With most of us still clinging onto the last of the Summer sun and focussed on getting the kids back to school and our lives back to normality, the last thing we really want to be thinking about is Christmas.
But there. I said it. The ‘C’ word.
Over the next few months all kinds of businesses will be using Facebook and Instagram advertising to get their products in front of the eyes of their potential customers in the run up to the holiday season. It’s therefore one of the most challenging times to advertise because there is more competition and as a result, things get a whole lot more expensive.
But don’t let that put you off. There are also huge opportunities to be had for independent independent retailers.
So, if you are looking to sprinkle a bit of Christmas magic on your campaigns this season, here are 7 things you need to be doing.
1. Get prepared
Before you even begin advertising, make sure you have the Facebook Pixel and other basics in place. My blog post ‘10 questions to ask yourself before you start running Facebook ads’ if you haven’t run ads before (or have only dabbled with boosting posts).
Remember that in the run up to Christmas the volume of visitors on your website and customer queries you’ll receive will increase – especially with advertising added into the mix. Shoppers won’t tolerate bad buying experiences or having to hang around for customer service, and this is especially true during Q4. So, make sure your website can cope with increased traffic, that the user journey from viewing products through to purchase is as quick and seamless as possible and that you have a plan to cope with the increased number of customer queries you’ll receive via social media.
2. Start early
In 2018 43% of shoppers started shopping for Christmas in November, with Facebook reporting an increase in conversions from the beginning of October. By late-November, nearly 1 in 10 holiday shoppers had finished shopping.
So, your Christmas campaigns should be kicking off in October to really maximise on the opportunity.
But, if you haven’t already, you should be running ads now to drive traffic to your website and warm up your audiences, so that when it gets to October you can retarget them with your Christmas campaigns and offers.
3. Set aside enough budget
In the run-up to Christmas CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) skyrockets due to increased competition as more and more businesses begin to advertise. You’ll, therefore, need bigger budgets than other times of the year to stay competitive and to give you room to scale and maximise return on successful campaigns. Plan your finances ahead of time so you know how much you’ve got to spend and what your maximum tolerable cost per purchase is.
4. Decide on your holiday peaks and offers
which grew by 9% and 15%, respectively, between the 2017 and 2018.If you don’t have ‘heartbeat’ campaigns running on some of these dates, the likelihood is you’ll be missing out on sales. It’s wise to have some great offers up your sleeve for these dates to stay competitive.
Events differ across the globe. Which you participate in will depend on your target audiences and products. Here are the key ones for the UK and US:
- Singles Day (China/US) – 11 November
- Black Weak – Begins 25 November
- Thanksgiving (US) – 28 November
- Black Friday – 29 November
- Small Business Saturday (US) – 30 November
- Cyber Monday – 2 December
- Giving Tuesday – 3 December
- Small Business Saturday (UK) – 7 December
- Green Monday – 9 December
- Free Shipping Day (US) – 14 December
- Christmas Day – 25 November
- Boxing Day – 26 November
- New Year’s Day – 1 January
You’ll notice in this list I’ve also included Christmas Day. With shoppers predicted to spend £1Billion on Christmas Day in 2018, many retailers will start their Boxing Day sales early to maximise on the opportunity. Be savvy, plan ahead and set up ads to run while you’re tucking into the turkey!
5. Know your Christmas customers
Understanding who your ideal customers are is important at any time of the year. But it’s a good idea to reflect on your audience personas ahead of Christmas and think specifically about their pain points (e.g. lack of time, expense, stuck for ideas, hate gift wrapping) and motivations at this time of year.
In addition, people buy at Christmas who don’t usually buy throughout the year – so you may want to add in new customer personas that you can specifically target during the holiday period. For example, if your product is aimed at women and therefore you usually focus on targeting females in your ads, consider testing a male audience with copy focussed on them buying the product for their wife/girlfriend/mum/sister.
The magic with Facebook advertising really comes into play with retargeting.
Set up ads to retarget customers who have viewed products and/or added to cart (here’s how!) but didn’t follow through with the purchase to try and entice them back and buy.
Don’t forget your existing customers either. Use your ads to retarget existing / loyal customers that reward them with special offers and early access to sales.
7. Test Stories ads
According for Facebook, 69% of people find Stories on Facebook and Instagram a great way to become familiar with new brands and products. Not only that but right now, Stories ads are proving to be cheaper (due to lower competition), and in many cases more effective than feed ads. So, test them in your campaigns in the run up to Christmas!
If you need further support with your Facebook advertising I can help. Get in touch and let’s chat over a virtual cuppa!