We’re closing in on the most important part of the 2020 holiday shopping season and although things are certainly going to look a little different this year, Facebook and Instagram have both given small businesses reasons to be cheerful with a host of new ad developments.

Unsurprisingly, more shoppers than ever are expected to do the bulk of their festive buying online this year. Adobe says it is expecting a “record year” in its annual Digital Insights Holiday report, which has just been released to mark the beginning of November and the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. With it predicting a 33% year-on-year growth for online sales, there is certain to be a battle royal for consumer eyeballs, making the new ad options a timely reminder that now is the time to kick seasonal campaigns into high gear.

If you’re ready to get started, here are some of the new ad innovations that you can put to work:

  1. Product tags on Instagram ads

Instagram has streamlined its product tags process after around 12 months of testing. You can now go straight to Ad Manager, create an ad and tag products, without having to create and share as an organic image first. This speeds up the process quite substantially, which is good news if you have a barrage of ads and tags to get up and running. You can add tags to photo ads, video ads and carousel ads.

  • Lookalike audience targeting

Ad targeting and prudent budget management matters more than ever in 2020, with many businesses feeling the pinch of social distancing and in-store regulations. Available now across Facebook and Instagram, you can begin to target ‘lookalike’ shoppers – those consumers who have similar interests to your existing shoppers across Facebook and Instagram. Use this option to refine your targeting and increase ad exposure to more of the right kinds of audiences.

  • Target ‘engagement audiences’

Another new innovation is the option to target your ads at shoppers who have already engaged with your brand but perhaps haven’t yet made a purchase. Known as shopping engagement audiences, this gives you the ability to get in front of users who have interacted with your social presence in some way, such as viewing your shop or liking a post.

  • Discounts and promos

Although only available in the USA currently where the feature is being tested, Facebook has also made it possible for store owners to showcase their special offers and discounts to holiday shoppers. You can tie promos to specific products and also set custom parameters for offers, such as minimum spend. Check the Promotions tab of Commerce Manager to find out when this option rolls out across the rest of the world.

The changes to ad targeting and functions are widely considered to be steps to encourage shoppers to spend more on their mobile devices. According to Facebook’s official announcement, 78% of transactions it handles come from a mobile device and it expects this figure to increase going into the festive season. This expectation marries with Adobe’s own forecast, which says that shoppers will spend £21 billion ($28 billion) more on mobile devices this year compared with last.

Author Rebecca

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