Social ad planning isn’t easy. Because Q4 is often the biggest quarter of the year for many brands, social agency practitioners must wrap up the end-of-the-year holiday shopping season media plans by the end of the summer in order to get signoff from their brand clients and start building the creative assets needed.
BPI is a little different in that much of our advertising is focused on persuading audiences rather than selling goods, and many of our advertisers are political.
Even though we don’t have to deal with a busy holiday season, election cycles present their own challenges. Candidates and outside spending groups are vying for the attention of a small group of individuals with the conversion, a vote, occurring on the same day, Election Day.
We encourage clients to begin their persuasion efforts as early as possible to meet audiences where they are in the decision-making process. This ensures we’re not trying to spend a significant portion of the budget right before the election when competition, and costs, are certain to skyrocket.
There are 3 items over the year that keep becoming more important—particularly on Facebook—year after year:
Video is king for driving cost down (increasing efficiency) during the holiday season. If you plan to run in Q4 and drive positive return at the highest rates, your content needs to rely on GIF or short-form video in order to hit key goals.
Leverage as many of the Power5 and best practices as you can within your buying structure in order to get your algorithm ranking as high as possible going into the season. This includes leveraging placement optimized buying, CBO and dynamic creative where it makes sense.
Do not over-segment your messaging. Many clients want the prospecting audience to see brand content that does not have a clear CTA because, based on the offline funnel, they shouldn’t be ready to convert. The reality of DR media today on social is that consumers do not know if they are seeing a prospecting or retargeting ad, and some consumers will convert on their first video view or site visit. If you do not include CTA messaging across your media, you may end up delivering additional impressions in situations where the consumer did not need them or completely miss out on a potential conversion due to the arbitrary offline marketing funnel.
I actually have two:
Invest media dollars to dominate the online retail shelf. This includes increased investments in Amazon, but also direct inventory from retailers like Best Buy or Walmart and your own e-commerce site.
Have a plan to spend incremental dollars that come in during the week of Thanksgiving. Media dollars have a strange way of showing up then, and your team should have 2-3 tactics or partners that you can easily turn opportunistic dollars into client revenue.
The holidays are a slow season for some of our accounts and one of the biggest times for others, so it’s never a one-size-fits-all approach and last year’s performance data is a key part of predicting when our ebbs and flows will be for this year.
Part of our Q4 planning process is to look at last year’s performance data and carefully pick our places where we recommend our clients to go big or pull back. If you can strategically find those pockets of opportunity, you can really maximize your budget throughout the holiday season.
Thruline Marketing is 100% dedicated to education clients, so the holiday season for us is more about prepping for the higher-volume Q1 months. The holiday season is critical to continue to fill the funnel for clients’ upcoming January enrollment deadlines. However, at this time, the paid social marketplace is crowded with retail advertisers and costs can be higher with a lower return on investment. Throughout Q4, we monitor social performance at a program level, shifting dollars to other channels, such as paid search, where we see the opportunity to be more cost-effective while we ride the wave of seasonality.
The traditional cadence of holiday shopping is changing and the industry needs to adapt to that. Black Friday isn’t the jumpstart to the holiday season as it once was and brands need to start advertising for the holidays earlier than ever. Outside of promotions, advertisers need to be cognisant of shopper behavior and tailor their creative to align with what sort of shoppers they are—early shoppers versus last minute, online versus in-store. We also expect to see a shift towards mobile to hit people while they are out and about.
Check out Kenshoo Social to engage social customers while achieving your branding and performance goals during the end-of-the-year holiday shopping season.
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