How to Plan Your Facebook Advertising This Holiday Season: The Complete Guide

How to plan your Facebook advertising this holiday season

Facebook is one of the biggest advertising platforms in the world – second only to Google – but it can get a bit of a bad rap. Many see Facebook ads on the site as nothing more than an awareness tool. And that muddies the water between ad spend and return on investment.

Despite the naysayers, though, Facebook advertising remains incredibly powerful. The following stats prove it:

In this post, we outline how to plan your Facebook advertising this holiday season. We discuss the importance of paid social, different types of ads you can use, what makes for great ads, and some useful tools that help with ad creation.

Why you need to be paid social with organic

Facebook ads: who needs them if you’ve got organic, right?

Everyone, unfortunately. It turns out that increased competition for space in user feeds is now so fierce that going 100 percent organic isn’t a great strategy. Most firms now adopt a hybrid approach, taking advantage of the benefits of both types of outreach.

In general, organic is for improving your online presence and reputation, allowing you to construct a more detailed brand persona. Paid is for increasing your reach and raising awareness among specific audiences. Ideally, you need both to thrive.

Here are some stats that prove the value of paid social:

Types of Facebook ads

Facebook – like most online ad platforms – offers several types of ads, each with a different format and objectives.

Link-click ads

Link click ads are perhaps the most common type of ad on Facebook. These rely on users clicking a link in the right column, desktop or mobile newsfeeds, or on secondary sites, such as Instagram. They’re ideal for driving people directly to your landing pages and getting them interested in products now. You’ll need to keep the ad copy short, though – Facebook limits you to just 90 characters.

Video ads

Video ads are similar to link-click ads but have a slightly different objective. You’re still trying to get people to follow links to your landing pages, but it is not a pure sales play. Often, companies will use Facebook videos to talk about their brand or even entertain their audience.

Placement works in just the same way as link-click ads, but instead of a static image, a video appears. Facebook allows videos up to 4 GB and lasts a maximum of 120 minutes, giving you a massive scope to communicate with your audience. Most videos are in the 15 to 30-second range.

Boosted page posts

Boosted page posts are tools Facebooks gives you for extending the reach of posts you place on your Facebook page. Clicking the boost page allows you to set up bidding methods to target your audience. Again, the purpose is to get people to click your links and forward them to your landing pages.

Multi-product carousels

Facebook allows you to create multi-product carousels that display the types of items your audience might want to buy in the desktop newsfeed, mobile newsfeed, and audience network. You can add up to ten images and videos, and include headlines and links to all your products from a single ad box. Ecommerce companies find this particular option very useful.

What to consider before creating Facebook Ads

Facebook ads can be very successful. But businesses need to think carefully about the copy they include and the audience they want to target ahead of time.

Audience research

Facebook Ad Manager is a powerful tool that allows you to specify which audiences see your ads. There are multiple ways to take advantage of this withing Facebook Advertising Platform. BUT you need to understand your target customers really well. If you have not done so really map out who your ideal customer is. If you need a template for this, I have one in THE HUB.

Audience research is vital because it allows you to map your ideal customer onto your audience specification in Ad Manager. Where possible, collect real-world data on who your market is and then refine your targeting over time.

It is possible to show your ads to new audiences, retarget ads to people who visited your website and also create a custom audience ( made up of existing or past customers as an example) to promote additional or repeat sales. Slightly more complex is the ability to show ads to someone that may have abandoned the shopping cart.


Creating a great ad copy is something of a craft. But once you get it right, you can start generating significant traffic.

Right now, I encourage you to focus on creating copy that tells a story and does not overly sell. You need to ensure that you are putting yourself in the eyes of the customers and selling the advantages and benefits of your product for them!. Don’t make your copy about you.


Facebook lists its images spec here – a list of technical requirements you need to fulfil before advertising. But hitting these legal points isn’t enough to guarantee performance. You also need to post images that generate clicks.

There is a trend right now to move away from stock and overly produced images. Instead, use images that you might use in a Facebook post. Think natural, informal but scroll stopping!

Ultimately you need to think – would I click on this ad? and if you wouldn’t then.

