Stop Wasting Your Holiday Advertising Budget on Social Media | Yotpo

Last updated on January 7, 2024

Image Credit: Yotpo Studio
Aimee Millwood
Director of Content at Yotpo
October 17th, 2017 | 8 minutes read
Table Of Contents

‘Tis the season for eCommerce sales… and sky-high holiday advertising budgets.

This time of year may be full of cheer – but it’s also very competitive.

Budgeting effectively helps you get ahead of the competition and can make your holiday season super profitable.

Data from Kissmetrics indicates that during the holidays:

  • Ad impressions typically increase 50%
  • Click-through rates rise 100%
  • Direct traffic increases 150%
  • The average order value grows by 30%
  • Conversion rates go up 60%

So what’s the first step to refining your holiday strategy and capitalizing on holiday shopping? Stop wasting your holiday advertising budget on social media!

Obviously, this doesn’t mean cutting out social ads completely. You just need to be smart in order to get the best return for your money.

Holiday advertising is expensive due to increased demand.

Plus, it’s extra important to get the most out of your PPC budget during the holidays because as those ad prices go up,  profit margins go down thanks to widespread discounts and other seasonal cash flow changes.

Even the most well-oiled holiday machine can stand to improve budgeting at this time of year.

So stop wasting your money right now.

Here is how you can get the best return on social ads during the holiday season.

Turn New Shoppers into Loyal Customers

Holiday shoppers are in comparison mode. During the holidays, people are hunting for specific gifts, not necessarily shopping at their normal stores.

You’re going to be getting tons of new seasonal traffic. The trick is not just turning that relevant traffic into customers in the short-term, but also getting long-term value from those new customers.

During the holidays, people are likely to shop at  new stores – but in order to do that, they need to know they can trust the store.

Instead of using holiday advertising as an opportunity to exclusively publicize seasonal deals, use it to set your store apart by building trust.

This won’t just win over new shoppers. It’s the stepping stone towards turning new shoppers into loyal return customers.

The value of boosting brand loyalty is huge. Repeat shoppers spend 2.92 times more than one-time shoppers.

Best Practice Tips:

  • To build trust, use customer reviews and photos in your social ads to show shoppers why your customers love your brand in their own authentic voices.
  • Use site reviews to target new shoppers and product reviews to re-target shoppers who have already been to your store.
  • Use retargeting ads to offer discounts specific to the new shoppers who visited your store but haven’t yet purchased. After the holiday season, you’ll have a huge list of new visitors you can continue retargeting for the long-term growth of your customer base.
  • Turn new holiday shoppers into loyal customers by offering coupons for customers who write a review after purchase. The benefit is two-fold: you get valuable review content, while also bringing customers back to your store. Offering coupons for customer content is often more valuable in the long-term than offering coupons for dollars spent.

Create Mobile Facebook Ads People Won’t Want to Tune Out

Since the number of ad blocking users is on the rise on both desktop and mobile, when your ads are seen by consumers, they better count.

The good news is that many ad blockers don’t work on the Facebook mobile app, and that’s where most shoppers will be seeing your holiday advertising anyway.

Some 51.7% of Facebook users only access from mobile and about 80% of Facebook’s advertising revenue comes from mobile.

And during the holidays, that number is even higher: On Facebook, there are more posts, shares, and comments during the holidays than at any other time of the year, and more people using mobile devices to look for deals and gift ideas before shopping.

Still, just because your Facebook ads can still be seen on mobile, doesn’t mean you’re reaching consumers. You need to create ads people actually want to see, so they don’t just scroll on by.

Improve the Return on Your Holiday Advertising Spend with Value-Optimized Ads

This year, Facebook introduced value optimization and value-based Lookalike Audiences to help companies target people who are more likely to spend more with them.

With value-optimized ads, Facebook uses tracking data to determine how much a person is likely to spend with your brand and applies an appropriate bid multiplier on that person. This drives a higher return on ad spend via bidding on more of the right people.

