooner and grow your business faster.
Step 1 is to book a free strategy session where we can discuss your specific business and goals in more detail.
Updated: 21st November 2023