Autumn has arrived and the clocks have gone back, a time of year synonymous with finalising your Christmas marketing strategy. This year, it’s expected that there will be more shoppers than ever taking to mobile for Christmas shopping, as 93% of people in the UK now own or use a mobile phone. It’s crucial to get your strategy right now, as according to Facebook 48% of women and 33% of men start their Christmas shopping in November. Christmas is the most engaged time of the year on Facebook. Last year 32m actions were taken every day on the platform – 10% more than on an average day. These stats are the reason our latest blog is going to focus on how to create a winning seasonal marketing strategy to make sure you make the most of Q4. We’ll tell you what ads you should be running, what dates you should have in the calendar, and even chuck in a few tips so that you can beat the competition.

 

 

The dates you need to remember

Q4 is renowned for being hectic, so we’ve included the most important dates here to make sure you’re not missing a trick.

Black Friday – 23rd November

Originating in America as a shopping-fest the week after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is now spreading across the globe. Last year, mobile sales on Black Friday grew by over 35%. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this one, so make sure you have your ad creative ready as soon as possible. 

Cyber Monday – 26th November

As if Black Friday wasn’t enough shopping mayhem, people are ready for round two after a week of recovery. Cyber Monday will take place on the 26th November in 2018 and it is expected that a large amount of conversions will be made on mobile. Last year, mobile devices accounted for over one third of total sales. Targeting lookalike audiences goes a long way for this online-only event.

 

Weekend

The final days before Christmas – 22nd to 24th December

This is a busy weekend for everyone. For the organised it’s most likely adding the finishing touches to shopping lists, whereas for the less organised it’s generally when panic-buying ensues. For those of you with retail stores this is the perfect opportunity to sell any remaining christmas stock you have at reduced price. By offering last-minute deals to shoppers and using ads to target people that live in your local area you can drive people into the store.

Boxing Day – 26th December

This is the biggest post-Christmas shopping day and sees shoppers heading to the streets in their millions. It’s also an incredibly busy time for online sales as everyone is desperate to grab the biggest bargain. According to advertising tech company Captify, in 2016 online sales in the UK amounted to over £980 million. Target buyers with to-the-point copy and ‘Shop now’ call-to-action buttons. It’s best to keep these ads rolling out into the New Year (stock levels depending) with minor amendments to keep them up-to-date, as shoppers keep their eyes out for a bargain well into January.

 

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The four phases of Christmas

By being organised and gradually warming up audiences in the lead up to the Christmas period you will increase your conversions and save money on your ads. These four phases will keep you on the right track, telling you who to target and when.

1: Prospecting for customers (now until 21st November)

It’s important to start advertising to expand your reach now and to warm up cold traffic towards your brand. If you wait past phase one, it will become much more expensive to do so. We recommend some carousel ads with lifestyle images to convey what your brand is all about and to capture the attention of potential future customers. Lookalike of purchasers are a great audience to target.

2: Keep on warming (22nd to 27th November)

Start warming up your audience by serving them product ads. Carousels and collection ads are good to use here, but make sure your copy isn’t too direct as these people are still near the top of the sales funnel. You should start gaining some conversions here, though.

Do not forget Black Friday (23rd November) and Cyber Monday (26th November) within this phase. On these days, retarget to phase 1 audiences by pushing your best products and offering discounts. Dynamic product ads with overlays and templates are a good place to start. On these days make sure you use direct and actionable copy and that your ads make purchasing compelling.

 

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3: Thanksgiving to Christmas (28th November to 25th December)

Whilst this period does go up to Christmas, in practicalities it should probably go up to your last shipping date before Christmas (usually 20th or 21st). Go all out here to sell as much as possible. You should offer discounts and promotions such as ‘Free delivery’ and ‘Limited stock’. You should also be including actionable and direct copy to create a sense of urgency and encourage your audience to buy. Don’t forget to add bundles and packages whereby customers receive a higher discount or a freebie if they spend over a certain amount.

4: Post Christmas to New Year (26th to 31st December)

The easiest way to go about this phase is to extend phase 3. Another option is to use localised audience targeting to encourage people in your local area to visit your retail store and pick up a bargain. You can also use post-Christmas overlays.

How to beat the competition

Whilst there are a huge amount of customers during the festive season, there is also a huge amount of competition from other businesses, so you need to produce your best marketing in order to stand out from the crowd. Make sure you do these things to save time and create maximum impact.

Use overlays and templates

Add overlays and customisable templates to your dynamic ads to showcase your products. By creating overlays to include prices and discounts you can draw the attention of your customers. It’s also a good idea to create templates for each of the key dates mentioned earlier in the blog so that people know you mean business and you stick out from the crowd. Don’t forget to use these during other seasonal events in the year too!

 

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Use video

This point is super important. Videos are well-known for capturing your audience’s attention for longer. Therefore, you can’t afford to not be using video during the busiest shopping period of the year. For those of you that don’t have the time to film from scratch, Facebook’s video creation kit is a useful way to create quick and eye-catching videos using existing photo assets, text overlays and logos. You can use video ad templates to create mobile-first ads for a range of objectives.

Make sure you’re advertising on Instagram too

We love Instagram, and it’s a love that is well deserved after such a successful year for the platform. Instagram ads are available for all advertisers in the UK and can be used in conjunction with Facebook for maximum reach and impact (this is particularly relevant for younger target audiences). Regardless of your objective, Instagram sales are on the rise and it would be a shame to miss out on such a valuable revenue stream.

 

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Dynamic creative

Dynamic creative can save you time when trying to get the correct creative out to a range of audiences. This works well for businesses that have a best-selling product that they wish to advertise to a wide range of people. Dynamic creative enables you to select a variety of text, copy and call-to-action buttons and a range of audiences which Facebook will then match together for the best results. It will analyse which ad version works best for each audience and in each placement, providing you with the insights you need to run the most effective ads and drive the results you want. By enabling Facebook to do the legwork you are able to save time whilst ensuring that each audience views relevant and engaging ads.

 

There’s a lot of information here, but by incorporating this strategy you’re guaranteed to have a very merry Christmas.

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