Like a shopping center in the midst of the holiday season, the digital ad landscape is equally as bustling, competitive, and noisy. The holidays are a make-it-or-break-it time for many brands, and it’s difficult for marketers (especially those in the e-commerce space) to stand out from the rest.
For marketers it’s of course critical to have a voice on all channels. However Facebook, in particular, could prove to be an astute choice for brands looking for some direction and help with their digital advertising efforts. Facebook’s wide-ranging set of ad formats and tools help marketers secure a broad reach and continuously drive sales across the funnel.
Navigating Digital Storefronts
Over the past year or so, Facebook has pushed out a variety of ad formats that reshape the entire ad experience by driving interaction. Formats like Canvas and Collection enable advertisers to combine branding elements with sales content and create shoppable ads that replicate the in-store discovery experience.
To provide this experience, these formats give marketers the ability to showcase multiple products within an ad and adjust the products that appear according to best-selling products or top deals – not dissimilar from a physical dressed window. The Collection format generally has a prominent video or image with four related product images, while Canvas doubles as a browsable mini site on mobile and provides the option to advertise either a number of products or a singular product.
However, as top-selling products and holiday sales deals are constantly in flux, shoppable and browsable formats are difficult to keep up-to-date. Implementing automated, feed-based advertising helps brand marketers produce these types of digital storefronts at scale. The ads pull directly from brands’ product catalogue feeds and then ad content automatically updates in real-time as products, deals and offerings change. If there is targeting information incorporated into the product feed, ads can go a step further by actually targeting customers based on interests and locational data. Exploring creative automation options is important for marketers looking to get the most out of their holiday spend and stretch their holiday dollars.
Choosing Automation vs. Manual Campaign Adjustments
There is, of course, value in optimizing campaigns at any time of year and campaign automation often drives that success. For those looking to scale Facebook ad campaigns during the holidays though, there are a few exceptions.
For shorter campaigns like flash sales or specific day-long campaigns, of which there are plenty during the holidays, it’s sometimes best to do manual budget management. When facing some of the most competitive days of the year with short campaign time-frames, marketers need to bid higher and increase budgets more than they would normally in order to reach their desired audiences and achieve their goals.
However, manual monitoring and adjustment does require strong attention to detail when it comes to timing. E-commerce purchases tend to slow ahead of Christmas day and then spike around the 25th and 26th when shoppers are making returns or using gift cards, so it’s important for brands to adjust bids and budgets accordingly.
For all other holiday campaigns, like branding or prospecting campaigns, automation generally delivers better results with lower CPA, more conversations and increased ad deliveries (among other perks).
Finding the Right Audience
Using Facebook’s Pixel or SDK, marketers can easily create a Custom Audience, in a variety of ways. Through Facebook, marketers have the ability to build audiences from their own lists, their website visitors, and more.
Lookalike audiences, in particular, are a great way for marketers to replicate their Custom Audiences with consumers who truly look like their existing customers and who may be just as likely to convert or make purchases from their brand. There also exist tools in the market that support and automate Facebook lookalike audiences by expanding upon them, replicating audiences of people who have taken an action based on a Facebook campaign (meaning they’re more likely to convert). In order to get the ball rolling and create any type of lookalike audience, brands must have at least 100 conversions within the previous 180 days.
Facebook’s algorithms to target the right consumers that are most likely to convert are powerful, so marketers should make sure to use as large an audience as possible and avoid splitting audiences. On Facebook, splitting audiences only when audiences have different conversion values, different intended creatives, or if marketers want insights and 3rd party tracking beyond what Facebook provides.
The holiday season doesn’t have to be a stressful time for digital marketers when there are so many tools available to them, especially on Facebook, that help them reach their goals and drive solid performance. However, even with all these bells and whistles, success will only happen with a well thought-out Facebook marketing strategy.
Amir Shub, GM, Americas, Smartly.io