Facebook Holiday Ads Tips for Retailers Who Want to Stand Out

By Tinuiti Team

Facebook Holiday Ads Tips for Retailers

There are 3 million businesses currently competing for attention on Facebook.

What will make your business stand out in a flurry of Facebook holiday ads this year?

“We’re consistently seeing year-over-year and sometimes month-over-month that more advertising dollars are going toward social in general–not just on Facebook,” says Sarah Rogers, Senior Social Strategist at CPC Strategy.

We’ve covered Facebook Product Ads, Facebook Video Ads, and beyond. But when Q4 hits, there won’t be any time to test strategies or theories. Retailers who don’t have a clear Facebook Ad strategy won’t maximize their ROI.

Four CPC Strategy social experts–Rogers, Nii Ahene (COO, Co-Founder), LaBroi Walton (Retail Search Manager), and Stephen Kerner (Manager, Retail Search)–share tips for Facebook holiday ads that will set successful e-comm retailers apart from the pack in 2016.


What are the most powerful Facebook holiday ad/targeting tactics for retailers?


Kerner: Start testing now so you know what demographic and interest target works best for you. Then, build a Lookalike Audience off email addresses and layer in the best performing interest and demo.



labroi-waltonWalton: As all stores are different, I believe it really helps to test the various formats Facebook offers.

Facebook does a good job of providing retailers a way to build from top-of-funnel to bottom-of-funnel with their various objectives if used correctly. This will also teach you a lot about your target audience & what messaging resonates best with them.


nii-aheneAhene: Maximize CRM audiences to attract repeat buyers. The customer is already a retailer’s most valuable asset. Because those buyers have bought before, that retailer likely has their shipping info and credit card info stored, which means a repeat purchase is far more likely.

Use special deals and promotions to turn repeat buyers into “VIP” buyers. It doesn’t work for every type of vertical–but for giftable products, it’s especially valuable.

I’d also recommend targeting cart abandoners with ads. Shoppers have a million distractions, and it’s easy to abandon the cart, especially on a mobile checkout. Cart abandoners are basically low-hanging fruit.


sarahRogers: Lean heavily on your CRM list, and build that up leading into Q4. Those customers have raised their hand and shown interest in your brand, so if you have promotions going on, you’ll have a better chance to re-engage those customers.



What should retailers do in the months leading up to the holidays to prepare?


Kerner: Start testing now so you know what demographic and interest target works best for you.




labroi-waltonWalton: Test what you can now. Build up your audience with more branding-focused and engaging-focused objectives. You will continue to learn more about your audience and be able to retarget or re-engage with these users in Q4 when they’re likely to be in a “buying” mindset.



nii-aheneAhene: Prune and create those custom audiences. There are two axises you should care about–the frequency and the recency of a previous purchase.

Recency could vary depending on the product you sell. Create a matrix with people who have never purchased, those have purchased once, and those who have purchased 3x or more, then couple that with the recency of those purchases.

For those retailers with longer latency periods, there’s power in creating Lookalike Audiences using the information you already have. The Facebook algo is extremely powerful. If you input a sample size, they can find individuals who look like your VIPs (most frequent/recent buyers), and it’s up to you to create campaigns that draw them into that funnel.


sarahRogers: Building up your CRM list, and doing a lot of tests leading up to Q4, that way when you go big, you’ll know what’s going to work for your brand. There’s not tried and true methods for every client, so it’s important to know what works for your brand before you spend a lot in Q4.



How can omnichannel retailers use Facebook to increase both in-store and online sales this holiday season?


Kerner: They should be looking to take advantage of Geo-targeted ads, to make sure the ads are serving to relevant people. This would be a good way to get shopping incentives out.




labroi-waltonWalton: Utilizing Geo-targeting, coupled with device segmentation & DPA gives these retailers the ability to target potential & past customers in a whole new way. For example, a user that view a product on the website can now be retargeted with that specific product when that person is within proximity of the physical store.



nii-aheneAhene: This pertains more to customers with large consumer bases, but you can take a look at people who are already on your loyalty program–your VIP buyers–and provide in-store offers and discounts.

The bottom line is if you want someone to wake up and come to your store early on Black Friday, you have to make sure you’re paying attention to those VIP members. You’re probably not going to activate someone who never comes to your store. Leverage your CRMs and pay attention to their past buying behaviors.

If you’re already sending most of your deals via email, remember social and email are cousins, if not brother and sister. Email’s great if you can get into the inbox, but you’re at risk of getting in that spam box. A percentage of emails get ignored/filtered out. Social allows you to get in front of consumers who already have some loyalty.


sarahRogers: Social, in general, is really the only channel that includes every stage of the funnel. You can be super targeted to your audience, or you can go really broad and reach people who don’t know about your brand.

So it’s really up to each retailer how they want to use that and cross-promote–whether they want to get new customers, or re-engage past ones–Facebook is the hub for that.

If you really want to see a boost in online store sales, make sure to say that in your messaging–ie., “Hey we’re having sales in our stores.” There’s not really a great way to tie in FB messaging to in-store sales yet, but if that’s really important to you, adjust the messaging to gain new customers that way.


How would your Facebook ad strategy change for mobile?

Kerner: The strategy is going to be mostly mobile because that is where the majority of the traffic on Facebook comes from.




labroi-waltonWalton: Retailers have to really consider mobile buying behaviors in relation to Facebook, and look at attribution more.

Most ad traffic for FB starts on mobile, but many conversions tend to end via another source elsewhere. It’s important to know where Facebook mobile sits in your customer’s journey.


nii-aheneAhene: It’s going to depend on what side of the funnel you’re trying to engage. When you launch a Facebook campaign, you can be live on everywhere–the main Facebook feed on the .com, on the right rail, on mobile, and on Instagram. All of these are preselected when you create your ad, but it’s best to split them apart. Facebook will then optimize the budget, etc. for each separately. You’ll have more control and will be able to hit the KPIs better that makes sense for your business.

All of these are preselected when you create your ad, but it’s best to split them apart. Facebook will then optimize the budget, etc. for each separately. You’ll have more control and will be able to hit the KPIs better that makes sense for your business.


sarahRogers: Again, I think it depends on the retailer.

If a retailer has a mobile optimized site, I would encourage them to think of their mobile site as a way to gain new customers and re-engage people rather than be revenue-driven, simply because mobile drives the lowest CPCs but it doesn’t necessarily drive the highest ROI yet. Mobile is a great way to get a lot of traffic/eyeballs on your site, and be able to re-engage those people with desktop ads.

I don’t recommend the right side rail ads because the whole point of social is to make an ad experience feel native, even if it is an ad. They still sometimes drive traffic, but 1) it looks like an ad, and 2) it’s the only place on Facebook that doesn’t have a frequency cap, meaning your ad could spam the same people all day. On all of the other ad placements–whether it’s on Instagram or Facebook desktop newsfeed, there’s a frequency cap available.


The Bottom Line for Facebook Holiday Ads in 2016


Keep in mind there will be a shift in the Facebook ads marketplace this year, mainly due to bigger brands jumping on board.

Ahene points out, “Last year, we saw Amazon jump into Product level display ads carousel extensively.”

What does this mean for retailers?

“Amazon increases the cost per impression for everybody–we can expect that more retailers are going to do the same thing. Which means it’s even more important to be in tune with your audience.”


Want more Facebook advertising tips? Check out our posts below:

Have questions about this post? Email [email protected]

You Might Be Interested In

*By submitting your Email Address, you are agreeing to all conditions of our Privacy Policy.