Thoughts, stories and ideas.

Hey,

So you've found your way here, huh? That's awesome! This lean piece will give you some pointers in the do's and don'ts for the second half of 2019; where the first part of that half consists of preparing your ad account for the holiday season gathering data and building momentum to enable yourself to have the best outcome when you want to maximize sales during Q3-Q4.

I work at Zalster btw, one of few Facebook Marketing Partner and Instagram Partner in the Nordics, but that's all I'll mention about us in this post. You came here to get an idea of how to maximize the rest of 2019 and that's what you'll get.


⭐️ Post Summary Bullets ️️⭐️

May - June:

  • Strategic campaign planning, structuring and budgeting for June-December.
  • Get your margins straight and know your breakeven ROAS/CPA levels.
  • Make sure that the basics are in place (pixel, product catalogue, website, loading time, checkout, audiences). Learn from last year; what did and didn't work.

July - September:

  • In prospecting we trust. Build momentum by populating your re-targeting audiences during the summer when advertising is cheap. This will be your secret weapon during Q3-Q4.
  • Shift your budget to 80% prospecting and 20% re-targeting during the summer.
  • Prepare and optimize your ad creatives and make sure they are good (like, really good). Focus on video, motion, color, frames and optimize for ad placement such as feed and stories. The noice will already be loud in Q3, how do you compete with that?

October - December:

  • Auction is now getting competitive. Use your populated re-targeting audiences and maximize sales by allocating 70% re-targeting and 30% prospecting.
  • More than 50% start shopping for Christmas gifts as soon as October (!). Inspire/guide your potential customers early into shopping gifts for the whole family in one place (one-stop-shop thinking). Pro tip; stories is a great placement for sharing inspiration.
  • Dare to leverage budget when reaching satisfying ROAS/CPA levels. If necessary, allocate from other paid marketing channels.

    December - January:
  • Post holiday sales, activate your up-selling and cross-selling game.
  • Start planning for next year. Proactivity, analyzing and following up on performance and learnings is the key to success.

🔥 Full post 🔥

You: "How about starting off smooth with some thoughts on ad creatives?"

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🚀 ZALSTER feed (4:5)

A post shared by Zalster Creatives (@zalstercreatives) on

This Creative works like a charm on the US market for example 

I'll just assume that this is on your mind. Because we really need to talk creatives at some point. We can't stress this enough. It doesn't matter if you have the best possible campaign structure, rich audiences and the perfect budget to match that - if your creatives suck or aren't in line with Facebook best practices (since this doesn't have to be an opposing relationship) - you won't get those results you desperately want and need. So if you feel that you need to have a look and check the ad creative-box, just have a look at this post that's solely dedicated to that. Show this to your creative team or agency after finish reading. You're welcome.

So, let's dive in to how you should structure the upcoming 6-7 months of 2019:


✍🏼 May - June: Strategic Planning ✍🏼


Without a well oiled strategy you might lose out on some amazing ROI. As I said; be prepared and start early. Starting early allows you to analyze last years performance and investigate which target groups and ads that work best for your company.

First off; make sure you have all your basics right.

  • That your pixel is implemented correctly and the pixel event is running without errors. Go to pixel from the main menu in Ads Manager to check your pixel status.
  • That your Product Catalog is up to date, formatted correctly and sending the right parameters. Go to Catalog from the main menu in Ads Manager to check your catalog status.
  • Make sure to have up-to-date custom audiences (GDPR compatible) and fresh expanded lookalike audiences; use high value based lookalikes from your pixel to find more high converting people. A good seed audience will probably appear to be a golden ticket. Consolidate audiences as much as you can.
  • And last but not least; make sure your website is working properly, revise loading times, UX and mobile compatibility (seems crazy obvious for some when reading it, but alarming to others).
  • If you are a brand shipping globally, have a look at your payment methods to make sure you have enough payment options making it easy to purchase from your site wherever you are in the world. This can be a deal breaker later on.
  • Prepare separate landing pages only for Christmas gifts and Black Friday deals so your potential customers don't bounce off site because of 90 min scrolling - trying to find that deal you mentioned in your ad.
  • Consider bundle deals, you know this "buy 2 items get the 3rd for free". This will higher your purchase order value, lower your stock inventory and make your customers consider buying all their holiday gifts from one place(you), win-win right?

Second, get your margins straight and know your break even ROAS and CPA levels. Don't channel-lock any budget for Q3-Q4; be flexible to scale when you hit that sweet spot. We have seen so many great scaling opportunities go to waste because of "someone" setting fixed budgets in the beginning of the year.

For most of us, summer vacation is around the corner. Make sure you have started your campaign planning and structuring early so that you are prepared to build momentum during the summer.


