Mobile Apps, Facebook Ads

Advertising Your App During the 2020 Holiday Season

It'd be repetitive to say 2020 has been an unprecedented year, and this holiday season will be no different.

Just like almost every other industry, the covid-19 pandemic has brought some challenges and unique scenarios for advertisers to navigate. Companies have had to scrap their marketing strategies for the year, re-allocate budgets, and revamp their messaging and priorities.

This holiday season we can expect a few unique effects of the pandemic for advertisers. This post is specifically for Facebook/Instagram advertising but a lot of it applies to other platforms.

The two major changes that we can expect this year are a longer shopping season, and more people being online than ever.

1. Longer shopping season

We've already seen the holiday shopping season start earlier. Retailers are pushing holiday promotions earlier. Due to restrictions on in-store shopping, more shoppers than ever are ordering online this year.

Pushing the shopping season earlier will help reduce the load on ecommerce businesses and the postal service and ensure everyone gets their packages in time.

This longer shopping season means that we will likely see less volatility in costs – i.e. less drastic highs and lows. Companies' ad budget will be spread along a longer timeline.

2. More people online than ever

With the pandemic causing more people to stay at home and connect online, the holiday season is no different.

There's likely going to be a lot less travel this year, meaning more people staying at home over the holidays. We will see more people online over the holidays than ever, meaning more opportunities in the ad auction, which could reduce costs.

Considering these factors, here are some action items to help you plan for the season:

  1. Plan around estimated peaks to maximize costs.
  2. Use holiday-themed creative to make your ads relevant and seasonal.
  3. Take advantage of the higher liquidity with AAA campaigns.
  4. Set up campaigns in advance in case of glitches or long approval times.

1. Plan around estimated peaks

The most cost-effective time of year to advertise on Facebook and Instagram is from last ship date (5-10 days before Christmas) to end of January.

App advertisers are lucky because unlike ecommerce, they can plan to spend the majority of their holiday budget during this low-cost period since they are not likely selling Christmas gifts.

The week between Christmas and New Years, sometimes referred to as "Quarter 5" (Q5), is a great time to scale your budget. More people than ever are expected to be at home and on their phones at this time. I recommend planning to spend extra budget during this time if your campaigns are performing.

Facebook has revealed that the first week of January gets high conversion rates and low CPMs for campaigns that are optimized for app installs. For campaigns optimized for in-app purchases, you'll see conversions peak and CPMs reduced during Christmas week.

2. Use holiday-themed creative

Keeping your ad creative (media and copy) fresh is always a good strategy for making sure your ads are performing at their best.

During the holidays, having holiday-themed ads will make them more relevant and seasonal. They'll catch audience attention better and increase conversions.

3. Take advantage of AAA campaigns

If you haven't tried out AAA campaigns yet, the holidays could be a good time to give it a shot and allow the algorithm to find new potential audiences for your.

This is a brand new campaign type that Facebook just released in September 2020. Similar to Google's Universal App Campaigns (UAC), the AAA campaigns require few specifics and they take care of your targeting and creative optimizations for you.

I've got an in-depth guide to AAA campaigns coming soon, so make sure to fill out the subscribe box at the bottom of this page to get it sent to you when it's released!

4. Set-up campaigns in advance

We've already experienced some Q4 glitches this year with mass amounts of ads getting disapproved and accounts getting banned for no reason the first week of November.

With so many advertisers on the Facebook ads platform at this time of year, and Facebook pushing through lots of changes and updates quickly, it would not be surprising if there are more issues.

Facebook's ad approval times can also be longer during busy periods as they get overloaded with requests for new ads.

Planning your campaigns in advance and setting them up in Ads Manager a week or two prior to when it needs to go live can help make sure that your ads get approved in time.

If this will be your first time launching ads for your app, make sure to read this post with 4 considerations before launching app ads.

If you want some help with advertising your mobile app in the new year, view my Hire me page to learn more about how we can work together. Otherwise, make sure to subscribe to this blog below as I'll be releasing a lot more content for app companies.

Happy holidays!

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About Leah Mazur

Leah has worked in digital marketing for 9 years. She consults for clients on digital advertising and teaches marketing workshops across Canada.
  • Montreal, Canada
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