4 Playbooks to Win this Festive Season on Paid Social [2021]

It’s no secret that the pandemic accelerated digital adoption and forced a global consumer behavior change. So what worked before on paid social isn’t going to cut it. Data privacy updates like the iOS 14 and Google’s decision to phase out third-party cookies have put advertisers in a tough spot.

As the world becomes privacy-first, creative is key for brands to bounce back. It allows brands to personalize their ad without cold, hard data, fights off ad fatigue and can be used to nudge the buyer at each stage in the purchase funnel. Creative differentiation with contextual targeting is going to drive conversions this festive season.

What do holiday shoppers want?

For your paid social campaigns to succeed this festive season, you’ll need to first understand what shoppers want.

According to Facebook’s holiday ads report, holiday shoppers have 3 primary needs - to feel connected, inspired, and entertained.

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The need to connect is a core human need. But the pandemic-induced isolation has left consumers craving for inter-personal connection and the need to feel connected to brands they buy from. It’s also led to a major shift towards “shoppertainment” with live shopping and gamified events.

With nearly 1 in 3 consumers saying they plan to shop online more in 2022 than last year, the competition is fiercer than ever.

So, a decent ad isn’t enough.

The new formula for ads:

ads = creative + content + entertainment

To elaborate on that, we’ll be looking at 4 short and effective playbooks that can help you drive success this festive season.

1. Speak Local: Hyper-personalize the journey via localization

2. Contextualize creative for owned data

3. Create immersive experiences: Power up Instant experiences

4. Drum up anticipation: Giving shoppers what they want

1. Speak Local: Hyper-personalize the journey via localization

The post-iOS 14 world hasn’t left advertisers with many data points to personalize campaigns. But here’s the thing - personalization is crucial for conversions.

And while users are conscious of data privacy, they still want their shopping experience to be personalized.

BTW, check out how the ATT update affects advertisers like you.

By localizing social ads, brands can still win big this festive season. Tailor the language, creative and user experience on your ads to cater to your audience.

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17% of shoppers that discover products across Facebook platforms purchased more than 50% of products from abroad.

Localization helps you achieve two important things:

  1. You now have access to a new potential customer pool with billions of shoppers from other countries. 
  2. Your personalized creative increases your ad’s relevance resulting in higher CTR, lower CPA and better brand recall.

Of course, doing this manually is time-consuming and costly. 

Creative automation tech like Hunch’s Creative Studio allows advertisers to take a language or location datasheet and connect it to the creative producing localized versions with country-specific creative elements and language automagically.

2. Contextualize creative for owned data

Localization, a key aspect of personalization, isn’t enough on its own. Building highly personalized journeys is incomplete without dynamic creative.

Dynamic creative allows advertisers to break down an ad into its basic components - image, video, title, description - and generate several combinations and serve the high-performing combos to audiences

(P.S. - If you want to learn more about dynamic creative, we did a deep dive on dynamic creative and how to use it effectively.)

Push the envelope by customizing product images to personalize how they appear in dynamic ads. For instance, add social proof to earn customer trust.

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Other ways advertisers can get creative is by tying it to what holiday shoppers expect - huge discounts and free delivery. The creative can feature the new price and the old price crossed-off and a “Free delivery” tag.

3. Create immersive experiences: Power up Instant experiences

Shoppertainment stems from a need to replace the real deal. With holiday shopping occurring primarily online, customers want more.

82% of global consumers that shop on Mega Sale Days* like to partake in entertaining shopping experiences. (*Mega Sale Days consist of huge online shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Singles’ Day, and Christmas.)

Brands looking to serve entertaining social ads can leverage Instant Experiences.

Win the attention battle with Instant Experience

Mobile, the new storefront, is where most of the holiday shopping in 2021 will happen.

81% of consumers plan to do some of their holiday shopping from their smartphone and 58% plan to do at least half of their shopping on mobile. (Source)

Take advantage of this by switching to Instant Experience. When shoppers tap on your festive social ad, it will open a full-screen, immersive experience that works with all formats.

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Instant Experience allows advertisers to create a visually engaging experience that tells the brand’s story and highlights the products. In this battle for attention, using Instant Experience is a perfect way to capture and hold attention by linking two or more Instant Experiences.

4. Drum up anticipation: Giving shoppers what they want

Facebook’s holiday report had an interesting finding - Mega Sale Days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are successful because people look forward to these sales all year.

Capitalize on that anticipation and whip up excitement by dropping limited-edition products that are festive-themed. Shoppers seek out big-ticket items on Black Friday making it the perfect occasion to try this strategy.

Another way to invoke FOMO is to offer small collections that won’t be restocked. Use the Collection ad format to create a smooth shopping experience with either video or an image with 3 other images. Shoppers that tap on these ads can have a visual post-click experience without leaving the app.

Up the ante by using a countdown timer to communicate urgency and drive up purchases.

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From going shopping to always shopping: Social commerce on the rise

Pinterest isn’t the only platform shoppers go to look for inspiration anymore. All social platforms have gone from only having a utilitarian value to a place where holiday shoppers connect, get inspired, and make purchases.

More often than not, products are getting discovered on social. The internet allows brands to serve both interest and intent-based shopping with social commerce in the driver’s seat of this new trend.

For the always-on shopper, this is an enjoyable experience. 63% of global shoppers enjoy discovering items that they weren’t actively looking for. Brands can attract shoppers like these with highly-engaging visual creatives.

Pulling the creative lever also solves another problem - analysis paralysis due to choice overload. 51% of holiday shoppers have trouble buying gifts for others.

In a competitive landscape, making creative differentiation integral to the holiday season ad strategy is a necessity to drive more conversions.

Read Next: Why creative differentiation is the holy grail to unlock performance and growth on paid social