With the business of the Holiday season slowly coming to an end, it’s a social media marketer’s favorite time of the year! Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Holiday ad creation have ended, and now it’s time to sit back, relax, and browse our favorite paid ads on social media! That’s right – we digital marketers are always thinking ahead, determining trends and insights to apply to next year’s holiday season and how digital marketing agencies can learn, improve, adjust, or continue to apply in 2023.
I gathered my top five favorite paid social ads from this Holiday season. As part of our work at a digital marketing agency, we access the Meta Ads Library, which lets you see what other advertisers’ ads look like! I simply searched the terms ‘Black Friday,’ ‘Cyber Monday,’ and ‘Holiday Sale’ and then chose what I consider to be the top five best social ads out of the millions of ads available!
There are a few factors that influenced my decision, starting with the ad’s creative component. When I act as a consumer, the first thing that I notice about an ad is the creative (the image or video) and how appealing it is. For me, this would be an aesthetically pleasing image/video that resonates with my liking, whether it be a lifestyle image, a product image, a graphic, or a combination of the three.
The second thing I notice about an ad is the caption or the primary text. Consumers don’t have a lot of time; when they are on social media, their main purpose for going on the platform is most likely not to look at ads. Therefore, I appreciate captions that are short and to the point. I don’t mind the use of emojis if they are used appropriately and make sense. When also picking out these ads, I chose the ones that follow common best practices in social media marketing.
My personal preference and the way that I approach ads on social media could be (and probably is) completely different from you or anyone else. Let’s dive into my top five paid social ads from this Holiday season, in no particular order.
Ad #1: Corkcicle – Get up to 50% Off Last Chance Sale
The sense of urgency that is executed within this Corkcicle ad is very compelling. The first time we see the sense of urgency being pushed upon us as consumers is within the primary text. The phrase “before they’re gone…” is a great strategy to get consumers to purchase right away because the consumer may feel like they will miss out if they don’t. The second time we see the sense of urgency is within the description. The description states, “Last Chance Sale!” which again reiterates the message that you may miss out on an awesome sale if you don’t purchase right away.
I thought it was really smart of this advertiser not to include the end date of the sale anywhere in the ad because if the consumer does develop an interest, they will most likely purchase right away since they might worry that the sale could end that day, so they can’t put off the purchase. Even if a consumer does not purchase right away, maybe because they were just aimlessly scrolling through their social media and not intending to buy anything, they may click on the ad and browse the website to find out when the sale ends. Once they know the date that the sale ends, they might keep this as a mental note and come back to the website to purchase later. I myself have done this many times. I have set reminders in my phone the day before a sale ends to remind me to purchase the particular product!
A common best practice is to make callouts to any unique selling propositions (USPs) or important aspects of the ad itself – in this case, the sale. The use of the term “best-selling” was very clever to include as it builds credibility with the consumer and intrigues them to want to know more about the best-selling gifts. All of the percentage-off promos are clearly stated within the copy and the creative. Calling out anything that may differentiate you from a competitor is key when advertising!
Let’s move on to the creative. Again, this is another area where the sense of urgency is being conveyed. We can see it under the 50% OFF copy overlay within the graphic. Another best practice when it comes to advertising is to make your brand known immediately. That is exactly what this ad does; we can see at the top center of the image that the brand name is listed first in a bolded white font, purposely placed right in front of the consumer’s eyes. The creative uses bright neon colors to emphasize the different sale offerings, which I think is neat and draws a lot of attention! The outlining border with the repetition of “sale” adds a little more spunk to the graphic and ties all of the elements together, rather than just keeping a solid black background. Lastly, the “SHOP SALE” square button within the image directs the consumer to shop as it is a clear call-to-action that the advertiser wants you to act on.
Ad #2: Ulta Beauty – Joico BOGO 50% OFF
Considering I am a lover of all things Ulta, I find this ad very compelling! I have personally used a product from this brand, Joico. Their products are more on the higher-ticketed item side compared to other brands, so the BOGO 50% off offer would definitely influence a consumer that uses this brand frequently to purchase, perhaps even stock up since I personally know the items are more expensive.
