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With Cyber Monday a few days behind us, we can look back at the start of the holiday season and evaluate how different marketing strategies performed. Many articles highlight one campaign that did exceptionally well. To offer a different perspective, we’re going to look at how all of our campaigns performed over the last two weeks.
Our company, adMixt, a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, focuses on performance marketing for direct response clients. This usually means e-commerce, but it also includes lead-generation and app installs. Over this period, we classified our clients into three categories:
1. Holiday E-Commerce: clients with a specific offer tied to the holiday season.
2. E-Commerce: clients with no specific offer, but still selling products
3. Other: Clients not selling products directly and not referencing the holidays
We’ll dive into how each of these three segments performed, but let’s start with a summary of our advice:
Holiday E-Commerce Campaigns
A. Don’t only focus on Cyber Monday. By the time that day rolled around, CPCs rose 3x from prices a week earlier. While this trend will invariably push the holiday shopping season back to Halloween, retailers cannot ignore the lower costs available in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.
B. Don’t halt campaigns as soon as Cyber Monday ends. Retailers who kept their campaigns running through the week have seen CPCs come down and conversion rates stay strong.
A. If you don’t have a holiday offer specific to Black Friday or Cyber Monday, go dark. See your family. Sit this one out. Even our most successful clients saw CPCs rise 3x without a dramatic increase in conversion rates. If you can’t offer a large discount for the holidays, wait until CPCs fall back down to reasonable levels before reactivating campaigns. For our clients, this was on Wednesday, with results improving even more on Thursdays.
B. Don’t feel like you need to discount to reach your customers. Conversion rates are much higher in December without offering increased purchase incentives.
A. As with e-commerce campaigns, if you’re not selling anything and don’t offer a service with increased seasonal demand, sit out Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or reduce spend significantly. Focus on your best-performing audiences. Let the retailers outbid each other for inventory for a few days, and jump back in having saved some budget.
Here’s the data behind these recommendations:
Holiday spends peaked on Cyber Monday, but there was more inventory available as early as Black Friday when other campaigns reduced spend.
Click-through rates plummeted for non-holiday campaigns over thanksgiving weekend. They rose back to normal levels by Wednesday 12/4.
Costs per click are staying high in December, but excluding holiday-specific ads, they are still lower than they were over Thanksgiving weekend (and especially Cyber Monday). High CPCs on holiday offers in December can be caused by outlying influences, but they illustrate how important it is to have a well structured campaign during this season.
The holiday shopping season is a competitive time to market on Facebook, but with the right planning, and a watchful eye on performance, brands can scale their spend to maximize their return. Sometimes that means growing, and sometimes it means shrinking, but either way there is great performance to be had.