3 tips for optimizing paid social campaigns for seasonality

How retailers can make their seasonal social ad dollars go further.

Planning your paid social campaigns well ahead of your peak periods — whether seasonal, holiday or promotional — help ensure you hit your goals. Michelle Stinson Ross, marketing operations director at Apogee Results, offered tips on how advertisers can get the most out of seasonal social ads at SMX West in San Jose last week.

As part of a deep focus on digital commerce marketing, speakers discussed ways social commerce and shoppable media are transforming the way online retailers approach digital marketing.

Stay top of mind

“Paid social sits much higher in your sales funnel than paid search does. Just think about it… Are human beings really able to search for something they’ve never heard of before? No, probably not,” said Stinson Ross.

It’s the reason why paid social advertisers need to be thinking about social in the same vein as “old school” forms of mass media: newspapers, radio, or television. “These are all exposures to audiences that may have never heard of us,” she added.

Social media as a marketing channel may not present an “intense moment of buying,” Stinson Ross said, but it could provide an opportunity to remind or introduce consumers to your brand and how it can benefit them.

Early exposure also means you’ll be able to build up audiences to remarket to when your seasonal periods hit. “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn – all of them have retargeting options so that [brands] can remind them – hey, there’s a sale coming up,” she said. Effective retargeting works best when advertisers can segment top-of-funnel visitors from those already familiar with your brand and tailor the messaging accordingly.

Remarketing is also an opportunity to cross-sell and upsell to past customers, said Stinson.

Target seasonal behavior

Timing is everything and targeting for seasonal behavior is key for online retailers. Surf gear ads in the winter and ski gear ads in the summer aren’t likely to resonate. That said, the trends and consumer behaviors may surprise you. Look at search trends data and your own analytics to be able to anticipate — and get ahead of — your seasonal upticks.

Take cues from brick-and-mortar retailers, suggests Stinson Ross. “We can pay attention to competitors and other retail outlets as to when is that signal going out to customers that it’s time to start thinking about the next holiday. We can begin to target that in social.”

Connecting throughout the customer journey

Retargeting becomes especially important when advertisers can return to audience pools generated through broader campaigns, Stinson Ross said. Commerce advertisers can bolster social retargeting efforts by building lists of social visitors to target with Search campaigns.

When it comes to measurement, marketers should beware of measuring paid social’s impact based on last-click attribution.

“While you may get them to go to that page and consider that product, they may not buy in that particular moment. But that’s where PPC can pick them up, finish the process and get them to the sale in the end,” Stinson Ross concluded.


About The Author

Taylor Peterson is Third Door Media’s Deputy Editor, managing industry-leading coverage that informs and inspires marketers. Based in New York, Taylor brings marketing expertise grounded in creative production and agency advertising for global brands. Taylor’s editorial focus blends digital marketing and creative strategy with topics like campaign management, emerging formats, and display advertising.

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