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How to Spend on Facebook During the Holidays

Written by: Carly Rodgers, Director of Campaign Management

This holiday season advertisers are dialing up their Facebook marketing efforts to reach shoppers who are ready to buy. In order to capitalize on high user purchase intent, these advertisers need to be willing to play in a more competitive marketplace by taking a different approach to their traditional advertising efforts. Here are our recommendations for Facebook advertisers looking to make the most of their holiday advertising budgets:

1. Maximize available inventory.

This past year we’ve seen a big shift in ad dollars from the right hand side to News Feed. News Feed inventory allows us to take advantage of bigger, more engaging ad units, which has led to increased CTRs and in most cases lower costs. That said, News Feed inventory is limited to one impression per user per page or application, so achieving high levels of volume (particularly during peak season) can be challenging.

Our recommendation: Don’t forget the right hand side (RHS). Take advantage of more inventory and higher frequencies, while achieving the same return you’d see with News Feed by supplementing your News Feed campaigns with campaigns focused on RHS.  Nanigans data shows that RHS continues to deliver strong return for retailers.   Despite retailer CTRs for remarketing campaigns in News Feed averaging 23.2 times higher than RHS, the ROI for these locations is very similar- 281% on the RHS and 278% on News Feed.

rhsandfacebook news feed

2. Bid for return.

More competition can lead to higher costs. So why do advertisers compete for higher priced inventory during the competitive holiday season? Because it’s worth it.  In this example, revenue optimized advertisers absorbed a cost increase of 21% on Cyber Monday as compared to the prior day, all while achieving a single day return on ad spend (ROAS) of 131% on Cyber Monday—higher than their 121% ROAS on the day prior.

revenue optimized advertiser

Our recommendation: Use return to inform your bids. After all, it’s in your best interest to drive high value purchases and focus on predictive lifetime value. Advertisers who bid to optimize to a CPA goal may miss out on the top performing and most highly sought after Facebook audiences.

3.  Reengage your audience

Think holiday shoppers are one time shoppers? Think again. Last year’s data indicated that November is the best time to achieve high ROI and bring in long-term revenue because customers are more likely to make purchases from a variety of brands.   To ensure that your target audience continues to engage with your brand, make sure to remind them of all you have to offer.

Our recommendation: Use Custom Audiences to reengage last year’s highest value customers. Segment email lists and customize creative to each segment for best results. And don’t forget to leverage Lookalike Audiences based on these segments to expand your reach!

Additionally, we recommend adding FBX to your Facebook marketing plan to reengage with customers who have recently viewed products on your site, but have yet to make a purchase. The intent to purchase is there, so retargeting them via FBX is really can significantly increase the profitability of your Facebook marketing efforts.

A Nanigans study found that FBX retargeting to people who entered the remarketing pool through Facebook Ads API buys lead to 39% additional unique purchasers and 89% higher sales per purchasing customer.


Don’t forget to put a big spending push behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday along with December.  Last year Nanigans found that customers acquired the week before Thanksgiving and Christmas consistently yielded high return, both short-term and long-term.  And remember those last-minute shoppers. Keep running your holiday campaigns right up until Christmas Day!

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