Holiday Ad Strategy: Set the Stage with Sequencing

Holiday Ad Strategy: Set the Stage with Sequencing

November 25, 2014

This holiday season, the big buzzword when it comes to Facebook advertising campaigns is sequencing. Campaigns that show ads in a strategic sequence, that first introduce the consumer to a brand, then to the brand’s products, then direct them to buy, are more effective at engaging the consumer than campaigns that only show ads that direct the consumer to take an action.

It makes sense – consumers naturally want to know about a brand or a product before they even think about making a purchase. Studies show that, on average, we spend over 12 hours researching products – be it the quality, price, color, or availability – each holiday season before taking the plunge.

Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday are still a week away, but advertisers looking to make the most of their ad dollars should use this time to deliver ads that set the stage for future purchases. Here are three best practices for creating and optimizing early-sequence ads that capture attention and encourage consumers to learn more about your offerings just in time for the holiday rush.

Target Broadly to Maximize Reach

Starting out, you will want as many potential customers to see your brand as possible. Adding too many conditions to your targeting may enhance your ads’ click through rate, but it will also limit your reach and shut you out from potential shoppers that may not fit into the usual confines of your target audience.

For example, an online store for men’s accessories, may know that previous shoppers  or men in the 18-35 age range are most likely to click an ad. However, if ads are only targeted to these demographics or customer segments, the retailer will miss out on the women and people of other ages that could buy their products as a gift.

The recommended best practice is to use the minimum number of restrictions possible and only add conditions that are absolutely necessary. Location and age targeting are two conditions that fall in the “must have” category. You don’t want to waste money delivering ads to people who fall outside of the area where your product is available, nor those who are under 16 years of age and have minimal disposable income. Don’t worry about tapping into granular customer segments until later in your ad sequence when ads are intended to drive an immediate action.

Tell Your Brand’s Story with Video

Nearly half of shoppers spend, at minimum, one month researching a gift before reaching for their wallet. And the number one thing they look for when scanning sites are images of the product. The quickest way to learn about a product is seeing it, and seeing it in action is even better.

Video ads enable shoppers to see your products in a real life scenario – be it an outfit on a model, a mom dropping her kids off at school in her SUV, or different levels and the quality of graphics in a video game. The more they know (and hopefully like), the more likely they are to buy.

When it comes to Facebook, video needs to be catchy and engaging to stop people while scrolling through the news feed. Use an engaging thumbnail image (the image that appears before clicking play), and use quick cuts to squeeze as much action as possible into the short seconds you have to catch a viewer’s attention. Remember, even with autoplay ads the viewer has to turn on the volume to hear the ad, so use visuals instead of sound to ensure key messages are communicated.

Feature Creative That Inspires The Holiday Spirit

Associating your brand with holiday shopping, without actually directing them to make a purchase, is best done through strategic creative. The goal is to use images and copy that highlight your product in a holiday setting. A kitchenware company, for example, could showcase their dishware and table top accessories front and center on a Thanksgiving table, with ad copy reading, “Set your  at incorporating Crate and Barrel’s products into your next holiday gathering, without once directing the viewer to Buy Now.

Another subtle way to add holiday flair is with pops of red. Feature your product in red, if available, or use red for copy or a way to accentuate text in the image.

Generating awareness of your brand early on is essential for driving holiday sales down the line. Be sure to track website visitors and video viewers during this time period – these people have the potential to be your biggest spenders in the next few weeks with the help of a little retargeting. For more ways to make the most of your holiday campaigns, read our Holiday Ad Pricing & Strategy Guide.