Hard to believe, but the clocks are slowly ticking toward the holidays, and from Black Friday onward, holiday shopping season will be in full swing. Countless businesses, small and large, will be vying for consumer attention through social media, print ads, and more, hoping to cash in on the biggest shopping season of the year.
"Copious amounts of money will be spent nationwide," says Brian Meert, CEO of the Facebook ad agency AdvertiseMint and author of The Complete Guide To Facebook Advertising, "and if you implement the right strategy, copious amounts of money could be spent on you."
Facebook ads are a great way to bring in new traffic to your site and drive sales, particularly around the holidays. Below, Meert shares some of his top tips for making the most of Facebook ads to drive holiday spending with your brand.
1. Create mobile-friendly ads.
As of this year, Facebook has accrued 989 million daily active mobile users. "That's 989 million people you can potentially reach," Meert says. "Not only does advertising on mobile unlock a treasure trove of potential customers, but it also raises your chances of generating sales."
According to Google's Inside AdWords blog, mobile may drive 43 percent of all traffic to retail sites this holiday season. The National Retail Federation also claimed that 55.7 percent of smartphone owners will shop through their phones.
Make sure your Facebook ad designs are mobile friendly, that they lead to mobile-friendly pages, and that you've enabled ads to be served on mobile devices. To do this, go to "Edit Placements" on Facebook Ads Manager and choose "Mobile" from the options.
2. Instill a sense of urgency.
"Phrases that instill a sense of urgency jolt most shoppers into action," Meert says. This is a common strategy widely relied on for its effectiveness.
Meert suggests using phrases like "Buy now before this deal expires!" or "for a limited time only" to inspire shoppers to make a purchase immediately, or using a countdown-to-Christmas deal to help drive engagement with your ads sooner rather than later.
3. Offer discounts.
A successful ad includes a clear value proposition, or the benefits of the item you're advertising and the ad you're serving. This value proposition may be a solution to your customers' problems or a discounted offer--something that makes conversion worthwhile to your customers.
This season, try offering discounted items, buy-one-get-one deals, or free shipping to attract customers to your products.
"Remember to offer your deals in strong, clear, and concise language, matched with the correct landing page," Meert says. If you want to present deals to your customers on Facebook, he suggests using an Offers ad.
4. Leverage social proof.
"Successful ads also contain social proof, the proof that people are engaging with your ads," Meert says. Social proof is important to your ad because it functions as a peer recommendation.
On Facebook, this proof includes the amount of shares, likes, and comments listed on the bottom of the ad, but it might also include a statement in the ad's text such as "5,000 people have sworn by this product."
A study conducted by MarketLive found that 30 percent of respondents made a purchase because of an ad's amount of engagement on social media, and 33 percent said they would make a purchase based on whether a friend had "Liked" a product.
5. Drive customers to your brick-and-mortar store.
"Although e-commerce is growing, brick-and-mortar stores still generate over 90 percent of sales," Meert notes. But that doesn't mean online information doesn't affect them: Around 6 percent of consumers will research products online before visiting a brick-and-mortar store.
"To ensure that you do not miss the opportunity of driving customers to your store, create local-awareness ads," Meert suggests.
With local-awareness ads, you can target people near your business locations, making it easy for customers to find you using proximity-based store maps and proximity-based call-to-actions, such as "Call now" or "Get directions."
6. Target late-night shoppers.
"Never underestimate the power of procrastination," Meert says. While some early birds shop weeks or even months in advance, some will wait until the last minute. These late shoppers will then frantically shop online instead.
To make sure your products are available for these last-minute and late-night shoppers, be sure you schedule your ads to appear later at night for these procrastinators.
7. Speak to self-gifters.
It's not just the season of giving to others. Many consumers also use this time of year to indulge themselves, rewarding themselves for a year of hard work or splurging on items to help keep their soon-to-come New Year's resolutions. To capitalize on this, advertisers should include ads that speak to self-gifters, too.
Meert suggests using language like "You've earned it" or "Treat yourself" to grab the attention of these self-gifters as part of your creative campaign.
8. Advertise post-holiday deals.
"Shopping does not end with the holidays," Meert points out, as many shoppers will continue to shop after the holidays to snag deals.
Take advantage of this by keeping your customers engaged even after the holidays have passed. To do this, alter the end date of your campaign to extend beyond the big holiday dates, or launch a second post-holiday campaign with different language aimed at luring deal-seeking shoppers into making a post-holiday purchase.