How To Use Social Media Ads To Increase Holiday Sales

With more and more consumers expected to search on social media for gifts and promotions this holiday season, many retailers hoping to reach shoppers online will put paid social media at the center of their marketing efforts this season. The result, no doubt, will be a very crowded social space.

Here are some tips on creating the most effective holiday campaigns, taking into account this increased competition for the shopper's attention on social media channels.

Pulse your presence. Although certain days are more critical than others, more familiarly Black Friday and Cyber Monday, brands with the most social success this season will create a lasting customer experience throughout the entire six-week period. In order to achieve this while keeping costs down, lock in your ad prices by booking “non-holiday” days early. Not only will these prices be considerably lower, but they will also provide you with the necessary scale needed to stay relevant before, during and beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Expert tip: Engagement on social is 32% higher on the weekends, according to a recent ExactTarget study, "Why Social Media Managers Shouldn't Rest On Sunday." Look to increase your company's involvement during “cheaper” non-holiday time periods and Sundays to achieve maximum value from minimum means.

Focus on mobile. 50% of consumers access Facebook in-store while shopping, and of that group, 28% are in search of an immediate deal or offer -- this according to a Millward Brown Digital and Firefly Millward Brown study, "The Impact of Mobile and Facebook While Shopping." Take advantage of this elevated mobile usage during the holiday season by driving in-store conversions with relevant marketing messages in real-time. To do this, maximize Facebook’s reach capabilities with short bursts of high reach activity the day before and day of heaviest holiday shopping. Then, once you’ve built awareness of  your promotion, use Twitter targeting capabilities to continue the conversations you started on Facebook with Twitter users who are actively shopping.

Deliver relevant communications. Instead of sending out just one message to your entire audience, experiment with creating different executions for different segments. This approach will allow you to target custom audiences based on interests, preferences and behavior, and ultimately deliver more conversions. Here are a few specific ways to consider segmenting prospects:

  • Behavioral groups: Grouping individuals based on the way they react to, understand, or use a particular product, is one of the most fundamental lessons that every marketer learns. Data like channel preferences, benefits sought, usage patterns:  all of this will help you shape the ideal customer profile based on actual consumer interest. It will also help you snag customers and market share directly from competitors. Using third-party data, brands can target consumers who have a history of buying competitor products with exclusive promotions.
  • Website activity: Using Twitter’s Remarketing Pixel and Facebook’s Website Conversion Audience pixel, brands can retarget consumers who have previously visited a retailer's website, increasing the chance of converting buyers further down the funnel. The same can be said for segmenting individuals based on email campaign activity. For example, brands can segment individuals based on things like whether a subscriber opened or clicked pn a particular email campaign.
  • E-commerce purchase activity: Segmenting individuals based on e-commerce activity is one of the most effective ways to send more targeted communications. There is nothing more powerful and revealing than first-party retailer-based shopping data. Connexity just proved that in a recent test. Using this data, brands can improve their offerings and services to existing customers, as well as reactivate lapsed customers with incentive and promotions.

Using social media to generate awareness and excitement during the holiday season is universally considered to be an effective way to boost sales, especially when brands can reach shoppers while they are in an acquisitive mindset. The right message at the right time will yield the right increase in sales.

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