5 Key Takeaways of Holiday 2019
Following up on the complete 2019 Holiday Guide that was posted here a few weeks ago, we wanted to share some results that were achieved by executing on our plans. We also would like to elaborate on some learnings, findings and shifts in strategy that helped us achieve this level of success for clients. Below you will find screenshots 5 client ad accounts that we managed at Adjust Media, all in different verticals with the commonality of selling direct to consumer products utilizing very similar funnelling strategies.
#1 Creative Considerations & Rotations
As we’ve alluded to in our past holiday guides, creative is what sets an advertiser apart from the rest of the noise. Most merchants refer to this statement as the ‘quality’ of the creative, but there’s a whole other story to be told. Relevancy to the sale & volume of creatives are just as important. Our clients were asked to provide 3-5 different versions of each day of sale, Black Friday, Black/Cyber Weekend & Cyber Monday specific creative. This played a pivotal role, as we decided to rotate the creatives quite frequently – IE: if there were 5 creatives for Cyber weekend, we ran 3 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday, resulting in a ‘fresh’ look & minimizing overall frequency levels. We did this for every stage of the weekend, including Black Friday “Extended” Black Friday, etc. where creative was switched 2x during the sale-period.
#2 Rule Based Optimization
This year, we optimized each ad account roughly 15 times during black Friday alone. As we were managing significant budgets across multiple brands in a constrained time period, we needed to implement safety nets in case we missed a specific ad set or ad that simply was not performing, and scale the ad-sets that were absolutely crushing. As a result, we decided to implement Facebook Ad Rules that ran every 30 minutes. The auto scaling rule was set as follows: If Adset Lifetime CPA is < X, Increase Budget by 10%”
This rule ran every 30 minutes and was a godsend. Some ad-sets scaled up to over $1,500/days, PROFITABLY!
However, with that sort of buying power, things can get out of hand, really quickly… so we put a ‘stop loss’ rule. The stop-loss rule was as follows: “If Adset Lifetime CPA is > X, Reduce Budget by 25%” We set this CPA at the max we were willing to pay, and it auto-ran every 30 minutes.
We also applied rules on the ad-level – “If Ad Spends > X, but Purchases < 1, shut off ad” – This helped concentrate the adspend on ads that were doing the heavy lifting.
If there is one takeaway that we’ll be bringing forward to our clients next big sale or launch, it would be the implementation of rules. It definitely helped us optimize in a more effective and efficient manner. Utilize rules with care… let them be a tool within your toolbox, not the toolbox itself.
#3 Dynamic Considerations
Within the past year, Facebook has been pushing ‘Dynamic’ tools to all advertisers. We decided to test functions such as ‘Dynamic Creative’ & CBO for Catalog Sales. Let’s tackle them one by one.
First, we decided to test Dynamic Creative on 3 / 12 clients that participated in Black Friday & Cyber Monday. We lumped all visual assets & ad-copy under 1 ‘ad’ line. 100% of the accounts that utilized Dynamic Creative underperformed in sales lift when compared to the other 9 accounts that were set up in a more traditional format. Our hypothesis is that due to the constraints on timing, the Dynamic Creative did not have time to optimize. As a result, for any ‘flash’ sale going forward, we’d recommend steering clear of utilizing this product.
Secondly, we decided to add an additional Conversion Layer via Catalog Sales to our high-volume clients last second. Since we were banking on regular conversion ads for cold/warm/hot audiences to carry the majority of the workload, we decided to just run catalog sales at a lower level utilizing Campaign Budget Optimization. By setting it up in this fashion, we’d just let Facebooks learning algorithms choose who to serve the catalog campaigns to. We split audiences up by time & action up to ~120 Days View Content. The first card of each carousal was sale-themed, and we made sure to include discount codes and descriptive copy wherever we could. We’ll include the breakout below.
This campaign tactic performed admirably across all ad-accounts and we will definitely bring it forward to all large sale campaigns
#4 Hype Campaigns & Micro-segmentation
This year was a particularly slow lead-up to Black Friday. Consumers are getting smarter and holding off to buy their next shiny materialistic product! Our advertisers really felt the impact this year. As a result, we recommended building up lists, either via messenger or email, to entice users to sign up for ‘early Black Friday’ or ‘exclusive’ access. We dedicated a significant budget to generating owned lists that we could monetize during Black Friday. That worked beautifully. We segmented these new customers, sent them emails and uploaded the list into Ads Manager. Turns out, they were by far the highest performing ROAS list with the highest CTR’s. Please refer to screenshot below:
In addition, we created micro-segments based on customer LTV’s. We broke this out into ‘high’, ‘medium’ and ‘low’ LTV customers, in addition to ‘all’ and ‘returning’ customers. This micro-segmentation worked beautifully, allowing us to optimize between these lists & dedicate appropriate budgets to each based on list-size. Try it out, it will surprise you.
#5 Timing Considerations (Weekend vs. BF vs. CM.)
We allude to timing as a ‘Planning Pillar’ in our full holiday guide. But we’d like to create an addition to ‘timing’ as a whole. All of our advertisers experienced the same general ‘performance’ trend during the Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend. You likely experienced the same. Please see graph below:
You’ll notice that both Thanksgiving and Black Friday were our biggest days. “Cyber Weekend” totaled roughly the same as Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday we experienced another spike. This trend occurred across the majority of our clientele with some exceptions. The main takeaway from this would be to determine how to best utilize your finite resources – dedicate the most amount of creative effort to the days with a higher intent to purchase and ensure that your budget-splits follow as well.
This year surpassed our expectations. All of our clientele broke sales records. We hope you can learn something from this post & apply it to your upcoming campaigns.
Always be Adjusting,