When it comes to holiday seasons, it’s a crucial time for all marketers and business owners. The high potential sales volume and high purchasing intent typically turn plenty of advertisers to Facebook Ads with the intent of maximizing their holiday profit.
Facebook Ads during the holidays can be tricky. Sometimes a surge of advertisers (or a surge of ad spend) can increase the cost of ads by flooding the market. In other cases, consumer behaviour can be tricky.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to be successful with Facebook Ads during holiday seasons. To maximize your results, I reached out to some of the top Facebook and PPC experts in the industry, who shared their top Facebook Ad holiday marketing tips.
1. Schedule Your Campaigns in Advance
The first thing you should always do as the holidays approach is to plan your PPC campaigns.
And you don’t just want to map out your Facebook holiday ads… you want to get them locked and loaded in the system too, says Facebook and Instagram Ad Specialist at AdEspresso, Paul Fairbrother.
“Although Facebook often approves and publishes each ad in a few minutes,” Fairbrother explained, “Approval times can be considerably longer in the holiday season. So, for time-sensitive campaigns like seasonal promotions, create and schedule your ads a few days in advance to avoid delays.”
You can schedule your ads with plenty of time to spare, so definitely take advantage of this. You can always disable the ads if you change your mind before they even run.
2. Review Your Ad Account Limits At the Beginning of the Season
Fairbrother also shared another valuable prep tip that he recommends all of his coaching clients at the AdEspresso Academy follow: Know your account limits.
You can set account spending limits on your ad account to ensure that you never go past a certain dollar amount. While that’s helpful to stay on budget, it’s common for advertisers to intentionally go to spend more during their holiday season only to find that the ad limits have kept them from doing so.
“Be sure to review your ad account limits and billing sources in the Business Manager to ensure your ads run continuously and don’t get throttled by spending caps.”
Do this by going to “Payment Settings” under the Ad Manager or Business Manager, and adjusting your “Account Spending Limit.”
3. Make Discounts The Primary Focus
Want to drive a large number of sales quickly?
Positioning the discounts or the promo as the primary focus — not even necessarily the product— can be a winning strategy when you’re reaching out to a retargeted audience.
“You’ve spent the last few months building awareness for your product or service,” explained Maurice Rahmey, Co-Founder of Disruptive Digital. “Now it’s time to focus on the sale, as most people converting during this sales period are people who know your brand.”
Take advantage of retargeting, allocating a solid chunk of your marketing budget accordingly to convert warm leads and increase sales by making promotions like discounts, free shipping offers, or freebies the prime focus of your ad campaigns (even more so than the product themselves).
4. Keep the Ads Simple
To help the promotions stand out, Rahmey also advises that brands keep the ads as simple as possible.
“The most effective images are often the simplest, such as a close-up of a product or a highlight of a single benefit,” he shared. “In the case of holiday marketing, use a static image with the promo being front and centre so people can easily see and register the offer.”
And remember that your ads can be simple, but that you should also be split testing multiple images (and ideally, if possible, multiple offers). There’s always time to optimize your campaigns as the holiday season moves forward.
5. Frame Your Products as Gifts
I’ve been a PPC copywriter for over seven years, and one of the most effective strategies you can implement during the holiday season from a copywriting perspective is this: Tell people that your products make excellent gifts (even just gifts to themselves).
This can truly be shockingly effective, and it’s even worked on me. I bought a pair of boots from a company a few months ago, and I saw an ad telling me that “everyone loves boots, give a pair to someone in your life.” I asked my husband if he wanted a pair for Christmas.
Someone might not think of your product as having gift potential until you frame it as such. Mention that the items make great gifts, and consider grouping several complementary items together into a “holiday bundle” to watch your average order value increase.
6. Focus On Guaranteed Delivery Times
There’s nothing like an impending gift-giving deadline and an upcoming holiday to get people focused on urgency. With a large number of consumers procrastinating on holiday-related purchases (whether it’s a roaster for that Christmas ham or a gift for their loved one), it’s all about whether or not the items will make it on time.
This is a great thing to focus on in your ads, as Paul Fairbrother explained.
“In December, the focus for eCommerce shifts away from offering discounts and moves toward guaranteed delivery in time for the holidays,” he said. “Consider offering a free expedited shipping code, and if you can include gift wrap options, that helps too.”
