Jingle bells are already ringing. What’s your plan to Boost the Holiday Sales this year?
Digital marketers and advertisers get excited and a little ahead of themselves every year. At least in the retail world, they have been going since last month.
U.S. holiday retail sales in 2018 amounted to $719 Billion. That’s billion with a capital B.
But it’s not enough to just keep your store open during the holiday.
If you want to win a bigger piece of that enormous pie, you have to get creative. In 2019, it’s hard to move the needle in a big way with traditional media.
That’s why this guide will show you how to use Facebook and Google Ads together to boost your holiday sales.
Why Facebook and Google Ads?
The holiday season is a reason to push your marketing and strive to make an impact. To make this happen, you need access to wide-reaching channels.
Is that wide enough for you?
You might be thinking that you could get a similar, relevant reach with, for example, a TV campaign.
But to run a TV campaign, you have to commit big bucks before you know if it will work or not.
With digital channels like Facebook and Google, everything is pay-as-you-go.
That means you can get unmatched reach without having to commit a certain amount to any campaign.
You also get much more sophisticated targeting options. You can show ads exclusively to the people who are searching for deals on certain products. Or you can show ads to your competitors’ Facebook fans.
Any savvy Facebook ads marketer knows about the power of audiences. You build these audiences of engaged fans and customers over time.
One of the most reliable channels to reach already engaged consumers on the internet is Google Search.
That makes it perfect for audience building and can speed up the process to get usable lookalike audiences for efficient Facebook marketing.
What Makes a Good Facebook / Google Ad?
So what exactly does it take to create the ideal Facebook or Google ad? This depends on the platform, medium, country, time of year, and many more factors. Going into detail would probably turn this guide into a college course.
So we’ve gone ahead and tried our best to give you the abbreviated version.
A Relevant Ad = A Good Google Ad
With Google Search Ads, it’s all about showing an ad that is relevant to the customer at that very moment. The advertisement that is precisely what they are searching for is the ultimate goal. You can achieve this by simply borrowing the language from the user.
This concept is sometimes called message match and can improve conversion rates by up to 212%
For example, look at how this ad perfectly targets the search phrase “new york hotels”.
The two main keywords, “hotel” and “new york,” are included in the title, permalink, and description.
Even the landing page Booking.com has for this ad is unique and targeted to this very phrase.
That is the essence of an efficient Google Ad. Give the user what they are searching for at every stage.
It doesn’t change with the holiday season, as most users turn to Google already with specific products in mind.
The Elements of a Successful Facebook Ad
Last year, our team studied 752,626 Facebook ads and looked for exactly what sets successful ads apart.
- A relevant visual that stands out and helps grab attention.(The average human attention span is 8.25 seconds.)
- A description that is short, snappy, to the point, and passionate. (See above)
- Liberal use of emotional trigger words like you, new, instantly, free, etc.
- A fairly short headline. (The median was 19 characters in all the ads we analyzed.)
- If possible, tie into existing feelings of loyalty, passion, or nostalgia. (Borrow some IP.)
- A clear call to action.
Take a look at this United ad, for example.
The visual is a stunning and eye-catching image of a sunset in Colorado. The image conveys a sense of wonder with nature and is likely to make people want to travel, so it is perfect for an airline company.
The text itself is snappy, to the point, and ties into an obvious call to action. It uses the wording “your flights” to cause you to relate the ad to yourself. And it appeals to both patriots and passionate hikers in one go.
Are six rules to many for you? Well, rest assured, because if you can get some of them very right, you can get away with breaking others.
Next, let’s take a look at this Lay’s ad.
The picture is great in this ad, as well. It pops out the screen and forces you to pay attention to it. The description and headline are long, so the ad does break some rules. But, what it does right is that it pits two types of hot dogs against each other. Hot dogs that some people have strong feelings about.
Nevermind the $1m prize money; if you dive into the comments, you will see the deep emotions the ad hijacks.
And finally, a killer holiday example from Target.
The visual stands out (and includes a dog), yet is relevant. The text is short, snappy, incites a sense of urgency and has a call to action. It focuses on the age-old copywriting adage of newsworthiness. It sticks to this approach in the copy and the image.
It’s also contextually relevant. Target only advertised this ad in the build-up to Black Friday.
Make Sure Your Infrastructure Is Ready For a Big Campaign
Make sure that your server, webshop, and staff can stand up to potential demand generated.
One problem with the reach of digital marketing campaigns is that they can drive a lot of web traffic that your store might not be ready for.
You don’t want to be 2019’s laughing stock like Lowe’s last year when their website went down… in the middle of their Black Friday sale.
