The holiday season is upon us yet again! With Q4 just around the corner, the entire user acquisition industry is gearing up to fasten its seatbelts. The next few months are going to be hectic, fueled by an endless string of events in some of the most lucrative markets around the globe.

That said, those same markets are also some of the most competitive ones. And while most companies factor the increased levels of competition into their Q4 budgets, making the most of those dollars is still easier said than done.

There’s no one clear path to success. Yes, there are increases in downloads and value each user brings, but the cost of acquisition is higher as well. Many advertisers struggle to maintain the ROI they’re accustomed to throughout the year, not to mention scaling it.

At Bidalgo, we feel your pain. But with this being our 10th holiday season, there are a few tried and true ideas that help us get through these few months without missing a beat.

Improve Upper Funnel Metrics with Better Creatives

The better your creatives, the higher their relevance. This is especially important during the holidays, when relevance translates to better competitive positioning by channel algorithms, and usually to lower bid prices as well.

You can achieve this by starting to test holiday-themed creatives a bit earlier, understand the winners and iterate on them – with the biggest push for the best iterations saved for the holidays themselves.

Get The Right Mix of Images and Videos

All throughout the holiday season, we saw higher CTRs and lower CPMs for images, when compared to videos. While it’s often not feasible to use just images, you might want to change the balance a bit during Q4 in order to get the most bang for your buck.

 

Switch to Manual Bidding

When using Facebook and Snaptchat, the best way to control costs as CPMs rise during the holidays, is through manual bidding. If you’re heavily dependent on auto bidding, begin a gradual shift to manual as soon as possible, in order to keep your hand on the pulse during the next few months.

Diversify your Optimization Goals

Spread your activity between different targeting options to balance costs. This is mainly to not put all eggs in one basket. Each targeting option will have performance swings from week to week, or even from day to day, so make sure you have everything up and running to better balance the costs and performance between the different options.

Think Outside the US-Centric Box

We saw the biggest cost increases in the United States, as was expected. CPMs there were ~50% higher than the overall CPM. Looking at the gaming vertical in the US, there’s an increase MoM until last week of Dec, when prices start to climb down back to October levels.

To control their budgets, many advertisers drop their US activity during those crucial weeks. September to October saw 19% drop in activity, October to November saw 40%(!) drop, and November to December had an additional 5% drop.

These budgets often go to other countries, where the prices are lower and the competition isn’t as fierce. You should consider doing the same, and try to explore new opportunities in countries which usually aren’t on your radar.