The holiday season is in full swing, and it’s the most competitive time of year for ecommerce companies and retailers to target consumers and drive sales.
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday both broke records this year and were a pivotal time for advertising, there is still time left for brands to drive holiday purchases. Faced with the ever-present challenge of grabbing both new and returning shoppers’ attention, diversifying ad spend across social platforms is crucial for success.
This is no simple task, as every platform is unique. There’s also the added difficulty for marketers to make sure their social ads stand out from the competition and actually capture consumers’ attention.
For retail and ecommerce marketers looking to expand content to multiple platforms and find success this holiday season, here are some advertising best practices and tips for Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Stories for the Season
Hundreds of millions of social users across Instagram and Facebook are using the Stories format every day. It’s quickly becoming a top choice for ecommerce marketers this holiday season. There is tremendous flexibility with this format as long as you understand how it can cater to your business. For companies with a strong mobile presence, like ecommerce brands with an app-first approach, Stories can drive in-app purchases as their audiences are more geared to buy on mobile.
As for advertisers who rely on website sales, Stories is better suited as a top-funnel placement to drive quality traffic to your site. What also works well is including Stories as an additional placement into existing direct response campaigns as this can drive incremental revenue. Diversifying spend ensures that brands get their message in front of all relevant users on the platforms.
One of the great perks to Stories is that brands can get really creative with the full-screen space offered. If it suits your brand, mimic user-generated content (UGC) for a more organic feel and always design your social ads for action. These cues can be animated arrows or graphics that draw the eye – and the thumb – towards the Swipe Up feature, or include GIFs and stickers inspired by the native creative editing tools offered by the platform.
Thumb-Stopping Video and Carousel Tips
While Stories enables marketers to make use of video content or moving imagery, it’s important to keep ads quick and to the point. Video length should be short and sweet, ideally less than 15 seconds performs the best. However, with the use of carousel cards in the Stories format, marketers can elongate their message, if needed, with a series of three, 15-second long carousel cards, for a total of 45 seconds.
It’s also key to have a recognizable brand presence and a clear value proposition throughout your story, whether it’s 15 or 45 seconds. Retail marketers may want to create a visual timeline element for carousel-based Stories that travels across all three cards and keeps their branding in front of consumers’ eyes. Choosing branded audio, like incorporating a well-known jingle into an ad (40% view Stories with audio on!), can also do the trick, ensuring the brand is a central part of the creative.
Ads for Pinterest Planners
Unlike other platforms, Pinterest users typically use the platform to discover new brands and products. Over 70% of “pinners” have bought a product after seeing it on Pinterest. While brands may have a natural edge with them, social ads must be very timely and relevant in order to secure their interest. Pinners are planners by nature, creating boards for various life events, like weddings, prom, holidays, etc.
Retail marketers should key into these life moments by posting pins up to three months before a specific holiday, wedding or prom season, for example, ensuring their creative reflects these seasonal spikes. Retailer and ecommerce marketers should also focus on creating a brand-specific look and feel to their ads so users always recognize their brand.
What is unique to Pinterest is its approach to social ad copy. Ads there have no limitation on the amount of text. In fact, the platform encourages advertisers to play with copy, fonts and messaging. Just keep in mind the golden rule for capturing attention: Highlight the most important thing you want to convey in order to get your message through.
Savvy marketers will approach the social channels with different strategies and different creatives for each. There is no one size fits all in social ads, because audiences and ad features differ on each platform.
Even if your business isn’t specifically geared towards seasonal advertising, you should consider joining the conversation creatively. Aligning your content with what’s top-of-mind for consumers will make you relevant during any given season.
Christine Göös is Copy Lead and Head of Content at Smartly.io