The 3 Hottest Social Ad Channels for Retailers this Holiday Season

Poonam Mathur Holiday 2015 Leave a Comment


The holidays are quickly approaching, media plans are being finalized, budget is getting allocated. The rush is on to get everything together for the boom in sales that comes through in November and December.

As you’re finalizing media plans and allocating budget, you want to feel confident you have a solid plan for the ad budget you’re allocating to social media.

Digital media will influence 64%, or $434 billion, of retail store sales this holiday season, up from 50% in 2014, according to a Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast.

So it’s critical you put your best foot forward across online media, especially social where people lean on friends on social media for inspiration and ideas for holiday purchases.

1. Facebook – The Dominant Network

I love Facebook ads. It’s one of the best ways reach existing customers and find more people like your existing customers.

The number of people active on Facebook daily is massive – Facebook just hit 1 billion active users in a SINGLE DAY! So it’s safe to say your audience is on Facebook. No matter what your company sells or offers, your customers are there and you’ll find others like them.

You can create incredibly niche targeting segments and deliver customized messages to those narrow segments easily, efficiently and effectively.

One important thing to keep in mind as you head into the 2015 holiday season is that Facebook Ads have changed a lot this past year. For those that dabble in Facebook ads or wait for a big push until the holidays, you’ll want to make sure your accounts are aligned with the latest best practices and you’re taking advantage of Facebook’s most powerful ad tools.

Facebook Advertising Holiday 2015 Tips

  1. Track website visitors and conversions with Website Custom Audiences. Facebook released a new pixel over the summer. It’s simpler, more powerful and you should be using this. Details here.
  2. Refresh Custom Audiences and Lookalikes. When’s the last time you updated your Custom Audiences? Don’t head into the holidays with stale audiences and lookalikes. Make sure you refresh your audiences by early November.
  3. Use Video Of the possible post types, video posts get higher engagement rates and have a greater chance of reaching a larger audience. If you have video on hand, make use of it!
  4. Get Local! Businesses with brick and mortar locations can run Local Awareness ads to drive in store traffic and promote sales and specials. Match your in-store promos with Facebook ads to get more foot traffic in the door.
2. Pinterest Promoted Pins

Pinterest is an excellent acquisition channel for retailers and e-commerce brands.

You’ll get in front of an audience that’s actively planning their holiday shopping lists, and looking for ideas and inspiration for holiday events and parties.

Believe it or not, Pinterest users have already started their holiday shopping. Start now and build momentum for big holiday boom in late November and December.

The audience on Pinterest does lean heavily towards women (80% are female) so it’s important that you’re catering your messaging and creative with that in mind.

Pinterest Promoted Pins is still in beta so you’ll need to have your business account approved for Pinterest ads. For those up and running with Promoted Pins, here’s what you need to know.

Pinterest Advertising Holiday 2015 Tips

  1. Plan campaigns around search themes. What are your best selling products and who would be interested in them? Think about how they’d search in Pinterest for your product and look at what the search results look like. You’ll get an idea of what the user is looking for and you can then build creative around these themes.
  2. Build campaigns around holiday events. Users are planning parties, buying gifts for white elephants and gift exchanges, and shopping for loved ones. Inspire your customers by fitting your products around these holiday themes and many more.
  3. Tell your story with creative. Use simple images and paint a picture with descriptions to attract the customers you want. Pinterest is unique in that your creative has the power to tell your story in multiple ways with one ad. Is your product great for gift exchanges? Tell users why!
3. Instagram Direct Response Ads

Instagram is all the buzz these days. After years of careful planning and testing, Instagram is opening up their ad platform to all advertisers globally today, September 30, 2015.

If you’re itching to run ads on Instagram this holiday, you’re not alone. It’s a great place to reach a younger demographic – Instagram skews younger, with 70% under age 35, and also happen to have a higher household income.

Treat Instagram ads carefully. Users are aware that ads are coming by the truckload so it’s going to be easy to turn them off if your ads aren’t built for an Instagram experience.

Map out a strategy that resonates with your audience, recognize that they’re on mobile so make it as easy as possible for them to understand your product and have a landing page that’s mobile optimized.

Instagram Advertising Holiday 2015 Tips

  1. Mobile Friendly Your ad should be designed for the mobile user – users consume content incredibly quickly so make your ads easy to understand. You can tell a story with Carousel ads, inspire with video clips, or make a statement with Image ads.
  2. Mobile Optimized If you’re going to use Direct Response ads to drive users to your website, make sure your landing page is mobile optimized and the path to conversion is friction free.
  3. Run across Facebook & Instagram Instagram is owned by Facebook, which means access to Facebook’s best in class ads platform and audience data. Leverage Facebook and run your ads across Facebook and Instagram.

If you’re struggling to get started, stay up to date with changes, or show progress on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, feel free to contact us.