Another simple tip: Mention the date that's the last day to order to get the items delivered by Christmas Eve. You can update this on your product landing pages, too.
7. Account for iOS Challenges
One of the biggest challenges that advertisers are facing right now when it comes to Facebook Ads during the holidays isn’t even holiday-related: It’s iOS 14.5 and the havoc it’s caused on the industry.
That being said, it proves to complicate holiday marketing as advertisers run campaigns at scale.
“It’s imperative to be aware of how iOS 14.5 is impacting your campaigns and to know that there’s likely a delay in reporting,” shared Social Media College’s own Co-CEO Jonathan Tanner. “You’ll also want to be aware that it may make a traditional site- or app-based remarketing from mobile traffic less reliable.”
The best workaround is to watch your campaigns like a hawk and to take advantage of the Facebook Conversions API for tracking. This can improve remarketing potential significantly, giving you a better shot at high-performing (and better-reported) holiday campaigns.
8. Exclude Recent Buyers
Sometimes it’s easy to get laser-focused on generating new customers and finally converting warm audiences for the first time during the holiday season, but you shouldn’t forget about potential damage control from existing customers.
“Don’t forget to exclude recent buyers of products you’re offering deals on,” said Austin LeClear, Co-Founder of GrowMyAds. “There is nothing worse than seeing a product you just purchased a few days or a week ago now on sale for half the cost.
“Make sure those customers don’t see the promotional ads by excluding recent buyers from your ad campaigns.”
The last thing you want is a disgruntled customer… or one who sees the ad and makes a purchase only to return the original and walk away with a discount at your expense.
9. Leverage Content-Driven Ads to Combat High Pricing
There’s no denying that holiday ad prices can be expensive and that there’s a ton of competition in the marketplace.
One of the best ways to show out and stand out, however, is to use a content-first approach in at least some of your campaigns and see how your audience responds.
Sarah Sal, a copywriter well-known for her extremely high-converting long-form ads, shared this tip:
“A well-written, content-rich educational ad copy can be used as both a Facebook Ad text and repurposed in email.”
Test out longer storytelling and educational-centred posts to see whether or not these work for the holiday season! You won’t know until you try, after all, and you can always pause them if they aren’t converting like the others.
10. Keep Your Momentum Going After Christmas
While Christmas is often the big deadline that most advertisers focus on, tossing out as much ad spend as possible, it’s important to remember that post-Christmas is still a high-value sales period, too.
“Don’t let your ad campaigns slip after Q4, as January is a great time to run ads,” said Paul Fairbrother in his last tip to us. “Ad pricing is usually far cheaper in January, and Facebook users know what money they have leftover from the holidays to spend on themselves. Often, January can be one of the best months for online sales.”
In other words, keep your eye on the prize: Sales, which can come in even slightly beyond the holidays, too. Just remember to change any holiday-related images or copy showing a Christmas tree or mentioning the upcoming gift-giving occasion.
11. B2B Brands Should Proceed With Caution
The holidays are typically a high-powdered sales juggernaut for plenty of brands… but this isn’t always the case for B2B brands, particularly once December hits.
“Be mindful around the holiday and how it impacts your marketing strategy,” shared Stephanie Danckert, Social Advertising Manager at Semrush. “It’s the end of the fiscal year for a lot of companies, and many companies essentially shut down right before or after the holiday. If you’re in B2B advertising, you want to make sure to pull back budgets and not run any tests or new launches during that period.”
While she doesn’t recommend launching new products during the holiday when plenty of workers are likely to be on break or not making big purchases until the next year, she did stress that the time shouldn’t be wasted.
“This is the perfect time to finalise your plans for Q1 to ensure you start with a strong start in January. Make sure you know what to promote so you’ll have the assets ready to launch immediately post-holidays.”
When the holiday season hits, there are plenty of opportunities for advertisers to take these tips and run with them.
With so many potential sales on the line, it’s worth testing each and every one of these strategies and Facebook Ad holiday marketing tips, especially because they’ve all worked for some of the top and most experienced experts in the field.
Remember that each brand is different, so test carefully and be ready to optimize the ads that work, pushing more of your ad spend into high ROAS and high-converting campaigns. This will require more careful management this time of year, but it’s absolutely worth it. Looking to learn more ways to optimize your Facebook performance? Check out our Facebook Marketing Course to see how to excel with your on-platform campaigns.