How to budget for, optimise, and run flash sales

Flash sales can be a great tactic to liquidate last season’s stock, drive awareness of your business, attract new customers and create an uplift in traffic to your website.

Here are a few tips to make sure your flash sale is more Hot Deals and less Bargain Bin.

Why make use of flash sales?

Everybody loves a sale. With a bit of creative thinking, the use of sales can push undecided customers into making that purchase they have been holding out on. Sales can also generate more reach, creating widespread interest in your products or services.

A popular development in sales practice has been the idea of a themed flash sale. Limited-time offers and short-term sales can be an effective way to drive revenue, especially around prominent days in the marketing calendar. Think holiday seasons, nation-wide events, any time which is generally surrounded by festivities.

Optimising and running your flash sale

Most flash sales last for 24 hours or less. Therefore, the campaigns promoting them are also short-lived. Maximising performance within such narrow timeframes requires a different management approach to that applied to longer campaigns.

Bid manual, big high

The best set-up for your bidding and budget is to bid manually and bid high.

If you are promoting a flash sale, you will want to go after a high volume of impressions. The most effective way to get them is to enter a bid that will win as many auctions as possible.

In normal circumstances, automatic bidding generally helps you get the most out of a given budget. However, when considering a flash sale, to maximise delivery you should apply a bidding strategy that goes even higher than what Facebook recommends.

You also need to consider the timing of your flash sale. If it coincides with other popular sales events (e.g. Black Friday), automatic bidding can sometimes lag behind as more advertisers increase their manual bids. So be mindful of other events when you decide to launch your sale.

Lifetime vs daily budgets

For campaigns that run for less than 24 hours, Facebook recommends using a lifetime budget for the best results.

If you were to use a daily budget for a six-hour campaign, Facebook would not spend more than 25 per cent (i.e. 24 ÷ 6) of the budget you specified, so you have to take that into account.

More importantly, Facebook’s pacing algorithm (which optimises delivery to get the best results available for your budget) is not designed to optimise daily budgets for shorter periods.

Accelerated delivery

Keep in mind that Facebook’s pacing algorithm can take some time to calibrate itself in the beginning. Clearly not ideal if you want your campaign to start with a bang. In this case, you may want to enable Accelerated Delivery.

Doing so will disable the pacing algorithm altogether and enter you into as many auctions as possible. But while this improves delivery and helps to gather data, it can also drive up costs, perhaps even spending your entire budget before the campaign is over.

Priming your pixel beforehand

Consider announcing your sale at least two weeks prior. With this lead-in period, there is sufficient time to generate a buzz around the offer you are going to launch.

More importantly, it primes your pixel, which will put your product in front of people already interested in the sale. Through no extra cost to you, it will reduce CPA and increase ROAS. This is a very smart application of ad technology.

Don’t miss out on these golden sale opportunities, get your flash sale groove on and reap the results to get 2020 started with a bang!

Stephanie Fisher, Managing Director, Naked Media