Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 | 16 min read
There’s one word that should be at the center of your Facebook advertising strategy this holiday season: mobile
Last year, for the first time, Facebook saw more mobile conversions than desktop conversions during the entire holiday season. According to Facebook, millennials, parents, and customers in Asia Pacific and the US are driving this trend.
By running Facebook ads on mobile, marketers can more effectively reach on-the-go target audiences, generate leads, and drive purchases. This can be particularly valuable during the holidays when customers are traveling and rushing to buy gifts for friends, family, and coworkers.
Facebook also continues to change its algorithm to make posts from friends and family more visible than posts from brands and publishers. This means that organic doesn’t cut it anymore. In order to drive engagement, advertisers are opting to sponsor their posts and scale their messaging. That’s part of why digital ad spend overtook TV ad spend for the first time last year, too.
So, whether you’re promoting holiday sales, contests, giveaways, or gift ideas, Facebook ads can help you reach the right people at the right time.
Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your Facebook ads this holiday season.
There are a variety of Facebook ad types, which can be selected based on your content format and, most importantly, your campaign objectives. These include:
Generate brand awareness among holiday shoppers by posting an eye-catching photo, complete with an engaging caption and headline. You can either create your own ad from scratch or simply boost a photo you’ve already published on your Page. For instance, you might sponsor a glossy image from a product gallery, a festive holiday graphic, or a promotion for your seasonal sale.
Promote a video post to share longer and more engaging stories with your target audience. Maybe you want to demonstrate how a certain holiday gift works, share stories from happy customers, or offer an inside look at your holiday celebrations. Video ads provide a great way to generate brand awareness, boost an already published post, or get viewers interested in your in-depth holiday message.
Facebook carousel ads allow marketers to place “up to 10 images and/or videos, headlines and links, or calls to action in a single ad.” These ads are interactive in that viewers can swipe through the content based on their interests.
This unique format gives advertisers an opportunity to showcase a variety of holiday gifts, break down the features of a single product, tell a comic book-style story, or even create one long, panoramic image.
Add hyperlinks to your ad creative and direct users to take a specific action, like signing up for your newsletter or visiting your online store. Since customers will be bombarded with ads during the holiday season, you want to make it easy for them to learn more about your brand and make a purchase. Link to your holiday catalogue, for instance, or to a special checkout page where they can enter an exclusive offer code.
With link ads, you can choose from a selection of call-to-action buttons, including: Shop Now, Learn More, Sign Up, Book Now, and Download.
Facebook lead ads are Facebook’s most powerful tool for generating leads. They let you include a form with your ad so you can collect important information from your customers with ease. Since the forms pre-populate with a user’s name, email, and phone number, all they have to do is tap “Submit.”
Lead ads can also be customized to fit your needs. Marketers can choose from six call-to-action buttons as well as a variety of open-ended or multiple-choice questions. During the holidays, you might use lead ads to invite customers to register for an event or party, sign up for an exclusive offer, or receive a price estimate on a big gift.
Dynamic Product Ads
Dynamic product ads are Facebook’s version of re-targeted ads. They can automatically target customers based on products they’ve already viewed and actions they’ve taken on your website or app. Dynamic ads also save you time from creating individual ads for your products and audiences, and they add a personal touch to your messaging. A customer might have a cart full of potential holiday gifts on your website, but they haven’t checked out yet. You can help finish the sale by sending a friendly reminder about the products they’re interested in.
Dynamic product ads can be composed of photo or video creative. They can also include overlays of prices and discounts, a feature that Facebook is still rolling out.
App Install Ads
If you’ve worked hard to build an app that enhances the user experience, then you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for people to download that app. Perhaps your app simplifies the buying process or makes a great companion for your products. With app install ads, you can promote your app to your target audience and drive engagements, downloads, and purchases.
Page Like Ads
If you simply want to generate awareness and encourage target users to Like your Facebook Page, this is the tool to help you do it. Page like ads can be especially helpful during the holidays if you’re running a special contest or giveaway for your Facebook community and followers.
Reach ads – formerly local awareness ads – can help you reach people near your business. They are a good fit for brands that want to drive foot traffic to their stores. Through Facebook’s advanced targeting capabilities, you can reach just right people who live or shop near your retail locations.
By implementing call-to-action buttons like “Call Now” or “Get Directions,” it’s also easy to let customers know about new store locations, holiday sales, special events, and local promotions.
During the holidays, brands pull out all the stops – and that includes launching special offers and seasonal deals. With offer claims ads, you can share your coupons and promotions directly with people on Facebook, where they’re already scrolling and consuming content.
Maybe you’re inspiring new customers with buy-one-get-one offers or $10 off their first order. Shutterfly, for example, shared a promotion code for 20% off of select products before December 5.
If you don’t have the time or budget to create full-fledged videos, slideshow ads provide a solid alternative. These ads are 5-15 seconds long and feature 3-7 images in sequence.
They’re video-like in format, but since they’re only composed of still images, they use less data and load faster than regular video ads.
To create slideshow ads, marketers can simply choose images from their Page, upload new images, or search Facebook’s stock photo library. They can also choose one of their videos and ask Facebook to pull stills from there. With the visuals in place, marketers can then add audio or text overlays.
