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Lace up your combat boots, ecommerce soldiers – the holiday season is coming! With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the end-of-year sales season just around the corner, it’s time to ramp up your Facebook and Instagram advertising efforts to increase traffic and conversions.


To help you prepare, we’ve put together some quick and practical tips on how to maximize return on ad spend on Facebook and Instagram and end this sales season strong.

 

Facebook and Instagram Advertising: The Basics

In the midst of holiday sales prep, many retailers seem to forget some of the more basic fundamentals of Facebook and Instagram advertising. So before we kick things into high gear, let’s start with a brief ‘Facebook 101’ that highlights some advertising essentials:

 

Increase your ad budget for consistent conversions

Facebook’s bidding system and auction is unlike traditional bidding, where the highest bidder and deep-pocketed advertiser would receive the most ad placements and impressions. Instead, relevancy for the user, the type and quality of the ad creative and historical performance ultimately affect who will see the ad.

Yet, there are more advertisers during the holiday season and Black Friday/Cyber Monday week than any other time of the year. Thanks to laws of supply and demand, advertising costs increase during the holiday season. So if you want to ensure that your business continues to drive the same volume of traffic during this time, consider allocating more budget to your Facebook ad strategy to generate the same number of conversions – whether they’re in the form of video views, site visits or purchases.

 

Track your campaign results

When increasing your ad budget, it’s also important to check your campaign’s historical performance to justify the greater spend, then track results as you go. For instance, if you’re already spending your entire daily ad budget and yield acceptable results in terms of return on ad spend and conversion volume, it’s a good idea to allocate more budget and track performance either on a weekly basis or daily during key sales dates to keep the momentum going:

 

Advancing your Ad Strategy

Run a retargeting campaign to entice already interested customers

The end-of-year sales frenzy means that shoppers will flock to their favorite stores by the dozen, which means that site traffic will spike. On average, this increase is between 100-400%, but some websites see up to 10-20x traffic on key sales dates. This calls for the need to reallocate your ad budget and set your sights on those customers who are most likely to convert.

To ramp up your ad campaign, consider re-targeting customers who have already visited your webstore, added something to their shopping cart or abandoned their cart before completing the purchase. Handbag retailer Knomo, for example, regularly leverages Facebook remarketing ads to re-engage the kinds of customers we mentioned above. As a result, Knomo saw a 10x ROAS.

 

Feed the shopping funnel

Shoppers spend most of their mobile browsing time on Facebook or Instagram (with email taking first place with slim margin) so these platforms are prime time for re-engaging interested clients and driving them down your conversion funnel. While we’re not suggesting you allocate more budget solely to Facebook and Instagram advertising, consider adjusting your social game plan by spending more on re-targeting customers on these two platforms than you normally would.

 

Nosto’s Segmentation and Insights (pictured above) takes this strategy one step further as it allows you to target audiences that are based on predictions by Nosto’s AI, such as customers who are more likely to buy, more driven by discounts or a combination of other attributes. In addition, creating lookalikes based on affinities towards product categories and brands are especially powerful for customer acquisition.

 

 

For Seasoned Advertisers: Maximizing Your Facebook and Instagram Ad Budget

Rethink your product campaign strategy

Black Friday and Cyber Monday week is likely the time when most advertisers will spend the bulk of their marketing budgets; so retailers (especially those with limited budget to spare) should spend their cash intelligently. Similarly, most shoppers know that (Black) Friday and (Cyber) Monday are the days when stores will offer the biggest discounts, so they’re likely to shop more conservatively before and in-between these days. On the contrary, it can be practically impossible (or downright expensive) to put ads in front of people on those two days…

A useful tactic would be to run a special campaign the Monday before Black Friday and the weekend in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For instance, consider bundling a unique or signature product key product together with a supplementary product and sell it at an attractive price (without slashing prices by 50%).

The catch here is not to drive a massive amount of purchases with this product bundle; rather to keep your website and brand on the minds of shoppers before key shopping days. During BFCM weekend, shoppers will already be primed to shop with you again and might just need a small nudge using re-targeting (assuming that the actual site-wide BFCM offers are juicy enough to deserve their money). Eton Shirts typically uses dynamic product ads to retarget shoppers who’ve abandoned cart, resulting in a 11x ROAS:

 

For a deeper dive, we recommend you check out our 10 tips to improve Facebook targeting.

 

Explore new ad formats

Facebook has a limited amount of available ad inventory, but they’re continuously introducing new ad formats and placements. Early adopters are often at the best advantage in terms of prices, as there is less competition for some placements. For instance, content formatted vertically on Instagram Stories (like the one pictured below) is likely to offer more affordable prices than regular newsfeeds on Instagram and Facebook – but this will inevitably change as more advertisers discover this ad placement and format.

 

Consider using video ad content

Remember that Facebook and Instagram thrive off video content, meaning that advertisers using video as a creative are likely to have the upper hand. Many retailers claim that a video ad is a strategy out of their reach, but it actually isn’t. A two-to-four second looping video or a .gif-type video (like the one below) can do the trick as long as it’s on-brand and the call to action is compelling and strong enough to initiate action.

 

 

While Facebook and Instagram are a huge focus for ecommerce professionals during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are more bases to cover to maximize performance. Check out our whitepaper, 6 Things You Need to Do to Be Prepared for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Beyond, to cover your personalization bases across key areas like onsite and email.