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How to Prepare Your Holiday Advertising For Social Media, Part 3

We’re back with the third and final installation of “How to Prepare Your Holiday Advertising For Social Media.” In case you missed it, Part One covered goal and KPI-setting based on last year’s campaign performance, while Part Two tackled Facebook features that weren’t available in Q4 of last year. Here, we’ll be discussing creative best practices and how to sync your ads to the seasonal window. Without further ado:

Step Three: Get creative

Back in 2007, a market research firm estimated in the New York Times that a person living in a city saw up to 5,000 ad messages a day. Fast forward seven years of TV and digital innovation, and you can only imagine how bombarded by holiday messaging people are these days. Being creative, staying relevant and following best practices are key to high Click Through Rates (CTRs) and conversion rates. To maximize your resources, make sure you have a good understanding of how the advertising creative process works within your organization:

  • How much lead time will your designers need?
  • How much liberty do you have around messaging?
  • Will you need to request all holiday creative in October, or will you be able to put in requests throughout the season?
Following creative best practices should be a year round exercise, but it’s even more imperative during the holidays. Keep your KPIs and ad types in mind when requesting and evaluating creative. Be sure to integrate proven best practices with seasonal imagery and sale messaging. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Holiday-Red-Shoe
Holiday-Brown-Boots

Advertise seasonally relevant products and try to feature options in holiday colors. Use white or neutral backgrounds for colorful products, and dark backgrounds for light-colored products.

Holiday-Ad-Green
Holiday-Ad-Pink

Display seasonal products in clean, grid-like compositions. Try color coordinating multiple products and test different color themes to find out which combinations drive the best performance.

Holiday-Furniture-1
Holiday-Furniture-2

For holiday lifestyle images, create pops of bright color to catch your customer’s eye. Test variations of ad creative with and without call-to-action buttons too.

If you have access to an infinite amount of creative, consider yourself lucky. If not, it is best to get your requests in early and ask for more than you think you need. It also may be helpful to explore what creative is being used for other channels. If you have access to assets from print, TV or other display campaigns, you can use those to strengthen your creative arsenal.

Establish a timeline

Creating a comprehensive and well organized timeline for all holiday promotions and initiatives can be a huge time saver in the long run. Your timeline should include all relevant sale and promotion dates — not only for Facebook, but in-store, email and catalog. For example, knowing your catalog is set to arrive the first week in November can help inform budget and KPI goals for that week, knowing you’ll likely see an increase in online traffic as a result. Also, you may want to use your catalog mailing list as a Custom Audience to target potential customers with specific promotions or messaging.

When advertisers think of the holidays, the big dates come to mind. Black Friday ($1.2B in 2013) and Cyber Monday ($1.74B in 2013), for example, are two of the biggest days of the year for online advertising. While huge retailers and ecommerce sites have the ability to take over the web on those days, for others it might not be possible. Putting all of your eggs in the Black Friday basket may not be the most effective use of those holiday dollars. The two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and the Wednesday-Friday after are less dominated by the big guys, but are still full of consumers looking to shop and spend.

One last thing: Plan to change your plan

After you have evaluated, prepped and planed out every last detail of your holiday ad campaign, don’t be afraid to change course! Facebook market dynamics fluctuate constantly during the holidays, so allowing yourself some flexibility might be the most important plan you make.

Evaluate results frequently (bi-weekly, or even daily depending on your spend levels) and reallocate budget accordingly. You may be surprised to find that some unexpected products or audiences resonate well and deliver higher returns. If you planned on promoting twenty different ads, but a few are delivering amazing results, stick with what’s actually working best. Request assets to iterate on your most effective ads, and consider promoting the most successful products to more audiences. These best practices apply all year long, but during the fast-paced holiday season when advertisers may be stretched thin, it can be tempting to simply stick to the established plan. Work flexibility into your strategy from the start, and don’t miss out on any chance to maximize your holiday performance.

If you make a list, check it twice, and keep these advertising tips on goal settingnew Facebook features, and creative in mind, you’re well on your way to a very merry holiday season on Facebook!