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How to Prepare Your Holiday Advertising For Social Media, Part 1

Have you started thinking about your holiday campaigns yet?

According to the latest Think With Google survey, more than half of holiday shoppers say they’ll begin researching gifts before Thanksgiving — with 26% starting before Halloween (read: now). If you’ve been focusing on marketing pumpkins instead of sugar plums, don’t worry — we’ve outlined three steps for planning your holiday ad spend. In Part One of this three-part series, we’ll discuss how you can apply key takeaways from last year’s performance to this year’s holiday campaigns.

Step One: Assess last year

Your last few holiday seasons could be the key to a successful campaign this time around. Some questions you should ask yourself are:

  • What were your goals? (Key Performance Indicators, spend)
  • What were your actual results?
  • What worked well?
  • What were the pain points?
  • How can you improve the outcomes this year?
The answers to these questions, and how you apply the learnings to your future campaigns, can make or break your 2014 holiday season. A few small tweaks to your strategy can have a big impact on your bottom line — and not just from immediate purchases. According to an AOL Advertising survey of holiday shoppers, more than half shared that advertising impacts their decision making process:

say advertising made them more likely to purchase because of an advertised deal

say advertising reminded them to purchase holiday items

say advertising gave them ideas for holiday items

Goals & KPIs

Setting realistic KPIs is an important starting point to any campaign. Facebook Cost Per Click (CPCs) on average increased 25% during the 2012 Thanksgiving weekend as compared to CPCs in earlier November. In 2014, retail Cost Per Impression (CPM) rates increased 19% (QOQ) and 186% (YOY). Your upcoming holiday goals should take these historical increases into consideration. It’s also important to keep the value of downstream actions in mind when you evaluate higher-priced bid types. As consumers flock to online retail in record numbers come November, the timing couldn’t be better to attract high-value shoppers that will return to your products after New Year’s is long gone.

Targeting

Next, evaluate your targeting. Making sure your Custom Audiences lists are up to date and effectively segmented is crucial. If you just uploaded one big customer file last year, consider getting more granular. Past holiday shoppers, past gifters, high volume shoppers and high ticket purchasers are all examples of smart CRM list segmentation.

Creative

Lastly, review what messaging and imagery has worked best for you with key audiences last holiday and throughout the year. Trying to reinvent the wheel in the middle of the busiest season for eCommerce is unnecessary; using a tried and true approach, tailored for the holiday season, is the safest bet. If you are doing some out of the box creative testing this time around, keep these proven assets close by just in case.

Want to know what Facebook features you can’t afford to ignore this year? Check out How to Prepare Your Holiday Advertising For Social Media, Part 2.