Practical Ecommerce

Social Media Holiday Ads: 7 Steps to (Quickly) Prepare

Millions of holiday shoppers will soon start looking for deals. Will your social media ads be there to meet them? If not, your sales will likely see a small bump associated with the holidays, and that will be it. But if you took the time to prepare, that small bump could turn into much more.

There’s still time to get your accounts ready. It starts with a plan. In this article, I’ll address seven key steps to plan and execute your social media advertising.

7 Steps to Prepare Holiday Social Media Ads

Step 1: Plan your deals. Before you start composing your ads, determine your holiday specials. A full-day offer for Black Friday? Multiple offers on Cyber Monday? Weekly deals during December? If you don’t know what deals you’ll be offering, you can’t build the ads. Create a spreadsheet that keeps track of all of this. Here’s an example, below.

To help execute holiday social media campaigns, create a spreadsheet with the offers, their timing, the ad budget, and more.

To help execute holiday social media campaigns, create a spreadsheet with the offers, their timing, the ad budget, and more. Click image to enlarge.

Step 2: Set your ad budget. After you’ve determined your offers, decide how much to spend to promote them. Remember that the holiday season is the most-important time of the year for online advertisers. Auctions could therefore be expensive. You could spend more to get fewer clicks. However, you may see a much lower cost-per-acquisition and a higher return-on-ad-spend, because consumers that click on your ads are more motivated to purchase your products.

Consider increasing the ad bids by 15-to-20 percent above the top-end suggestions on Facebook and Twitter. (I’d also boost AdWords bids by 10 percent, by the way.) Those estimates may be incorrect. But you have to start somewhere and you can always revisit the bids later.

Step 3: Choose your target social media audience. You have many options for this. For the holidays, I use audiences that have performed well previously.

  • Facebook. One percent lookalike audience of paying customers and a 1 percent of fans.
  • Twitter. Users similar to your followers and customers.

Step 4: Write your ads. Get in the holiday spirit (and Cyber Monday shopper mindset) when you write these. Remember, similar to bidding, you’ll be competing with other advertisers. Get to the point with your ad text: Showcase your offer, its benefits, and when it expires. The holiday shopping season is intense. The success of your ads depends almost entirely on the offer, in my experience. But your ad creative — i.e., how you explain your offer — matters more than ever.

To the planning spreadsheet, add a new tab for each ad platform. Place all of your ad text there. That will ensure the text is within length specifications before you actually create the ads on the various platforms.

Add a new tab to the planning spreadsheet sheet for each social media platform. Include your ad text on the spreadsheet as well, to ensure it fits the length specifications.

Add a new tab to the planning spreadsheet sheet for each social media platform. Include your ad text on the spreadsheet as well, to ensure it fits the length specifications. Click image to enlarge.

Step 5: Get creatives ready; stockpile alternatives. This requires the most planning as the images in your ads must pull people in. Decide how you want those images to look and contact a freelance designer if necessary. Have the designer make several options to consider.

Facebook may have relaxed its rule that would prevent your ads from running if an image had more than 20 percent of text. But you still need to be cognizant of this rule. Moreover, the more text that is in your ad, the more distracted your prospects may be.

In my experience, choosing images is similar to text: Showcase the offer. If the offer is 70 percent off, really feature 70 percent off.

Step 6: Make sure tracking is in order. Insert UTM links in your campaigns, and have your tracking pixels set up for each network. It’s critical to know which ads produce the most customers.

Step 7: Set up and schedule ads. Use the planning spreadsheet, above, and set up and schedule your ads. Do it all now so you won’t be scrambling later, such as the day of the promotion.

How do you plan your social media campaigns for the holidays? Please share in the comments.

Michael Stancil

Michael Stancil

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