“Sold Out.” We hate seeing the sign hung where our favorite products once sat on the shelves. Unfortunately, it looks to be a recurring theme this Christmas shopping season. Increased demand coupled with decreased supply leaves many of us unable to purchase what we wanted. Social media ads don’t exactly have a limited supply, but they will experience increased demand during Q4. That increased demand means increased costs and longer wait times to have your holiday Facebook ads approved.
Momentum Consulting is part of the Facebook Ads Partner program which means we speak with an ad specialist who works for Facebook every two weeks. We’re learning a lot about what to expect during 2021’s Q4 ad splurge. Since many small and mid-sized businesses don’t always receive these insights we want to share it with you to help you decrease your ad spend and increase your ROI.
Create and Schedule Your Holiday Facebook Ads Early
If you’ve ever had an ad rejected by the Facebook ad bots, you know the stress of trying to figure out why the ad was rejected and waiting for a human to review and approve it. Most of our rejected ads have completed the review process in less than twelve hours which generally doesn’t upset our social schedule or strategy. But what if that review took longer, like five to seven days? If you enjoy the thrill of pounding out new ad creative about tomorrow’s event on the fly, zipping it into your ads manager, and sending it out to the world all in the same day, that’s probably not going to be your best strategy for Q4. Especially if you plan to run ads between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We’re hearing that as more advertisers publish more ads, the bots that review those ads will become more sensitive to content which will likely increase the chances your ad will be rejected. Yes, even if it doesn’t overtly conflict with one of Facebook’s community standards. We’re not talking about a conspiracy here. The social media giant has cracked down on advertising around specific topics a lot in the last year, and not all those topics are political.
Save yourself the headache. Create and schedule your ads at least ten days before you plan to start the ad campaign. You have the option to set a start date in the future, which allows plenty of time for the bots and human reviewers to give the nod to your spectacular content.
Target Hot Button Keywords
Do you remember those Christmas cards you received on Valentine’s Day this past year? Or how about the sweater you ordered on Black Friday that arrived mid-March? Wait. That was me. But from the posts I read on social media, I’m not the only one who suffered shipping woes last year.
In case you haven’t already realized it, shipping hasn’t gotten any better. As more and more people shop online, shipping times will get longer and longer. Which means brick and mortar stores may be back in vogue this season. Which turns phrases such as “In Store Now” and “Available for Pick-Up Today” into hot button keywords. When your customers see you have stock available, and they won’t have to put their trust in unreliable delivery options, you’ll be at the front of the pack for sales especially the closer we get to Christmas Day.
Cold Prospecting + Retargeting
As a little review:
Cold prospecting = reaching audiences who may have never heard of your company before seeing your ad
Retargeting = showing ads to audiences who have visited your website
Most of our clients run both types of ads. One piece of advice we’re hearing is to invest more of your ad budget into cold prospecting early in the season before competition for ads gets so high. By doing this, you can drive new prospects to your website or to watch a video while ad costs are still low. The ROI on cold audiences isn’t as high as retargeting audiences. You also don’t want to show the same ad to those audiences too many times. Your audience is considered “stale” if they’ve seen the ad more than three times.
When you start to see cost per thousand impressions go up, it’s time to move more budget into your retargeting campaigns. These campaigns have higher ROI and will be fresher than your cold audiences. You’ll also be spending money to get in front of people who have shown an interest in your company and are further down the sales funnel versus the top of the funnel cold prospects.
You’ll make this switch from a wide audience to a narrower audience at the same time more people are paying more money for the wider audiences. You’ll be ahead of the game.
If you’ve never reviewed your ad analytics, now’s the time to start. You want to look at what keywords, creative, and CTAs get the most attraction from your audience. You’ll also want to see which audience responds best to your ads.
One of our clients has two images that always outperform everything else. Luckily the images are seasonal so we can run them for a limited time each year without the images becoming stale. We know this because we’ve pitted these images against other graphics to see what works best. Your analytics will likely tell you a similar story.
You can also use analytics to tell what time of day and day of the week your ads get the best response. If you have a limited ad budget you can run your ads during those specific days and times to increase your response and not waste money showing ads when audiences aren’t responding.
Vary Your Holiday Facebook Ads Creative
Every ad we create includes at least two creatives and two to three post ideas for each creative. Facebook naturally shows the ad combination that receives the best response. You can force Facebook to allocate a specific amount of budget to each ad creative in order to even the playing field a little.
By including multiple creatives, you can test out your ads to see what engages your audience the best. If you’ve always used static images, try a carousel ad or create a gif with your image. Even slight changes to your creative can freshen the content and give you insight into your audience. Carousel ads and videos can also set you apart from your competition or at the very least even the playing field with the big companies who have big budgets for creative.
We like to use Canva to dress up our images and create graphics and gifs. It’s a low cost solution for graphic design, and you don’t have to be a pro to make great looking images for your holiday Facebook ads.
Wait Until Q1
We’re not in the habit of telling people not to advertise, but if your business doesn’t have a stake in the holiday season maybe your best bet is to use these next eight weeks to create a strategy for Q1. After retailers have exhausted their ad budgets during Q4 and before income tax ads take over, you have a luxury of an ad lull. Ad costs generally plummet in January. If your company sees it’s largest sales during Q1 versus Q4 it’s worth considering.
Some industries use Q4 as the time to restock and strategize for the coming year. If that’s you, don’t get sucked into the frenzy of social media ads when the costs are high and your customers aren’t thinking about your products and services. Rest your voice. When the noise lowers, you’ll be ready to take advantage of the time with fresh creative and audiences.
If all these tips and ideas have you head spinning, we’re here to help. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll help you create a social media ad strategy for the holidays or Q1 (even both).