Blog Post

Reaching Holiday Shoppers with Paid Social Advertising

11/16/2021 - Sierra Ducey

Everyone knows at least one person that, when November 1 rolls around, the Halloween decor gets put away, and it’s time to celebrate the winter holidays (hey, maybe some of us are that person!). But, whether your holiday decorations are still in the basement or already scattered around your house, there’s no doubt you’ve already seen ads highlighting holiday deals, early Black Friday Specials, and the like. Every year, it seems more brands are joining the aforementioned early-bird merrymaker club hoping to get an early slice of those holiday shopping dollars. 

So, while the official holiday shopping season will launch on November 26 with Black Friday, it’s safe to say, that holiday buying has already commenced. That being said, we’re faced with a long season ahead, so having a strong digital advertising strategy to set your brand up for long-term success is key. 

In an earlier blog post, we outlined top programmatic marketing strategies to incorporate into your strategy to reach key holiday shoppers this season; if you haven’t already, give it a read here. In this blog, we’ll walk through the power social media advertising can have on your holiday advertising.

And if you’re interested in learning more about the four key holiday shopping groups we’ve identified for the season ahead, download the complete guide. Guide for Advertisers: Understanding Key Holiday Shoppers in 2021.

3 Paid Social Advertising Strategies to Reach Holiday Shoppers in 2021 

While many advertisers understand and have embraced social media advertising, there are a few specific applications that we recommend you consider implementing into your plan to reach those key holiday shoppers in the season ahead.

1. Inspire Consumers with Pinterest Carousel Ads

Unlike other social media platforms, where people are concerned about gaining followers, likes, and keeping up with their friends, Pinterest has established itself as the discovery social network. People browse the platform for inspiration and new ideas, which puts them in a state where they are willing to interact and learn about new brands and products. In 2019, over ¾ of weekly Pinners found a new product or brand while scrolling their Pinterest. 

Brands have a great opportunity to use cool and trendy creative ads to grasp the attention of already curious consumers.

But the opportunity gets even better. This sense of discovery peaks during the holidays. 

According to Pinterest, “holidays” is the most popular search category on the site. In the coming weeks, consumers will be looking for party ideas, decorating inspiration, new recipes, fashion advice, gift wrap ideas, fun holiday-themed activities, etc. This opens up a great opportunity to sprinkle your brand’s holiday ads in the mix, showcasing how you can help fulfill their holiday dreams. 

While Pinterest has a few options for effective ad formats, this year, our top suggestion for brands looking to incorporate Pinterest advertising into their holiday digital advertising strategy is to use carousel ads (seen above). These ads appear natively in people’s feeds but allow for interactivity as people can swipe across multiple images. 

2. Engage Younger Audiences with TikTok 

It’s difficult to discuss paid social advertising without addressing the major impact and growth TikTok has seen over the last year. In August, reports showcased that the average time consumers spend on TikTok has overtaken that of Youtube. TikTok users watched over 24 hours of content per month, compared to 22 hours and 40 minutes on Youtube.

While total time spent on Youtube is still larger since their userbase is bigger, TikTok is also rapidly growing in that regard as well. Earlier this year, TikTok announced it reached 1 billion monthly active users (50 million daily active users in the US) only 5 years after the initial launch. This makes them one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in history. 

The platform still does tend to skew towards a younger audience, with 47.4% of users falling between 10 and 29 years old. But that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. Gen Z and Milllenials’ purchasing power continues to grow, now sitting at $143 billion and $1.4 trillion respectively. And as it relates to the holidays specifically? 44% of Gen Z and 33% of millennials expect to spend more in the upcoming season.

So as advertisers you may be wondering how you can get your brand in front of this younger active user base that TikTok has generated? TikTok continues to add new, innovative ad formats including: 

  • Brand takeover: a full-screen, interstitial ad unit that appears immediately when  users open the app
  • In-Feed Video: an immersive, vertical  video that appears in a curated, brand-safe feed for users
  • Hashtag Challenge: Create sponsored hashtags to encourage user-generated content, engage users and attract influencers.
  • Branded Lenses: Create 2D, 3D, and AR lenses that allow users to interact more deeply with  content
  • Custom Influencers: Influencers can be leveraged in highly customized media executions

3. Reach Mobile Shoppers with Facebook Collection Ads 

And what would a blog about social media be without discussing Facebook? With the most monthly active users of all social media platforms – 261 million in the US alone – Facebook covers the largest demographic of consumers.  

These consumers who use Facebook, primarily do so on their mobile devices. Nearly all, 98.5%, of Facebook users access the platform with a mobile device. This coincides perfectly with the upward trends we’re seeing in a willingness (maybe even eagerness) for mobile commerce. Mobile retail commerce now accounts for 31% of all retail e-commerce in the United States, accounting for $47.8 billion. 

Although consumers note that the mobile e-commerce experience could be better, they also agree that shopping via their mobile devices saves them time and is more convenient. As the time spent on mobile devices continues to increase, it’s only likely the trend toward mobile shopping will only follow suit. Incorporating shoppable ads into your digital advertising mix ensures you meet consumers with ad formats that meet their preferences. 

As the holidays approach, more consumers will be on the go, running errands, shopping, and hopping from different social engagements. It’s essential for brands to reach these on-the-go shoppers with mobile-friendly (ideally mobile commerce-friendly) ads. 

Facebook offers a variety of ad formats for advertisers to use, this holiday season we suggest trying the collection ad format (seen above) to reach shoppers. This ad format in particular is specifically optimized for mobile users. It allows them to discover, browse and purchase products and services from their mobile devices in a visual and immersive way.

Preparing your Digital Advertising Strategy for the Season Ahead

These three paid social advertising tactics just scratch the surface of what brands can accomplish with the power of paid social. Understanding where your audience spends the most time and incorporating those platforms into your paid social strategy is essential.

But, we also know that paid social paired with paid search, programmatic, and other emerging channels makes for the perfect omnichannel strategy. Stay tuned for more to come on our blog in the coming weeks as we offer vital tactics to use across those channels to reach holiday shoppers in 2021.  

At Digilant, we have premier partnerships with the biggest social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and more. Alongside these partnerships, our internal team of savvy social media experts is ready to dive into your brand’s goals to create a streamlined strategy built for success. 

Interested in learning more about our paid social digital advertising solutions? Let’s talk!

Download our Guide for Advertisers: Understanding Key Holiday Shoppers in 2021.

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