New Social Shopping Ads for an Ever Earlier Holiday Shopping Season

New Social Shopping Ads for an Ever Earlier Holiday Shopping Season


Social marketers are working just as hard as Santa’s elves to keep up with this year’s advertising holiday shopping season trends. As marketers wanted to put a truckload of coziness and happiness this upcoming season, Q3 has been hampered by the economic downturn creating volatility in the market and unpredictability in the coming weeks. Looking into different factors that may affect the auction dynamics, inflation rate, early holiday shoppers,  2022 Fifa World Cup, and political campaigns, media buyers will continue to pursue every consumer, from those challenged to stretch their budget to affluent shoppers.

A behavior inherited from the pandemic is that consumers have learned to avoid the shopping rush for two reasons: delayed deliveries and big savings from early promotions. In last year’s NRF’s holiday shopping season trends research, 54% of US consumers have crossed out most on their shopping list early to get better deals. 

Top Trends That Will Shape Retail Sector

Businesses are equally affected by inflation, disrupting their supply chain. In the March McKinsey survey, 74% of retailers identified increasing supply chain fragility (raw materials, transportation, and warehousing) as the key trend shaping the industry over the 12-18 months. As a result, retailers are increasing their effort to deliver promotional messages across all channels.

Of all the challenges marketers face, two scenarios will continue to create an impact from today until the calendar rolls over to 2023: higher inflation and a possible recession. As consumers slowly paddle back to their old habits, marketers still tread the social advertising waters.

Related article: YouTube Holiday Advertising: A Gift to Marketers

How Overstocking, Inflation, and Other Factors may Affect the Auction

According to GroupM, by 2025, US e-commerce sales are expected to grow by 27%, outpacing global retail sales. Similarly, charts from InsiderIntelligence show that the retail industry will lead the list in digital ad spend growth this year, followed by the revived travel industry.

With inflation at the forefront of the mind of consumers, retailers and advertisers are forced to adapt quickly by kicking off their holiday promotions earlier than usual. emarketer.com survey found that 77% of the respondents admit that their spending is affected by rising inflation. In addition, 41% of small business owners identify inflation as their primary concern.

YouTube Trueview Instream Skippable - Holiday CPV Movement

Based on Strike Social’s consolidated data of the past Q4 YouTube TrueView Instream Skippable CPV data, media buyers may expect a significant increase in ad spending this November.

Over the last few years, advertisers’ holiday rush began a month before December. Data shows a MoM median percentage increase of 13% occurs when most consumers are at their peak of the holiday shopping season. 

In November 2020, with the boom of eCommerce, the pandemic holidays pushed ad costs up,  jumping by more than 20%, and continued to rally closing the year. 

Media buyers may encounter another busy auction this Q4. Inflation impacts consumers’ buying behaviors while companies push all promotional buttons to try and normalize the supply chain entering 2023. 

Advertisers’ Tools for the Holiday

Brands can reach new sets of eyeballs and boost sales by leveraging holiday campaigns through the latest ad units to create a more native shopping experience. Social media giants offer new advertising solutions that allow a few swipes or clicks, allowing couch shoppers to purchase without leaving the app. 

Combining social commerce with relevant content creates a new form of shopping behavior that allows brands to create a seamless purchase journey. The recent advertising updates open opportunities for advertisers to promote their products or services.

Despite consumers flocking to stores’ doorsteps, social commerce has proven its value to shoppers as they continue to consider purchasing most on their shopping lists online. 

But among the top paid social channels, which of these helps media buyers get more value out of the budget? Understand the latest advertising updates and holiday trends.

TikTok Shopping Ads

Sample TikTok Shopping Ads

Although it is new in the social commerce industry, TikTok is catching up by reinventing the traditional marketing funnel with an “Infinite Loop” of social discovery and creativity. TikTok has made its shopping platform more robust by adding shopping ad units like live shopping, catalog ads, and video shopping ads.