Landing pages

Finally, you’ll need to create compelling landing pages for users who click your links.

The top tip here is that you need congruency with the ad and your landing page destination. Is it clear that they are in the right place? For e-commerce ensure that click directly to the product page, and for service, businesses take users directly to the sales page and show the benefits of your service to the potential customer.

Make sure that your CTA on the ad reflects the action you want them to take – e.g. more info, sign up, buy.

Pro tips for high-performing Facebook Ads

When it comes to Facebook advertising, it is easy to miss the mark. Here we list some pro tips that will help you make the most of your advertising budget.

Use Facebook pixel

The Facebook pixel is a chunk of code you can embed on your website. It lets you track people coming from Facebook, allowing you to measure your return on investment. It also lets you construct targeted audiences for future ads and remarket to people who’ve taken specific actions on your website.

All businesses advertising on the platform should be using it.

For more information on this, you can check out this blog.

Use Video

71 percent of consumers say that they find Facebook video ads relevant or highly relevant, with more than 83 percent of marketers confident that they drive purchases. Where possible, try to use this form of advertising – it regularly outperforms static images and raw copy.

Use the correct format for placement.

Facebook calls where you run ads placements. Usually, your ads will appear in one of the following places: Facebook, Messenger, the audience network, and Instagram.

Before placing an ad, you need to think carefully about your marketing objectives. Where should you focus your efforts? Fortunately, Ad Manager provides you with a tool to do just that.

Marketing Objective

Once you click an option from the list above, it’ll start automatically placing ads with proven performance in those domains,

You can also be more granular with your ad placements. Uncheck automatic placements and click edit placements.

FB ad placement

Here you customize who sees what in much more detail.

Social Proof

Ideally, you want your ads to generate clicks, comments and shares ( as well as sales. obvs!) This shows to Facebook that the ad is relevant, and in turn, will get you better placed in terms of ad quality and lower cost per click. 

Swipe examples

The following are some examples of companies that nailed Facebook advertising in terms of copy, images and social proof. 

Remember, swipe examples aren’t about copying – they’re about looking for underlying principles and then applying them to your own ad copy.

Take a look at this Horlicks ad on Facebook that managed to generate more than 388 comments and 791 reactions in the first 24 hours.

Horlicks FB ad

The company begins with the statement “You asked, and we listened!” which is invariably something that customers want to hear. It then goes onto explain how everyone’s favourite instant hot drink is now available for vegans or people who want to go plant-based.

Lifestyle Reviewer takes a different tactic. The allergy testing company wants to appeal to people who feel tired all the time by suggesting that it could be because of food intolerance. It begins with a headline that articulates how a lot of people feel to motivate them to buy its product. Over the first few days of publication, the ad gained more than 1,300 comments and attracted over 1,200 reactions.

Lifestyle Reviewer FB ad

This ad from Design Pickle is a great example of an ad to a custom audience of previous customers. Note the copy “we miss you.’

Itch use photos of real pets of customers, so take advantage of User Generated Content. I mean, who could resist that picture!

This add from Sean Vosier uses video format and compelling copy. 

The Harmoni ad uses an image that looks like a photo that you or I took on the iPhone and creates a reason to stop and take a look. 

All the ads featured here have great social proof! 

Useful tools for Facebook ad campaigns

Okay sure – you understand the principle behind great Facebook ads. But how do you actually make them?

Fortunately, there are a bunch of tools you can use. Here are some top picks:

  • Qwaya: This tool allows you to A/B test ads side-by-side to learn, which leads to the most views, impressions, clicks, and sales.
  • AdEspresso: A helpful and easy-to-use tool that allows you to track the progress of your Facebook ad campaigns and get real results
  • Driftrock: Coca-Cola and BMW both use this tool for their Facebook advertising. It offers a for step approach – create, automate, trigger and lead response – to hone your ad targeting and boost conversions.
  • Adroll: This tool lets you retarget on Facebook when somebody visits your site by showing them your messages in their news feed.
  • Buzzsumo: Expedia and Yahoo both use Buzzsumo. It helps you identify which keywords you should use in your Facebook ad copy and also identifies leading influencers on the platform who could spread your message.
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