How to Optimize Holiday ROAS - Opascope

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    Alex Thilén regularly supervises millions in ad spend every holiday for Opascope clients. And he’s learned a thing or two about optimizing ad accounts for end-of-year performance.

    He sat down with Opascope co-founder Max Thilén to discuss holiday campaign management best practices.

    Watch the full video or read the highlights below.

    Related: Learn how we helped increase a custom gift company’s holiday ad spend by nearly 45%.

    1. Set Performance Rules Early

    During the holidays, things move fast. Your predictions on ad engagement may be way off. Meanwhile, key decision-makers may not be available to approve changes quickly opening the door for missed opportunities as game-time decisions hang in limbo. The result is missed opportunities to maximize revenue.

    Some rules to set: 

    1. What’s the minimum and maximum budget you’re willing to spend?

    2. What are your scaling rules if ROAS hits certain levels?

    For example, if your typical ROAS is 5, but it’s steadily at 8 during Black Friday week, wouldn’t you want to spend as much as possible on ads to take advantage? If the answer is yes, make sure whoever is managing your ads over the holiday have clear guidance on how to deal with a few major if/thens.

    Having clear rules set avoids losing time to approvals when things are working and allows maximum value to be captured.

    2. Don’t Test Ads Too Early

    A mistake Alex sees a lot is companies testing out ads well in advance of the holidays. 

    When it comes to consumer ads, you want to think like your consumers. In this case, that means testing ads when they’re starting to think about the holidays.

    If you test ads too early, you run the risk of distorting your learnings, because the people engaging with holiday ads in August aren’t necessarily the same people who would engage in November.

    So what’s a better approach? Make projections based on last year’s performance and reuse your best-performing ads. “There’s always value in reusing assets if you can, especially on social,” Alex explained, “because they have lots of engagement and social proof that’s going to make them perform better.”

    Things to keep track of from previous years that can help you optimize the current year’s performance:

    1. When did Black Friday sales actually start?

    2. Was there a boost early or late?

    3. What creatives worked the best?

    3. Test Your Entire Mobile Funnel

    “What we’ll see with most consumer brands is no matter what their normal Facebook/Google split is, traffic is going to usually go more towards Facebook during the holidays just because of the nature of what Black Friday is,” Alex explained. “As their split leans more toward Meta, brands are going to get more mobile traffic. So if they have mobile issues on site, it’s going to be much more present during that period and throw off the performance.”

    Test and retest your funnel using different starting points and, ideally, using different devices. If Android users are getting a different experience than iPhone users and you don’t know it, you’ll miss out.

    4. Make Small Frequent Changes to Avoid Meta’s Learning Penalty

    When it comes to managing holiday campaigns, ad managers fear Meta’s learning phase (and if they don’t, they should.) This is a period of time when Meta is learning the best ways to deliver your ads, and you can expect higher costs and lower engagement. 

    Learning phases happen when you first submit a new ad set, but you can also trigger a new learning phase when you make big changes to an existing campaign.

    Here’s what we recommend instead.

    1. Make small increases frequently

    If you’re running a Black Friday campaign, don’t let ads run all day Friday then make big adjustments to your budgets on Saturday. Not only do you run the risk of triggering a learning penalty, but you’re also missing out on opportunities to optimize ROAS. You should be adjusting individual ad budgets up or down all weekend to ensure your budget is going to the best-performing ads.

    2. Duplicate winning campaigns instead of making big budget changes.

    If you have an ad set or campaign performing really well, duplicate it. Increase the budget for the original campaign by 10 or 15% and run the second campaign for a lower amount. In this way, Meta won’t penalize you for making a big change and you have a backup ad starting to run just in case.

    Need Help Managing Your Holiday Campaigns? Talk to Us.

    We work with high-growth companies across a range of industries that have unique challenges and a desire for a true performance marketing partner. If you’re ready to boost revenue this holiday (and beyond), set up a call.

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