Holiday Booking

Facebook advertising planning for Christmas – PART 1

I hear you! Christmas, CHRISTMAS?! Yep that’s right, it may be summer but now is the time to start thinking about the festive season and how you’re going to start planning Facebook ads to make the most out of advertising during this period.

In part one of this series, we will look at planning and preparation.

STEP 1:  5 – 6 months in advance (NOW!)

Lay the foundations

  • Evaluate your tech needs – what we mean by this is look at your Facebook pixel, catalogues and tracking. Are they working effectively and do you need to make any optimisations for campaigns such as dynamic ads?
  • Test and learn campaigns – you should be using AB split testing to determine what delivery and creative methods are working the best for you before the season kicks on so you are using the best ad strategies for your business. Here’s some things you could test:
    • Do automatic placements improve conversion rates and cost?
    • Which bidding strategy drives higher conversion volume?
    • How should I consolidate audiences with campaign budget optimisation?
    • Which create concepts resonate with key audiences?
    • Which discount strategies are most effective?
    • Do creative overlays improve conversion rates?
    • Should I add static brand assets to dynamic creative?

STEP 2: 3 months to go

Build your audience 

Start to generate interest in your product with prospecting campaigns and pre-awareness holiday campaigns: 

  • Brand awareness campaigns: Sometimes businesses stay away from using the brand awareness objectives as they are not optimised for ‘conversions’. However, brand awareness campaigns are really important in the run up to big events. By using brand awareness objectives in the run up to a big event, not only does your brand awareness increase, but it increases the intent of the user which in turn decreases the CPA and increases the CTR in the long term.  
  • Broad targeting: The latest motto at Facebook is ‘broader is better’. When I first started doing social ads, I loved using all the interest based targeting to get some lovely niche audiences. However, Facebook’s machine learning has got so good now that it knows who to show your ads to out of all the people in your broad audience. Just because you are targeting 2 million people, does not mean Facebook will try and show your advert to 2 million people! By going broader, I have found that the CPA’s and CPC’s are lower than if I go more specific with targeting. So, don’t be scared of placing your fishing net a little bigger, you could reap the benefits 
  • Lookalike campaigns: If you have not tried a lookalike campaign, then you should! It’s doing the hard work for you, Facebook will look for people that look like your desired audience. For example, you can ask it to look for people who look like your website visitors, purchasers and more. 
  • Dynamic Ads and broad audiences: By using dynamic adverts, you can personalise your ad sets with your product catalogue and different creatives. It’s like each of your dynamic adverts are a helpful sales person, introducing the top products that they know they will like, or reminding them of things they have already shown interest in.

STEP 3: 1 month to go

Ramp it up – Flash sales & stay in touch

The month running up to Christmas is when there are usually flash sales such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday and so this is a great time to really ramp up your prospecting and testing. 

Forward planning is key to making your flash sales work. Facebook say that even for a sale that is only 3-4 days long, they recommend preparing 4-8 weeks in advance. Think about the phases in the run up to the flash sale, every business will have different timelines but here’s a template to consider:

  • 4 weeks in advance – test creatives, acquire new customers through brand awareness and prospecting
  • 2 weeks before – carry on testing and optimising creatives, start remarketing to your audiences, keep yourself top of mind  
  • Sales days – you should know by now which creative has worked the best. Do not touch the adverts otherwise you will reset the learning phase 

STEP 4: The final few weeks

Heavy lifting complete

In the last 4 weeks, most of the heavy lifting has been done. You have already assessed tech needs, tested your delivery & creative strategies and built your audiences. Don’t start changing the adverts during the crucial sales period – keep your adverts out of the learning phase, this will keep the CPA’s down. 

You might want to consider increasing bids and budgets for shopping days and also consider how close you are to the big day. The closer you are to Christmas, consumers are less concerned about price and more concerned about delivery speed and collecting offline. Here, you can leverage creative overlays to highlight expected shipping services, digital gift cards and offline collection services if you offer them.

Another aspect you need to consider during peak is your communication. People increasingly expect to speak to business in the same way they speak to their friends and family. 64% of people prefer messaging to call and email and 1 in 2 people wish they could communicate to more businesses through messaging. Think about your communication channels and how easy it is for consumers to get in contact with you. 


So, we’re finally here, peak holiday season is over, but after all that effort to build brand and find new audiences and drive sales, don’t forget to keep your audience engaged. You could retarget ads to high value holiday purchases with dynamic ads, highlight post holiday sales and introduce new merchandise.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will discuss creative considerations!