Let’s dive into the copy first. The use of the word ‘joi’ instead of ‘joy’ was a fun and catchy way to approach this and still make it relevant to the holidays while connecting to the brand being advertised. It’s a great way to tie the product into the environment in which it is being advertised. There are multiple different USPs that the copy speaks to BOGO, healthy hair, and savings. Not only does the ad focus on calling out the sale itself, but it also brings in the “healthy hair,” which is a benefit of using Joico’s product.
A common best practice that we all follow at JumpFly when making ads is to manually choose the video thumbnail. If you are unaware of what a thumbnail is, it is exactly what you see as the image in the video above – the still frame of the woman. There are different scenes within the video that you can manually choose to show as the cover before someone plays the video. When I build ads, I always manually choose the thumbnail, or else Facebook will randomly choose one for you. It’s best practice to choose it because a consumer may skip over your ad if the thumbnail is showing something that doesn’t even speak to what is being advertised.
Ulta chose an amazing part of the video to be the thumbnail because not only does it show a smiling woman with healthy, beautiful hair, but it also shows both brand names at the top of the screen, as well as the circular graphic element promoting the BOGO. When I watched the video, I noticed it was a creator kit video, meaning the advertiser chose different images and put it together in a slideshow with scene transitions. In this ad, there are different scenes that transition with a zooming effect. The scenes include beautiful product images and lifestyle images, with holiday-themed music playing. The video is 15 seconds in length, which is another best practice to follow. It is so important to keep your videos short and efficient, meaning get to the point of the ad right away and try not to squeeze too much in. This video encapsulates what the copy in the ad conveys – a job well done to Ulta on this ad!
Ad #3: Lovesac – Up to 40% Off Holiday Event
This ad is a bit different from the other four because it has long copy compared to the short copy that we have seen in the previous two ads. There is a time and a place to test out long copy, and it totally makes sense for the product that Lovesac is advertising. When a consumer is considering whether or not to purchase a couch, they go through many different stages than, say, someone who is looking to purchase a new hoodie. The only attributes that a consumer would consider when buying a hoodie are most likely the color, the design, the size, and the price.
When deciding to purchase a couch, a consumer has to consider much more. Is there a warranty on the couch? Is there free shipping, and will it take a while to ship? Is the layout of the couch what I want it to be? Will it fit in my living room? Are there payment plans available? You get the point. The customer would go through a longer buying process, so naturally, your ads need to include more information that speaks to what the customer might be wondering.
Addressing any potential questions in your ads before a consumer has to look for them is important when you have a higher-end, more in-depth buying experience, and as an advertiser, you should try to relay this information in a concise and easy-to-understand way.
This ad does all of that. Let’s first start with the creative. This is a lifestyle image with copy overlay. The text is bolded in an easy-to-read font that states the promotion of the Holiday Event. It is the main element in the ad and where my eyes were drawn first. The product is featured in the ad, with the lifestyle image being the people gathering on the Lovesac couch for the New Year.
The addition of the Golden Retriever really pulled at some heartstrings (another great element in this ad!). The people in the photo look like they are having great conversations and are making memories with each other, which gives us the message that if we have a Lovesac couch in our home, we will also make amazing and fun memories. This ad relates so well to the potential buyer. It is also a very timely and relevant picture since it shows the people celebrating New Year’s Eve, and this ad is promoting Lovesac’s Holiday Event. People will feel more inclined to buy since the creative speaks to the time of the year we are all currently living in.
As advertisers, it is crucial to have up-to-date, new creatives on deck continuously. In order to stay in the game, it is recommended that businesses provide new creatives as much as possible to stay fresh and not experience creative fatigue.
