Double Trouble: Keeping Facebook Ad Costs Down During Frantic December

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By Guy James, Operations Director, RealTime Agency

How’s your World Cup going?

By the time you read this, half of the teams in the quadrennial football festival will already have flown home. But it’s just the beginning of a frantic few weeks for digital marketers.

Analysis we’ve conducted reveals Facebook CPMs could rise by as much as 60% by the end of 2022 compared to where they were in November. The triple whammy of Black Friday, World Cup-related activity and holiday advertising could leave brands’ budgets stretched as inventory gets scarcer and prices rise.

Furthermore, for advertisers that don’t have holiday- or World Cup-specific offers to promote life could get unexpectedly expensive. Amid all of this cost fluctuation, brands need to get the tactics and cadence of their campaigns spot on. Here’s how.

Know your audience – The amount of spare cash left for households is coming under significant pressure. Inflation rates are impacting lower-income households at a disproportionate rate compared to higher earners as the cost of everyday goods and services rises.

Because of this, consumers are being forced to push more of their discretionary income into essentials, leaving little cash for other things they might desire. Understanding your target audience is therefore more important than ever.

If you’re selling clothing, insurance, food or broadband/utilities, for example, you should adjust your end-of-year planning to accommodate inflation. If you’re selling high-ticket items that are usually only purchased by more affluent consumers, you may not see a significant of a drop in sales.

Preparation is key to success in this difficult period.

Play the game – You will face competitive offers, discounts and incentives galore. It’s vital, then, that you have a fierce plan of action to educate your audience about your promotions.

Keep this in mind in particular if you offer items considered an everyday necessity. Due to the drop in disposable income across households nine in 10 consumers will likely delay purchases until they spot a sale.

They may even trade down to cheaper alternatives altogether. So, don’t hold out discount messaging until the final weeks of your campaign in a bid to capture last-minute sales. A smarter approach will make the difference between conversion and lost revenue.

Configure creative – A highly effective way to communicate sales to those who need them most is directly within your creative, not your messaging. For e-commerce clients utilising a Facebook catalogue the recommended approach is full use of the dynamic product offerings Meta has at its disposal:

  • Dynamic sale overlays, or small png files that appear on top of the creative, depending on applied catalogue rules. You may find it prudent to incentivise users to return to abandoned shopping carts by retargeting those who had added to their cart but not purchased items, offering a 20% off coupon overlaid on top of the ad for the product in question.
  • Product feed ads are carousels of merchandise with pricing info, coupons and a ‘shop now’ call to action. Be sure to call out all relevant information, like free shipping, bonus gifts and discount coupons.
  • Retargeting strategy that finds clever ways to group products. Facebook creative is responsible for 60% of your campaign’s performance, so it’s crucial to tailor creative to the audience it’s most relevant for. For example, has somebody recently purchased a silk item from your store? You might want to organise your catalogue by material and retarget the same user with other silk items.

In a crowded World Cup and holiday content market, a strong creative strategy is the top way to cut through the clutter, win more bids in auction and keep costs suppressed.

Measurement matters – In the past year, advertisers have been plagued with attribution troubles following Apple’s iOS 14.5 roll-out accompanied by its App Tracking Transparency prompt.

This request for user permission to be tracked via cookies on mobile apps and sites has dealt 50% opt-out (source: Appsflyer), meaning attribution and campaign data has been significantly reduced. The consequence is costlier conversion and negative impact on ad platform algorithm efficiency.

An alternative strategy is Marketing Mix Modelling. It doesn’t rely on cookies, instead examining wider trends across consumers to inform channel contribution to overall conversions and budget placement.

Optimisation opportunity – You may be surprised how much efficiency can be gained by optimising on a more regular basis through turbulent periods.

Meta, TikTok and YouTube are entirely powered through algorithms. These platforms are also much more volatile in busy periods and require daily – sometimes hourly, depending on spend levels – scrutiny. You can achieve up to 30% performance improvement by investing resource more diligently in daily optimisation.

These are our tips for brands to emerge as winners in a tricky period – one that also offers myriad opportunities. With a careful strategy you can avoid own goals during the World Cup and ensure digital marketing during the holiday period is the gift that keeps on giving.