There are three new types of Shopping Ads:

  1. Video Shopping Ads: Using shoppable videos, brands can provide dynamic experiences to drive shoppers to purchase.
  2. Catalog Listing Ads: It enables brands to increase product exposure with shoppable listings without video assets. They can showcase their product catalogs across the app, including “Recommended” or “Related Products.”
  3. LIVE Shopping Ads: Dynamic links to products or services are created and shared directly with a brand’s community in real time through live streaming

Through the three latest formats, it can help brands market and sell their products by promoting them on the profile page’s product showcase tabs. Aside from these three, other TikTok shopping ad units that are widely used, such as

  1. Spark Ads – Creating native content is designed to scale engagement and draw in quality users. Spark Ads lets brands reuse other content creators’ most successful videos to ensure more users see them.
  2. In-Feed Ads – 60 secs ads with CTAs of choice placed in potential buyers on For You page

Related article: TikTok Shopping Ads: Advertisers’ Solution to Creating Meaningful Digital Shopping Experience |A Guide on How to Set Up TikTok Product Catalog

YouTube Video Action Campaign

YouTube Video Action Campaign

Video action campaigns offer a simple way to drive more conversions on and off YouTube. It uses different formats such as

  1. Skippable in-stream- The video plays before, during, or after other videos. After 5 seconds, the viewer has an option to skip the ad.
  2. In-feed video formats– It engagingly presents the video, inviting viewers to click, watch, and share through a thumbnail. In-feed video ads are delivered on YouTube search results, YouTube’s mobile homepage, and alongside related YouTube videos.
  3. Non-skippable in-stream ads- Unlike skippable, the ad is 15 secs (or longer) and plays before, during, or after other videos, and viewers can’t skip it.
  4. Bumper ads- Like Non-skippable, viewers can’t skip the ad that is 5 seconds (or shorter) and play before, during, or after another video.

YouTube is scaling its Video Action Campaigns and App campaigns to YouTube Shorts.Moreover, advertisers can utilize Google Shopping Ads that include Shopping Ads, Performance Max, and Shopping cards for YouTube. 

Related article: YouTube Makes Ads on Connected TV More Shoppable |YouTube Product Feed On Video Action Campaign: A Step-by-step Guide

Meta Shopping Ads

Facebook Shops is a collection of online shopping features that the social platform has released over the years, including:

  1. Meta Advantage+ catalog- (previously known as Dynamic Ads) Automatically promote the entire product catalog to visitors without creating multiple individual ad sets.
  2. Collection Ads– The ad includes cover images or videos with multiple products shown underneath that can be browsed instantly once the ad is clicked.
  3. Collaborative Ads– It drives traffic or sales of the products on a partner’s website or app. Collaborative Ads connect brands that sell directly to consumers with retailers and merchants. The brand’s partner shares a portion of their catalog called a catalog segment.

Related article: Marketers’ guide to Meta ad specs | Sell More with Facebook Shops: Guide to Get Started

Table of Comparison: YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok Shopping Ads

While the holiday keeps everyone busy, it is an excellent opportunity for brands to keep consumers informed and engaged. Top social advertising networks, Meta, YouTube, and TikTok, have released a new set of advertising tools before the holiday shopping season to help advertisers better connect with consumers.

FAQsYouTube (VAC)Facebook (Catalog Ads)TikTok Spark Ads
What are the targeting options?1. Content Keywords
2. Topics
3. Placement Display expansion for search
1. Core audiences
2. Custom Audiences
3. Lookalike audiences
1. Audience targeting
2. Demographic targeting
3. Interests and behavior targeting
4. TikTok Smart Targeting
Does it need a Pixel?YesYesYes and No  
Does it need a catalog?YesYesYes
Can I promote organic posts?YesYesYes
Can you preview ads before posting?YesYesYes
Is it possible to make it a dark post?YesYes Yes through Spark Ads
What are the e-commerce partners?1. BigCommerce
2. Magento
3. PrestaShop
1. BigCommerce
2. Channeladvisor
3. Datacacique
4. Quipt
5. Salsify
6. Shopify
7. Zentail
8. Auctiva
​1. BigCommerce
2. Ecwid​Square
3. PrestaShop
4. WooCommerce
Can it use UGC to promote Shops?Yes. Google ShoppingYes. Commerce ManagerYes through Spark Ads
Can I sync products that have multiple SKUs?Yes  supports multi-variant itemsYes supports multi-variant itemsYes  supports multi-variant items
Can I drive ads towards Shopping Partner Integration?Yes  through Google Merchant CenterYes through Collaborative AdsYes through TikTok Shopping
Can I change the audience I’m targeting after I publish my ad?YesYes, except for image, text, and videoNo, you can’t change the targeting setting

​​With inflation at the forefront of many people’s minds, retailers and advertisers should consider pushing their holiday sales with early promotions. An always-on campaign running throughout the holiday shopping season and a shopping ad solution can yield significant results. This allows brands to remain in front of many consumers, including early, traditional, and late buyers.

Top social networks have released new tools and updates ahead of the holiday season, just in time for media buyers to familiarize themselves and understand how they can help them create a more meaningful advertising experience for their customers. 

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