You can't fight the law of supply and demand. That's why you should accept the fact that online ad prices will skyrocket during the holiday season - when advertising space is in high demand.
In the past, some people reported seeing ad prices increase by as much as 20 to 30%. That's enough to take the "R" out of ROI.
It could be worse this year. Expect some ad networks and social media channels to jack up their prices by as much as 50%.
Fortunately, that's an expected problem. That means you can prepare for it and manage your cash flow accordingly.
Here are a few ways to handle the upcoming increase in online ad prices.
If You're in the B2B Space, Just Drop Out
What's causing the uptick in ad prices, anyway? Obviously, it's people shopping for Christmas gifts. E-tailers typically expect a huge upswing in sales on Cyber Monday.
That means the ad prices are almost all consumer-driven. If you're not marketing to consumers, a good way to play this challenge is to just drop out completely (or reduce budget and then reallocate it when ad prices subside).
Although you'll have limited exposure thanks to the reduced ad spend, keep in mind that it's often the case that not much happens in the business world during the holiday season anyway. That's because people go on vacation and start focusing more on spending time with their families. It is a good time to save money.
Some businesses even shut down in late December.
So you might not even have that much to lose by dropping ads during the holidays even if advertising costs didn't skyrocket. Of course, you could also increase your ad spend in the new year to make up for lost advertising during the holiday season.
Shop for Cheaper Alternatives
Now is a good time to shop around for ad networks that are 1) reputable and 2) offer a low CPC. There are more than a few of them out there.
Let's stick with the B2B theme for a moment. You might find that advertising prices on LinkedIn don't go up that much, if at all, during the holidays.
Why? Because LinkedIn isn't viewed as a great source formarketing to consumers.
Facebook, on the other hand, is viewed as an outstanding source for marketing to consumers. So you can expect those ad prices to go through the roof. It should be noted, you can also do well with B2B campaigns on Facebook, if you really know your targeting.
Let's go back to LinkedIn.
Take a look at the ad prices on LinkedIn during the months of November and December. If they're in line with your marketing budget, buy advertising there instead of on some of the more expensive alternatives.
Also, consider Pinterest. You might find that if you start your advertising campaign well ahead of Thanksgiving, you can save big bucks on advertising.
Here's a good end-of-year spending strategy for Pinterest:
Start running your ads as early as August
Scale them up in September and maybe even October
Monitor the performance of your ads - if they're performing well at a good price, increase the ad spend
When the holidays start getting closer, take a close look at your budgets and ROI. If things look good, allocate more for the big holiday sale push. If you are losing money, back off.
Keep in mind, though, that you're going to spend quite a bit of money in October with that strategy. Still, it's a great way to build brand name awareness while promoting your product or service close to the holiday season.
Improve Your Targeting
It's always a great idea to look for ways to improve your targeting. It might be absolutely essential during the holidays.
Why? Because you can save a bundle when you target your ad to very specific audience that gives you a high click-through rate. You'll find that Facebook, for example, often "rewards" you with a very low CPC when your ad generates a high level of engagement.
The best way to make this strategy work is to create very specific personas of people in your target market. Then, run ads targeted specifically to people who match those personas.
Make Your Ad Irresistible
Again, this is something that you should always be doing but sometimes necessity is the mother of innovation.
You need an ad that's basically clickbait.
Why? For the same reason that you should practice micro-targeting: you can often get a better bang for your buck when you get more people to click on your ad.
Think about ways that you can position your product or service so that people who match your personas can't resist clicking on it. Brainstorm up a headline that creates curiosity. Use imagery (or, better yet, a video) that's destined to create engagement.
Content Marketing and Remarketing
Hopefully, you're engaged in some level of content marketing. Also hopefully, some of your articles bring lots of visitors to your site. If you are, make sure you are taking advantage of remarketing! That is the best way to get the most out of your content marketing. It works wonders for our clients, it will work for you.
Work With a Great Vendor and Take Control
You don't have to just throw your hands in the air and gripe about the increased online ad prices this holiday season. There are plenty of ways to handle that challenge. Just be certain to pick the strategies that are best suited to your business model. Also, make sure you are working an agency who really knows their stuff.