From Planning to Execution, These Tips will Help Make Your Holiday Social Media Ad Campaigns Succeed

The holiday season is a time of huge revenue and a great time for running ads. However, if you don’t plan it right, your holiday social media ad campaigns will be a flop! The best marketers plan, strategize, measure and adjust. They also look at trends and identify the right audience, serving them up personalized content.   

So what makes a successful social media holiday campaign? We’ll take a look at what you need to do from start to finish to generate big revenue!   

The Importance of Planning Early

Customers start thinking about the holiday season early, so you want to as well! Waiting until the last minute to plan your holiday ad campaigns won’t help you take full advantage of this high-spend season. Not only do you want to start planning early, but you want to be thorough in your planning as well.  

Depending on when you want to start your holiday advertising campaigns, you generally want to start planning in September, perhaps even in late August. You also want to install the Facebook pixel on your site to start collecting data now that will be useful to you later; we’ll discuss this more below. October and into early November should be spent running some brand awareness campaigns. Late November and into December should be when you run your ad campaigns to really maximize sales. In January, you can run some campaigns for post-holiday sales and customer retention.

Track with Facebook Pixels and Google Analytics

Facebook Pixel is a little bit of code that you paste on your website to track visitors and the actions they take on your site. You can create multiple pixels to track different actions or even specific pages on your website. These Pixels then collect very useful data that you can analyze to inform your holiday social media ad campaigns. For example, if someone browsed for makeup on your site, but didn’t make a purchase, Facebook Pixel would collect this data. When you set up a holiday ad campaign, you can then tell Facebook to specifically target people who browsed your online store but didn’t make a purchase! 

Much the same can be done with Google Analytics for your website and using Google Ads. You’ll want to make sure that you have enabled demographics and interests in order to get the data you need. With Google Analytics, you can create custom audiences based on any combination of attributes that are meaningful to you. Once you have created an audience in Google Analytics, you can then activate that custom audience in Google Ads (as long as you are logged into the same Google account) and run a campaign that targets that specific audience. 

If you haven’t already, set up your Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics account now! The more data you have before November and December, the better your holiday ad campaigns will be planned. Otherwise, you’ll just be throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks and that is a wasteful and ineffective way to run ad campaigns.  


We briefly touched on retargeting with our Facebook Pixel example above. What makes retargeting such an effective social media ad campaign strategy is that you are targeting people who have already shown an interest in what your online store has to offer.  

The key to effective retargeting is to start it early. This is because Facebook and Google both require a minimum number of users to be collected within an audience set before you can run any ads using that audience. Again, be sure to set up your Pixel and Analytics account now to capture this data for later.  

Retargeting is a great way to get last minute shoppers to convert, but remember not everyone is a last minute shopper and you don’t want to miss out on also getting those people to make a purchase at your store rather than a competitor’s. To maximize the number of conversions over the entire holiday buying season, start your retargeting campaigns a week or two after the start of your initial social media holiday ad campaigns, then run both side by side the rest of the holiday season. In January, you can also use retargeting for customer retention. 

Use Calls to Action

A call to action is a way to entice your social media audience to take an action whether that action is to sign up for your email list or purchase something from your online store. Here are some steps to creating a successful call to action:

  1. Determine the action you want your audience to take. Don’t ask your audience to do more than one thing at a time, for example, don’t ask them to sign up for your email list and to buy this great new product. Choose just one!
  2. Create a hook. To do this, you’ll need to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question. 
  3. Create a sense of urgency. An effective tactic to create urgency is to give people a limited or one-time offer.
  4. Make landing pages consistent. Make sure you are using the same wording and graphic on your website as you are in your ad. Also, make sure you are sending them to the appropriate page. 
  5. Then don’t forget to test, measure and adjust!

Appeal to Emotions

People get pretty nostalgic during the holiday season and it can also bring up a lot of emotions. Appeal to those emotions with your ad campaigns by using words that pull on those heartstrings. For example, try using descriptive language that brings to mind the feelings or even the food of the season like “spice,” “warmth” and “together.” 

You can also start the appeal to emotions pretty early on with your brand awareness campaigns. Don’t be afraid of getting a little festive and showing people how your company is preparing for and celebrating the holiday season.

The Ease of Shoppable Ads

Convenience is a big thing for customers during the holiday season. With the hustle and bustle of this time of year, making it easier for people to make a purchase will help boost your sales! Creating shoppable ads allows you to embed links directly to the products you are advertising, making it easy for customers to purchase exactly what you have shown them in an ad. The two best social media platforms for shoppable posts are Facebook and Instagram. 

The Power of Instagram Stories

Instagram has become one of the leading social platforms for shopping. However, most Instagram users spend the majority of their time in Stories, rather than their newsfeed. Stories get more engagement than regular posts and the full-screen experience allows users to be fully immersed in what you are showing them. Including a swipe function with a link will take users directly to the product you are advertising. Saving your Stories as a highlight will also allow you to create collections of products right on the social media site!  

The holiday season can be stressful for everyone. However, by getting started early on planning and collecting data, you’ll be able to ease some of that stress—at least at work! By evoking emotions, using a call to action and serving up shoppable ads, you can effectively encourage people to make a purchase. Then, don’t forget to adjust your campaigns as you go and to retarget (some of us need a little more encouragement than others)!  

Need help with your holiday social media ad campaigns? Our team can help you plan for a successful season!