Shoppers who were trying to access Lowe’s online store during the sales ended up going directly to their competitors.
If you use a CMS, you must optimize your installation. The first essential tip is that you should set up a caching plugin to reduce server load if you use WordPress.
Next, make sure you use a CDN for images and videos; this will reduce the amount of stress on your servers. (Since your largest multimedia files will be hosted by other, more scalable servers that are less prone to downtime.)
Third, make sure that your server or hosting plan is actually up to the task of handling a big promotion. Having a stable and fast server (virtual or not) is the foundation of a reliable hosting environment.
Use Google Search Ads to Build an Audience, Close on Facebook
Average click-through-rates for retail on Google search were 4.25% in 2018. For Facebook ads, the average CTR was 1.59%. And this FB CTR might even be inflated by including dynamic retargeting ads in the sample size.
You reach a much more targeted audience with search ads, so you can use this to create your Facebook audience for holiday campaigns.
Even with a general search like “laptop deal” or “laptop Black Friday deal”, the visitors will be much more likely to buy a product than a random Facebook user.
So make sure that you advertise for relevant search ads with Google Search Ads.
Make sure that you send the traffic to a specific landing page. You can choose to send them to a particular product page, a product category page, or a unique holiday deal page.
You don’t want to spend money on ads just to send people to your main homepage. You want to separate these deal-hungry, likely holiday shoppers from your general website visitors.
First, head to the audiences section in your Facebook ads manager. (You need to have a pixel set up to use this option. If you don’t have a Facebook Pixel set up, you can read our guide on how to do so.)
Click on “Create Audience”, and then select “Custom audience” from the drop-down menu.
Select “Website traffic”.
Now all you need to do is specify the laptop deals landing page you made specifically for Black Friday or another holiday.
Now all that is left is to name your first Facebook Ads audience and save it.
From here you can create new ad sets inside the Facebook Ads dashboard, and target your new custom audience.
Use Facebook Offer Ads So Users Can Save Your Holiday Deals
Facebook Offer Ads gives users the ability to save the coupon for later use. These ads are an effectively free remarketing channel, along with the same principles as an email list. (And email marketing has an ROI of 38:1. Imagine getting that kind of ROI potential for free.)
If a user saves the offer for later, Facebook will remind them that they signed up to get your offer, especially when it closes in on the expiry date.
So not only do you get a remarketing channel, you add a level of urgency that can help drive actions and sales.
To create an offer ad, all you need to do is create a new ad set, name it and enable offers. Then click the “Create Offer” button:
From here, you just have to fill out the title, description(details), end date, and time.
The amount of your offer should typically be displayed in the title.
Promo Codes can also be used if your eCommerce solution supports this.
Read our in-depth guide on Facebook offer ads.
Offer Killer Gift Wrapping / Next-Level Gift Baskets
One of the keys to a successful marketing campaign is to stand out. If your company, service, product, or offer is inherently memorable, everything becomes so much easier.
One of the easiest ways to stand out in the business world is to do the hard things. To offer the extra level of service that most companies shy away from.
During the holiday season, you don’t have to over-complicate things. You can offer expert gift-wrapping or next-level gift baskets.
84% of eCommerce stores do not provide any kind of gift wrapping options. Wrong!
With just one added option, you can stand above the majority of your competition.
Because many consumers love wrapped gifts, but don’t want to spend their time wrapping themselves.
And 62% of eCommerce stores aren’t doing product bundles. That’s another mistake.
Bundle your products not only is a great way to bump up your average order value, but it’s also the perfect opportunity for a gift basket that leaves an impression.
Gift wrapping and product bundles are a crucial part of John’s Crazy Socks’ customer happiness strategy. John used this very strategy to garner a returning customer rate of 2,067%. Imagine if your average customer bought from you over twenty times.
If your eCommerce store is set up with Shopify, you might think that bundling seems like a lot of manual work. But with a plugin like Bold Bundles, you can set up and test new bundles at scale.
If you simply run an eCommerce store, you might only be focused on numbers, stats, and moving inventory. Since you don’t design and produce the products yourself, it’s rare to go out of your way to add to the products.
But, gift-wrapping and bundling are ways you can add value as a reseller and win loyal customers.
Now It’s Up To You
The holidays are coming. And if you want to be ready, you need to start building your audiences, perfecting your Facebook creative, and preparing your offers.
You should also start preparing something unique, a gift basket, eco-friendly gift wrapping that will speak directly to your customers.
Not only does this build a relationship, but if what you sell is inherently shareable during the holiday season, that can’t hurt, right?
Happy holidays! (In advance.)