So the January sales are almost here in many parts of Europe, and if you’re a retail or e-commerce business, focused on the European market, there’s no doubt your ad campaigns will be well underway.
So what now? Leave your campaigns as they are and hope for the best? Surely not! Once the sales rush starts, you’ll need to be more active than ever to optimize your social and Google campaigns for better performance. Online ad campaigns are never a ‘set-and-forget’ exercise - knowing what levers to pull and what little details to change during the most important sales days could help take your campaigns from good to great!
But how can you practically optimize them? We hot the stores during these January sales to share a few tips! Watch the full Facebook Live replay below, or read on to find out!
An annual cross-Europe sales event
Some of the major markets that hold annual winter sales include:
France: A sales period, legislated by the government, starts on 9 January 2019, and runs for six weeks.
Germany: Usually begins at the end of January, and last for around two weeks.
Spain: Start on 7 January, and can last until the beginning of March, depending on the region.
Italy: Sales are regulated by regions, usual starting around 7th of January until end of February.
Optimizing during the rush: 2 quick tips for your best January sales
1. Make use of Custom Audiences for retargeting
If you’re a clever retail or e-commerce business, you’ll have started your campaigns early. Across a number of traditional sales periods globally, consumers are beginning their research and even purchases earlier. According to Deloitte’s 2018 Holiday Survey, 60% of holiday shoppers start their Christmas research and shopping before Thanksgiving, and close to one-fifth (18%) start as early as September.
That’s not just a Christmas shopping trend - it’s the same across every major shopping season, where modern consumers are used to gathering information, spying out deals and setting their sites on their wish list items well ahead of sales dates.
Starting your campaigns early means you give yourself the best chance of capturing shoppers attention with top-of-funnel inspiration, which you can then leverage to drive them through to conversion. Depending on your product, this process could take several months as shoppers do their research across social and search, weaving their way through a series of touchpoints before deciding to buy.
When the sales start, retargeting becomes crucial. Leveraging all the insight from your traffic campaigns across networks like Facebook, Instagram, Google and Snapchat, now is the time to drive bottom-of-funnel action by retargeting shoppers based on their interests. Focusing in on Facebook and Instagram ads, here are a couple of ways you can set up retargeting:
USING WEBSITE CUSTOM AUDIENCES: Custom Audiences created from your website data are a powerful way to reach existing customers and those who have previously shown some interest in your business. The Facebook Pixel and SDK gather information about your website visitors and app users, to build audiences to whom you can then deliver ads on Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Network. Without the Pixel you can’t effectively track or optimize for conversion, and you’re unable to retarget audiences such as:
People who visited a specific page or category on your site
People who visited your website during the past X days
People who visited your site X times during the previous month
People who took specific actions on your website - for example, people who added a product to the cart but didn’t complete a purchase.
But on the other side of the coin, with the Facebook Pixel installed and working correctly, you’re able to create custom audiences based on specific parameters like the ones mentioned above. Build your custom audiences based on what constitutes an interesting prospect to your business, and target them with an offer tailored to their interests.
USING CUSTOM AUDIENCES FROM LISTS: From a list of your customers, Facebook allows you to create a Custom Audience. With this audience set up, you can deliver ads on Facebook, Instagram, and the Audience Network. You can upload a customer list as either a CSV or TXT file, which is then hashed locally on your browser and sent to Facebook. Here’s a list of best practices for building custom audiences on Facebook:
Separate first and last names in individual columns.
Always include the country code and country data as their own column in the list. Since Facebook is a global platform, these fields help to narrow down the search for matches.
Facebook accepts multiple formats for date of birth, phone numbers and zip codes, but always double check your data before uploading.
The more data columns you have in the list, the more likely it is that Facebook will find matches.
Using a list of previous customers, you could then target these users with similar products, accompanied by your special January sales promotion!
2. Check your reports daily
Automation can be really valuable in online advertising campaigns - especially ones that are longer and ongoing. Setting up rules around budget and bid automation help advertisers to make the most of their investment by putting power behind what’s working, for example. Stop-loss rules can switch campaigns off if certain criteria are met, meaning you avoid any nasty budget-draining surprises.
But now that the business-end of the January sales period is here, it’s time to be manually checking and modifying in the tool yourself. Focussing on the metrics that matter to you, you should be actively pausing ads, ad sets and campaigns that are underperforming and putting your freed up budget behind the things ones that are working well.
At this stage there is no point messing around with a winning formula - identify what’s working and what’s not and take action! Level-up your performances by trusting powerful algorithms to do the heavy lifting for you.
Note: Annual shopping events like the January sales can shoot the competition sky high for advertisers. So, as a rule of thumb, you should increase both bids and budgets during these times of high competition. It’s logical - since volumes and the average basket size is higher, you should be prepared to bid higher for each conversion. Note that the amount you set as your budget is also important. You want to ensure you spend your full budget - it’s no use skimping on that during one of the biggest sales period of the year! In a situation where you are bidding high but not seeing your budget used up, try also increasing that budget. Facebook, for example, takes both into account in its pacing algorithm.
Our Retail Guide
Best of luck with your January sales! Interested in long term online ads success?
- How Facebook Store Visits and the MakeMeReach 'Franchise Feature' can help drive traffic to your stores.
- How offline conversions on Facebook and Instagram help retailers measure the real-world effects of their advertising spend.
- What Google Shopping is and how it can help you reach qualified prospects.
- Recent new Snapchat features for retailers.
- Niche audiences engaged on Twitter and why this network is particularly interesting for retailers.
- Other ad formats and targeting options across Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter and Snapchat.
About Joe Sweeney CMO here at MakeMeReach, Joe is a words guy. Joe's a digital marketer who believes in the power of quality content to start great conversations between consumers and brands. He also hosts our weekly Facebook Live!All posts by Joe Sweeney
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