Similar to carousel ads, slideshow ads are a great tool for highlighting multiple products, telling an engaging story, or even promoting a video. During the holidays, for instance, a brand might create a slideshow ad that features gift ideas for each member of the family.
Canvas ads invite marketers to create full-screen, interactive ads just for mobile. They can include a mix of video, images, text, and call-to-action buttons, resulting in an immersive multimedia experience.
Here’s an example of what a Canvas ad might look like:
Marketers can either build their ads from scratch or take advantage of pre-made templates for different objectives, including get new customers, sell products, and showcase your business.
Event Response Ads
If you’re hosting a holiday event and promoting it on your Facebook Page, let all the right people know with event response ads. Maybe you’re inviting local customers to your in-store party or boosting awareness for a seasonal special. These ads help you target interested audiences and drive attendance.
The collection ad format combines multiple different formats into one. These mobile ads make it easy for people to research, discover, and buy products all from one ad. Once someone taps on your ad, they can move on to learn about the features of a product or find other products that you offer. They work together with Canvas ads to provide a full-screen, immersive customer experience.
Facebook provides an array of tools to help marketers generate leads from their ads. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest ones.
Through Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor, you can target users by location, age, gender, interests, behaviors, device, and connections (people who like your Page or app). Facebook will soon even let brands target entire families or certain people within a household. You can also create Custom Audiences by uploading your own contact lists, and Lookalike Audiences of people who are similar to your most engaged customers.
If you have an international audience, you can use Facebook’s Cross-Border Insights Finder to compare data across countries and unlock business opportunities around the world.
Just for the holidays, you can even target holiday shoppers from Thanksgiving through to New Year’s Day. Facebook does this by identifying users who engage with holiday shopping content, such as posts about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Remember also that you’re not just targeting people who are buying gifts for others. According to Facebook, “self-gifting” is becoming popular as over half of people surveyed say they buy holiday gifts for themselves.If you’re not sure where to start with your targeting.
If you’re not sure where to start with your targeting, Facebook recommends mining your customer databases to understand the audience segments and demographics of last year’s holiday buyers. Then, you can use targeting capabilities to reach those buyers again or connect with people similar to those buyers.
If you’ve already launched ads on Facebook, use the Audience Insights tool to better understand your customers and their purchase behavior. With this information, you can more effectively target these users and create ads that will appeal to their interests.
Conversion Tracking Pixels
Conversion tracking pixels are small snippets of code that you can plant in the backend of your web pages. They help you track specific actions that users might take after viewing your ad. For instance, a Facebook user might see your ad, click on it, go to your website, make a purchase, and be presented with a confirmation page. You can plant your pixel on the confirmation page so you know when you’ve converted a customer. From there, you can target people similar to your buyers or retarget people who didn’t make a purchase.
Facebook offers a variety of metrics to help you gauge performance and optimize your ads. These include engagements, impressions, cost per result, ad recall, and brand lift. Based on which ad you run, you’ll be able to see other metrics such as video views, link clicks, and forms submitted. You can also narrow down your analytics by demographic, so you know which targeting strategies are working and which need to be scrapped or fine-tuned.
Facebook even allows marketers to track in-store visits and sales through through the new “store visits” metric and Offline Conversions API, which matches transaction data from their customer database to Facebook Ads reports. This is particularly helpful for optimizing local awareness ads, which are built to drive foot traffic to brick-and-mortar retail locations, and can provide a serious boost to your holiday sales quota.
1. Optimize for Mobile
More Facebook users than ever before are completing holiday purchases on mobile. As Facebook found, these users are 61% male, and most active on the weekends, Cyber Monday, and Black Friday.
Holiday shoppers commonly use mobile to receive free gifts with their purchase, take advantage of coupons, and order online and pick up in the store.
People even use their smartphones in-store to compare prices, compare products, take photos, read reviews, and find discounts. That’s why it’s crucial to offer a seamless customer experience across touchpoints.
To optimize for mobile, you should also ensure that your images and videos translate to smaller screens, and improve the loading times of your pages. Remember that consumers have plenty of choices when making their holiday purchases. A lagging website could be enough to send them off to check out your competitors.
2. Prepare Your Product Catalogue
If you’re looking to run dynamic product ads and retarget consumers across devices, you’ll need to prepare your product catalog for Facebook’s ad platform. As Facebook notes, product catalogues contain “a list of products you want to advertise, their availability, product URL, image URL and other product attributes.” Don’t waste valuable time assembling this information in the thick of holiday shopping season. Get it ready now so your brand doesn’t miss a beat.
3. A/B Test Your Ads
Before you even launch your holiday ads, you might want to test different content and ad formats with your target audiences. You can use Facebook Split Testing in the Ads Manager or Power Editor to accomplish this. For instance, launch small video and photo ad campaigns to see which format your customers respond to most; test a few different calls-to-action to see which gets the most clicks; and check to see if your loyal customers respond best to one ad type, while new customers engage with another.
By testing your ads now, you can better understand what type of creative each demographic responds to, and then you can double down on those ads when it matters most.
With a wealth of content formats, targeting options, and lead generation tools, Facebook remains one of the most dynamic options out there for brands that want to launch social ads. It’s also hosted a variety of successful holiday campaigns from large and small businesses alike.
Most importantly, remember to keep mobile on your strategy checklist. Your customers will be using their smartphones and tablets to research and complete purchases on Facebook. You just have to be there to meet them.
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