Let’s get into the copy of this ad. Once again, the promotion is stated right away in the ad, so consumers that come across it will know immediately that there is a Holiday Event and it includes up to 40% off. This caption is unique because it tells a story and explains what can be done if you purchase the product. You can adapt the Sactional couch to fit whatever your need may be. I actually think this is such a neat product, and immediately I got the impression that this couch is cooler and more versatile than other couches, considering the messaging tells us that the Sactional can be rearranged, meaning it is not just one big couch, but instead multiple pieces that can be combined to create a seating area. The product in itself is already unique, which makes this ad very special.
The caption also includes some key features and benefits of the couch (think back to addressing customers’ questions before they even have to ask!). The use of emojis is relevant to what the blurb is stating, and I think it is a very creative way to promote the benefits you get when you purchase from Lovesac. As we see in the headline, the promotion is stated to reinforce and really dig into the consumer’s mind that this product is on sale for up to 40% off. The description induces feelings of trust and credibility, as they are using their trademarked slogan, “Experience Total Comfort.” Overall, this ad is one of the best and is a perfect guideline for how advertisers should be creating and promoting their ads!
Ad #4: Haworth – 15% OFF WFH Joy.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the creative is the first attribute of ads that catch my eye, which this ad did! The combination of the lifestyle image with the aesthetic background and copy overlay fits very well together. The rounded design of the pine green background coordinates perfectly with the lifestyle image. There isn’t too much going on in the picture, but right away, the user sees the 15% off message in the creative. It’s very important to grab the user right away because users are wired to skip over ads or only pay attention to them for about three to six seconds. Keeping your creatives simple, concise, and uncluttered is essential to not overwhelm the consumer because they might think that there is too much going on, and they can’t extract the intent or purpose of the ad.
Another reason I like this creative is that it is relevant and timely. A common best practice that I just talked about in the Lovesac ad is to keep updating your creatives and making them relevant to the season or to the theme of what you are trying to promote. If this advertiser just used an old product image they had stored in their media library, the ad would most likely not relate as well to the consumer as this lifestyle image does. The lifestyle image has hints of Christmas/winter in it, with the greenery hung on the windows, the warm blanket wrapped around the woman, and the soft snow in the windows. This creative fits extremely well with the timeliness of The Holiday Sale.
With regards to the copy, I really like the subtle creativity and influence that this ad projects. It is not a long caption. It gets straight to the point by explicitly stating, “Save 15% on chairs, desks, and more…” As a consumer, I automatically know that there is a deal going on for this business, even if I have never heard of the company. This makes me want to learn more about what the sale is and if it is something I would be interested in buying. We get served ads based on what we search and look at, so the ads that I see in my feed may be completely different from what another consumer sees.
I particularly liked this ad because it relates to my situation, as I work in a hybrid environment. “Treat yourself or your favorite WFH-er” and “WFH gifts are a thing” are both really enticing but subtle ways to capture the audience. This ad discreetly lets the consumer know about their product’s savings in the primary text, creative, and description, but each in a different verbiage! The ad is not repetitive, and the voice sounds authentic, sincere, and enticing.
Ad #5: PurelyWHITE DELUXE – 50% Off
We all know that user-generated content (UGC) has become a huge trend and has helped many businesses resonate more closely with their customers. That is why I enjoyed this ad. The creative of this social ad is a video of a consumer who has used the teeth whitening product, and she shows why she loves it. The video is also instructional, as the user in the video presents how to use the product, all within 15 seconds!
There is also a sense of urgency to buy that the user exemplifies at the end of the video, which is to buy before the product sells out. UGC works so well because people tend to trust other people more than they trust brands, so when they see another person similar to themselves using a product and explaining the benefits that it provides or showing how to use it, the customer will feel more secure in purchasing.
The copy gets straight to the point and mentions right away that the ad is promoting a Christmas sale. The ad copy speaks to other customers who have taken the step towards a whiter smile, which engages the viewing consumer to want to fit in. The copy relays a sense of FOMO, which is a smart strategy to use in social media marketing. The copy is short, the 50% off promo appears in the caption, and the sale is again reiterated in the headline where it states “Cyber Monday Sale.” The use of stars in the description is enticing because it builds trust with consumers, making them feel more secure knowing that the business has a five-star rating.
