The holiday season now stretches from late October all the way through to the January sales. While it’s true that the season is a time of fierce competition, it can also be an incredibly lucrative period if you’ve planned well and started early. As the season has grown, so have the main holiday shopping peaks. These peaks gives us new and exciting ways to reach people and influence their holiday shopping habits. Here you'll find numerous, great tips and insights to make your Q4 planning a bit more lean. 🎅🏼

  • Holiday shoppers are spending more and more - and so should you.
  • Earlier shoppers won’t tolerate bad buying experiences - this goes all the way from ad to checkout and delivery.
  • Social is the new window shopping - the place that consumers browse to find ideas and inspiration - remember who is gifting to your core audience.
  • Major shopping events have gone global - holiday shopping is a global phenomenon and a good time for you to enter new markets.
  • Messaging is fueling loyalty - staff up on customer service during busy weeks and guide your potential customers to purchase from you. The most frequent questions during Q4 is product information, pricing and gift inspiration. Have this in mind when creating your Holiday ads.
  • Window shopping is shifting to Stories - the most shared format and perfect for gift inspiration.
  • 7M active advertisers - it says a lot about the competition for conversions in Q4, but also a about how prepared you need to be in order to maximize sales.
  • 130M Instagram users click on a shopping story every month - with 500M accounts using Stories daily, let's just say it's a important placement.

Q3-Q4 Overview ✅

Source: Facebook Holiday Guide 2019

Phase 2; Build Momentum

  • Ignite discovery - create buzz around your brand online in the build up to all holiday peaks. A video-first focus will engage and wow your audiences. Be sure to use engaging content for better brand recall.
  • Go broad - holiday shoppers do not fit typical audience demographics as many of them are gifting. Ensure your branding drives awareness for uninitiated audiences too.
  • Expand your audiences - broaden your lookalike audiences to bulk up on pixel data in order to sharpen your re-targeting game later on.
  • Consolidate into fewer ad sets - meet the minimum conversion optimization requirement of 50 conversions per week and avoid unnecessary ad set overlaps.
  • Final technical health check - troubleshoot your pixel, SDK, catalog, loading time and sales funnel. Ensure capacity meets predicted demand as site speed and traffic volumes are essential.
  • Make sure you have enough liquidity to meet needs over holiday peaks – campaigns stalling over the holidays can be disastrous. Check that your account is up to date and that contingency funds are available so you can scale and adapt to demands over the holiday peaks. Take a look at your account spending limit so your campaigns doesn't get shut down because of limited spend.

Phase 3; Maximize Sales

  • Remove cost restraints - switch to the lowest cost bid strategy without a bid cap. If you're using a bid cap, increase it, if you're using a cost target, change it and if using minimum ROAS, adjust it. Bid higher than in non-holiday seasons.
  • Add placements - add more placements or switch to automatic placements. Consider using Marketplace, Messenger, Instagram explore and Stories.
  • Broaden your audience - remove all unnecessary targeting restrictions.
  • Choose a longer conversion window - this will improve average costs per conversion for the same budget and drive more delivery.
  • Use accelerated delivery if needed - spend a full budget quickly without any cost constraints. Please note: costs can be higher than standard delivery.
  • Avoid frequent changes to budgets and strategy - this will reset Facebook’s learning phase resulting in fluctuating results and a big risk of getting stuck in pending reviews.
  • Use automation tools to help you make the changes you want done. Whether it's pausing bad performing ads or increase budgets on well performing campaigns.

Phase 4; Post Christmas

  • Gear up your up-sell/cross-sell - leverage your paid advertising to up-sell and cross-sell past buyers.
  • Build relations - the post Christmas period not only offers discounts but is a good time to follow up with customers on products purchased and build relationships.
  • Keep sales alive and regional - sales dates vary by region. In the UK, sales start on December 26th (Boxing Day), while in Spain it’s the 7th of January.
  • Take advantage of online - e-commerce businesses can start January sales much earlier than retailers.
  • Add value - offer your pre-Christmas clients a free gift or special offer for participating in your January sales in order to help strengthen relationships

Peak Holiday Calendar 2019 📆

Source: Facebook Holiday Guide 2019
Source: Facebook Holiday Guide 2019

Facebook Peak Strategies 🚀

  • Extend peaks - extend each peak as much as possible by starting early with big offers. Create sense of urgency with ‘limited time offers’ and be flexible to continue offers past peak if they are performing.
  • Use Flash Sales – massive flash sales can drive conversions and grow your audience for retargeting over the rest of the holiday season. Hourly item sales over peak periods help keep customers coming back and exploring your sales offering.
  • Threshold Sales – threshold sales drive increased average order value (AOV). Encouraging consumers to spend a little bit more in order to receive a larger discount on their order.
  • Offer free gifts - offer threshold free gifts or free shipping to encourage sales. Everyone loves ‘free’ gifts and shipping.
  • Bundle sales - offer discounts on bundled products. Bundle similar or complementary products together to increase AOV.
  • Old stock clearance sale - consider a ‘Pre-Black Friday’ old stock clearance sale the weekend before Black Week for lower CPAs, a quick jump on the sales period and to build your client list. Offer discounts on bundled products.
  • Loyalty – use early offers for loyal customers. Use re-marketing discount code offers to entice Black Week shoppers to return. Offer a strong returns policy to build customer loyalty.
  • Messenger Bot - run campaigns through your Messenger bot for lower costs and a guided shopping experience.
  • Enter new markets - tackle cross border markets (US/CA, EU, Asia): Black Friday is everywhere.
  • Stay consistent - avoid frequent changes to budgets and strategy, everything should be locked down one month prior to going live to avoid getting stuck in pending review. Keep a consistent discount message across all sales channels.
  • Retail – drive clients in-store with personalized ads focused on each of your retail outlets. Offer an extra discount for ‘order and collect’ shopping experiences (order online, collect in-store) to cut down on shipping logistics.

For more peak insights, check out this post about Black Friday! ⚡️