With value-based Lookalike Audiences, Facebook can automatically segment Custom Audiences based on how likely they are to spend, allowing brands to easily reach only the most valuable audiences.

Adding potential value as one of the criteria for ad audiences drives more of the right customers your way, and reaching relevant shoppers is the key to keeping them as customers in the long-term.

Blenders Eyewear used value-optimized ads to increase its return on ad spend by 18% as compared to conversion-optimized ads.

Not only that, Blenders also uses customer reviews in their Facebook Dynamic Product Ads. The move to include user-generated content boosted their return on ad spend by 62%, decreased cost per click by 38%, and doubled their click-through rate.

Holiday advertising ideas

That brings us to the next point…

Good Creative is Customer Creative

And it’s basically free!

The best way to attract new customers is through the trusted advice of previous shoppers.

Newsfeeds are going to be flooded with ads, so the way a brand can stand out is by getting some word-of-mouth referrals.

Using reviews in Facebook  ads is a valuable Facebook advertising strategy for increasing conversions and the overall impact of social traffic. You can take this a step further and use customer photos in ads as well.

Not only do customer photos look more like organic Facebook content, they are also more relatable and allow shoppers to imagine your products in their own lives.

This is why collecting more user-generated content in the lead-up to the holidays is crucial. It’ll give you more way more (free) creative to work with come holiday sales time.

Target (and Retarget) Strategically

Another new Facebook tool allows you to take targeting to the next level. Never mind targeting by city, or even neighborhood, Facebook now lets you target members of the same household of any given audience.

Consumers are most often shopping for family members and friends around the holidays. So, showing a hockey stick to a mother when her son was among the original target audience, for example, will likely influence her to purchase it for him as a holiday gift.

Think about how much more power an ad like this would have if it included a review from a customer in the same age group as her son. The social proof provided by UGC eliminates purchase anxiety both when consumers are shopping for themselves and when they’re shopping for gifts.

Best Practice Tips:

  • Don’t just show holiday ads to random shoppers who know nothing about your brand. Start with previous buyers or visitors who are already familiar with your brand.
  • Use Facebook Custom Audiences to build a targeted group of users (using email lists or retargeting pixels). These people may have a higher cost-per-click, but they’re highly qualified.
  • Use dynamic retargeting. Dynamic retargeting allows you to target customers on Facebook with the exact product they were browsing on your store. This means you’re getting more for your money, because you’re targeting customers with products you know they’ve shown interest in.

Keep a Schedule to Invest in the Days that Matter Most

It’s important to create a strategic schedule before the holidays so you can make the most out of every dollar, every day.

During big days, it’s best to only re-market to customers who have previously interacted with your content. Since, customers will be so flooded with ads, they need to be familiar with your brand for your ads to make the biggest impact.

One option is to retarget Facebook users who interacted with your content earlier in the quarter, for example, ahead of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Your brand is fresh in their minds, and they are likely already scouting out holiday sales.

Also, think outside of the box when scheduling. One way to do this is by increasing your ad bid before everyone else.

During the week before Black Friday, tons of other businesses are also increasing their bids. This means you’ll need to prime shoppers even earlier so they remember you.

Kmart took this to a new level a couple of years back, when they started their holiday advertising campaign as early as September. Check out their ad, which pokes fun at their early bird strategy, below:

On the other end of the spectrum, holiday-themed advertising late into the season is also a great way to generate excitement for end-of-year sales.

Top Takeaways for Effective Holiday Advertising

  • Set a strategic schedule. Understand which days and times warrant additional spending.
  • Invest in value optimization for your Facebook ads.
  • Create Custom Audiences and target accordingly. Don’t forget to target the associated households to maximize gift shopping.
  • Keep your ads relevant. Attracting quality, long-term customers is more important a temporary bump in sales.
  • Make the most of user-generated content in your ads to build social proof, trust, and sales.