Another reason I chose this ad and want to bring attention to it is due to the fact that it is a smaller business compared to the other ads that I chose. Ultimately, it is safe to assume that this business most likely does not have a high advertising budget or a strong market presence. However, they make use of their resources very well by taking advantage of UGC. If you own a small business and don’t have the proper resources to hire a professional photographer to capture and develop images/videos, then content creators and/or influencers should be your best friend! Since there is a plethora of content creators out there, you are guaranteed to find someone who really believes in your brand and can connect with consumers by producing content themselves, which takes a load off of you as a business! Just because you may have a smaller budget than, say, Nike or LuluLemon, does not mean you cannot build and optimize a successful campaign. Take advantage of all the resources available to you!
Advertising during the Holiday season is hard, and arguably, the toughest time of the year to advertise due to the millions of brands out there that are also competing for your customers. If I wanted you to take away anything from this blog, these are the few key points to take with you as you continue to embark on your social advertising journey:
- Sense of Urgency: Use language that induces a feeling of pressure to purchase now. Phrases such as Act Now.., Purchase before it’s too late.., and Last chance.. are just a few that can influence the consumer to convert.
- Callout USPs/Differentiators: Because there are so many brands out there trying to compete for the same customer as you are, you really need to take the time to lock down what differentiates you from competitors. Try to think on a deeper level, and avoid promoting the most common USPs (Free Shipping, Free Returns, etc.). What really makes you stand out? Always think about your mission and vision statement when developing these USPs.
- Video Ads – Keep Them Short & Manually Choose a Thumbnail: Because consumers have such a short attention span, you need to convey your message right away. Don’t wait to get the main message of your ad out at the end of the video – most consumers may not get there! That’s why choosing a thumbnail that best speaks to your message can be beneficial and make the consumer watch the video or even understand the message without watching it!
- Relevancy & Timeliness: This is a common best practice and is important to follow because it helps your business connect with a consumer beyond the surface level. Always promote evergreen content, but really try to take advantage of holidays, events, and even fun themes such as Taco Tuesday if you are a business like Hello Fresh or something similar. The main point is to post ads that speak to the current situation of the external environment!
- Avoid Creative Fatigue: This goes hand-in-hand with providing timely and relevant ads. Because the seasons change and there is so much opportunity to utilize the external environment, your business should generally be providing fresh, new content every 4-6 weeks. Of course, this can vary depending on many factors, such as your spend, number of campaigns, your audience size, and more. The main takeaway is to stay in the game of the constantly changing trends in social media, and provide new creatives as often as you can.
- Test Long Copy & Emojis: I firmly believe that there is a time and place for this. I think it strongly relies on what your business is about. If you are a law firm, chances are you will not be using fun emojis in your ads – I think it would convey a false sense of credibility to the consumer. However, if you are a beauty-based company, it would be appropriate to use emojis since consumers find them more relatable. Long copy should be tested if your business wants to convey a deeper message to its potential buyer. You can use emojis and long copy hand-in-hand by using emojis to act as bullet points to list out the key benefits of your product offering.
- Utilize UGC: User-generated content is not going away! Year after year, we have seen UGC, or content creators/influencers, become more and more relevant. There is a reason for this, and it’s because potential customers feel more connected, and they put more trust in a product if they see another person that is similar to them using the product. Choose your influencers wisely!
- Convey Personable Feelings: Determine the personality and voice of your brand. Is it serious? Soft? Loud? Empathetic? Whatever it may be, use language that conveys the voice of your brand to the consumer. Don’t be afraid to get personable – it will help you stand out from the rest!
We hope these top five social ads help you apply something new and beneficial to your digital marketing strategy for 2023. Before we know it, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Holiday Sales of 2023 will be upon us again! Do your research now to see what paid social ad strategies were successful or unsuccessful in 2022 so that in 2023, you can really hit the ground running! Thanks again for following along, and the JumpFly team wishes you all a very Happy Holiday! 🎄🎁🎅