🚧 June - September: Build momentum 🚧

General budget rules: Prospecting 80% / Re-targeting 20%

The summer period is a great (and cheap) time to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, because there are a lot of advertisers out there that think the exact opposite:

"We should turn off our campaigns during the summer and save money to afford really big budgets in the fall."
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"We should turn off our campaigns and analyze the results of doing Facebook marketing."
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"We should turn off our campaigns because the majority of the office is empty almost all summer."

You see where this is going? It's not a good strategy. But since so many are doing it, advertising on Facebook and Instagram is perfect during summer (very catch 22); reaching more people with less budget that will populate your audiences really well. Then shifting to re-targeting during the rest of the year when the auction is super competitive and most brands in the world are competing against each other working late hours trying to spend that budget.

And why is that? What do people do when they're on summer holiday? What do people do when they have little or nothing to do at work because it's so slow at the office during the summer? That's right. They scroll and scroll and scroll Facebook and Instagram, more than ever.

Focus on prospecting during the summer and don't just run conversion campaigns, experiment with other objectives as well such as engagement and video view for example to populate more custom audiences from different sources that you can use later. About budgets, don't hold back. Use some of that budget you've planned for Q3-Q4 and put that into cheap prospecting during the summer, it will give you more conversions in the long run. When budgeting like this on prospecting; don't forget to keep an eye on frequency and first time impression ratio to make sure your prospecting audiences isn't getting saturated and be ready to expand them if needed.

To sum it up,

  • Don't be the guy telling your paid ads team to cut down on budget during the summer. They won't thank you later.
  • Summer is a great and cheap time to leverage your advertising and build momentum in your audiences for Q3-Q4 coming up.
  • Focus on prospecting during the summer and use more objectives than conversion.
  • Make sure your audiences isn't getting saturated when increasing budget on prospecting.

💰 Late October - December: Maximize sales 💰


General budget rules:  Prospecting 30% / Re-targeting 70%

Showtime! 💘

Now it's time to start shifting your budget focus from prospecting to re-targeting. Use those populated audiences such as website visitors, engaged with FB/IG, viewed videos etc that you run during the summer and let the conversion rain begin..

Facebook research on mobile first shoppers show that more than 50% start shopping for Christmas gifts in October (!). This is something that most advertisers out there aren't aware of, meaning that there is a great opportunity to acquire customers early before the real fight for every customer $ comes middle/late November through December. If you've done your homework right - bulking up prospects rigorously all summer - you can make use of that momentum and competitive advantage when late October comes. Inspire/guide your potential customers into shopping gifts for the whole family in one place. We all love those one-stop-shop sites. Here is where custom made landing pages comes handy. Filter your products and show gifts for mom, dad, sister, brother and kids.

So, let's get back to the ad creative part. Our feeds will explode with strobe light looking ads popping with massive sales messages so have this in mind and be creative in your ad expression and use different ad format, colors, patterns, motion and frames to stand out and grab attention quickly. Pro tip, focus on stories and optimize your ads towards this placement. It's also a really great format since you can share it to your friends and family. Perfect for gift inspiration, right? 💁🏼

October - beginning November you should be focusing on inspiration, deals and to be price competitive, but mid November - December it's all about fast delivery. 🏎 Make sure to update your copy and selling points end November to fast delivery since people don't care about that percentage off if they won't get their gifts before Christmas Eve.

📆 Dates to keep in mind:

  • 🎃 Halloween - October
  • 🙏🏽 Thanksgiving - November
  • ⚫ Black Friday - November
  • 🤑 Cyber/Green Monday - December
  • 🎅🏼 Christmas Eve - December
  • 🎆 New Year's Eve - December

To sum it up,

  • Shift your budget focus to re-targeting and use all your populated sources that you've gained during the summer.
  • More than 50% start shopping for Christmas gifts in October. Don't be late.
  • Create custom made landing pages to remove friction between your potential customers and their shopping experience.
  • When it comes to the creative part, one sentence: grab attention quickly.
  • Focus on deals in October - beginning November and focus on delivery mid November - December.

🎄 December - January: Post holiday sales 🎄

General budget rule: Prospecting 50% / Re-targeting 50%.

Phew, that't a wrap! Right?

Nope.. Time to gear up your cross- and up-sell campaigns. Do you have a customer who has bought a suit? That customer will also be needing a bow tie and a belt for New Years. Do you have a customer who bought a spa gift card? Make sure to also give that customer a deal to spend the night, add an extra treatment or to add another person at a discount. Make use of all your great work even during and after the holidays.

And hey, marketing never sleeps. The next step is to evaluate performance, learnings and to already start planning for next year. Proactivity, analyzing and following up on performance and learnings is the key to success.

Now, go ahead and execute. 👋🏼🍿

Need help preparing your business for Q3-Q4? Let's chat. E-mail us at hello@zalster.com