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From an e-commerce perspective, Christmas and the winter holidays get more competitive each year. From Black Friday and Cyber Monday now lasting a week (or two), to Christmas sales and promotions running all December and into January.

Compared to Google Adwords and more traditional paid banner ads, Facebook and Instagram ads have seen more updates in recent years, along with a vital need to still consider the platform’s social aspects.

Let’s look at some tips to help you tackle that during the run-up to the end of the year.

Create seasonal content to match

No matter how well-targeted your ads are, they still need to catch the eye and resonate with your audiences.

For the holidays, create imagery, graphics, and copy that celebrate it. Reusing old product photos with a Santa hat photoshopped on won’t wow anyone. When a brand or business takes the time and care to create original, quality content for the season, customers are more likely to notice and appreciate the effort.

Setting a few hours aside for a photo shoot with holiday props will be worth it across the run of your holiday campaigns. The larger set of images can be used for your regular Facebook or Instagram posts, with favourite and strong-performing images used for paid ads.


Engage and answer

While the holidays are about fun, it doesn’t change the fact that shopping for them can be stressful. Make sure to engage with and answer any questions left in the comments of your ads, ASAP.

Not just to please the specific person commenting, but to show all the people viewing your ads that you care. Even if an ad has a good look and promotion, customers can be turned off seeing unanswered questions and unthanked compliments in the comments.


Retargeting and remarketing with Facebook Pixel

With Facebook Pixel installed on your website, you’re able to fully track the activity of people engaging with you on Facebook and your site.

In turn, this lets you take advantage of “remarketing”, also known as “retargeting”. With so many promotions and competitors to choose from, people often need some time or convincing before buying.

Through remarketing, you can target people who’ve already shown interest in your products, such as people who previously clicked an ad of yours, interacted with your Facebook page, or visited your online store.

Maybe someone checked out a fun Christmas sweater in your online shop but didn’t buy. Now you can reach them with an ad displaying that sweater, similar sweaters, or with complimentary items like a scarf or mitts.

Choose the right Facebook ad type

Facebook has three main ad types that appear in their main feed. A link ad is the most common, with a large image and call-to-action that directs people to your website or landing page.

This is perfect if your products are familiar to your audience or you can effectively communicate your brand and promotion in the space offered.


A Carousel ad lets people window shop by letting them swipe through several products. This is great if you need to introduce your products to a new audience or have several featured products you want to promote (or that appeal to the specific audience).

A video ad will give you the ability to tell a brand story or demonstrate your products. And plan to make the video original to the holidays to connect your brand to it. Reusing an existing video with a holiday intro or outro will feel out of place.

A bonus is you can usually find better ad rates for video to let you run the ad more and offset the production costs, thanks to Facebook’s preference to push video.

Consider additional ad placements

On top of the main feed ad formats above, Facebook offers a range of other placements, such as in the side column, in-stream videos, in their Messenger app, and across Instagram. With heavy ad competition this time of year, it’s worth trying and testing different placements to see what gives you the best return on your budget.

One placement that’s been generally well-received is the newer Instagram Stories ad, which is due to the popularity of Stories and the fact that advertisers have to create an interesting video or animation to compete on it.


The best time of year for lookalike audiences

Holiday shopping season is a good time to expand your current audience and potential customer base through “Lookalike Audiences”. This lets you target and test with new audiences who show similar interests as your existing customers, who might be swayed by your holiday promotions and the appetite for something new.

Find shoppers near you with Local Awareness

If you also sell products in physical locations, this targeting feature is especially well-suited for the holidays, when many are making last-minute and impulse buys while already out shopping.

Called Local Awareness or “Reach” ads, you can target people physically near where your products or services are offered. Through this, you can then offer in-store specials that are separate from your online promotions.



Not only do you have to ensure your ads are designed for and running on mobile, it should be your priority over desktop ads. This general e-commerce advice is even more vital during holiday shopping.

This is due to stats showing mobile shopping increasing year-over-year for the holidays, as well as reaching shoppers while they are out shopping.


Make every day count

The weeks running up to the end of the year can often make up a large portion of retailers’ online sales, meaning every day needs to count. Analytics need to be checked daily, with ads, audiences, and copy adjusted accordingly.

To match, you can consider creating variations of your ad visuals, such as versions that countdown the days till Christmas (which also happens to be the countdown of your promotion).

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