As big box stores monopolize Black Friday and Amazon takes over Cyber Monday, sandwiched in between them, Small Business Saturday is the time when neighborhood mom-and-pop shops can drive holiday sales.
Small Business Saturday celebrates its 13th anniversary this year, and marketers are already preparing to launch ads that cut through the noise and promote deals on their specialty products.
To help, we dove into Taboola Trends to pick out the tactics you must adopt to build more successful Small Business Saturday ad creatives for beauty, business, fashion, home, and health and fitness brands.
Here’s your guide to supercharging your Small Business Saturday marketing campaigns.
Understand the importance of Small Business Saturday
American Express started Small Business Saturday in 2010 in an effort to support small businesses and local shops through the recession. It is now a nationally recognized event with significant returns.
Last year on Small Business Saturday, U.S. shoppers spent a high of $23.3 billion at independent stores — an 18% increase from $19.8 billion in 2020. Sixty-four percent also made it a priority to shop at businesses owned by people of underrepresented communities, and 66% said Small Business Saturday inspires them to shop small beyond the holiday and throughout the year.
Additionally, the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that a whopping 51 million shoppers made purchases in store and 56 million made them online during the 2021 event. Meanwhile 71% of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers said they were shopping specifically to support independent businesses on Small Business Saturday.
Evidently, small business marketers have a major opportunity to reach community members and specialty shoppers with engaging ads that drive sales and foot traffic for the holiday.
Plan your Small Business Saturday marketing strategy
Just as you would prepare a marketing strategy for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you must have a solid game plan in place for reaching consumers on Small Business Saturday.
Here are a few steps you can take to fuel your campaigns:
- Promote special deals and offers – With prices rising and a recession looming, shoppers will be looking for sales and discounts. In fact, 40% of consumers say inflation will impact their holiday shopping. Help customers find great gifts for less with special promotions.
- Focus on convenience – Supply chain issues continue to impact shipping and accessibility, which can put a damper on holiday plans. Ease customers’ concerns by providing convenient perks like free shipping, in-store pickup, and updates on product inventory.
- Partner with neighborhood shops – You’re not in this alone. Create joint marketing efforts and cross-promotions with fellow small businesses in your area. Keep customers discovering new holiday deals in your area .
Marketers can also visit the Small Business Saturday website to access helpful resources provided by American Express.
Build engaging Small Business Saturday ad creatives
Once you have your Small Business Saturday marketing strategy, you need the right images and keywords to help execute it.
Here are data-backed insights, pulled from Taboola Trends on October 31st, for building effective Small Business Saturday ads across a range of verticals:
Beauty marketers can increase clickthrough rates (CTR) by including people (+36%), no text (+21%), and indoor scenes (+16%) in their images.
Skincare brand Unsun Cosmetics, for example, fills its Instagram feed with many bright, eye-catching images of people without text:
It’s also important to pair eye-catching visuals with clickable keywords. In the beauty industry, keywords such as ‘switch,’ ‘internet,’ and ‘invent’ are trending, while keywords such as ‘relevant,’ ‘default,’ and ‘title’ can decrease CTR due to heavy competition.
When it comes to creating copy, you can also use theTaboola Title Analyzer to find the best-performing headlines for your ads. Among these three beauty campaign titles, for example, we can see that “The Most Popular Hairstyles This Holiday Season” will drive the highest-predicted CTR.
Taking these insights into account, here’s what a Small Business Saturday ad campaign might look like for a beauty brand:
Business marketers should consider using images with close-up perspectives, animals, color, and food for increased CTR.
Last winter, for instance Cash App showed its love for animals on social media by inviting others to share their posts with #CashAppInWild:
Meanwhile, keywords such as ‘financial’ and ‘bank’ drive engagement, but keywords such as ‘clients’ and ‘caregivers’ can decrease CTR.
Now let’s see how some of these keywords work in the Title Analyzer:
Evidently, “Experts Warn a Recession is Coming. How Can You Prepare? ” has the greatest chance of driving clicks among these options. (On a related note, check out our top creative strategies for advertising during a recession.)
Using some of these trends, here’s an example of a full-funnel business campaign for the season:
Fashion ads shouldn’t just include, well, fashion. They also benefit from the addition of close-ups, food, indoor scenes, and animals. Plus, it’s best to keep text out of those fashion ad images for increased CTR.
Just look how small fashion brand The Frankie Shop fills itsblog with glossy, close-up photos of women:
When crafting Small Business Saturday headlines and captions for fashion brands, try keywords such as ‘women’ and ‘hack’ but stay away from terms such as ‘identity’ and ‘card.’
Over on the Taboola Title Analyzer, here’s a look at how you might build headlines with these keywords. The winner? “7 Holiday Hacks Women Need to Know.”
Fashion marketers can reach Small Business Saturday consumers across the marketing funnel with campaigns like this:
While food is enticing, it’s not the only visual that gets consumers clicking. Food marketers can also use close-ups, outdoor scenes, and black-and-white photos to grab people’s attention.
Oat milk brand Willa’s, for example, share recipes on itswebsite along with many close-up, outdoor photos of enticing foods:
Fittingly, keywords such as ‘dinner’ and ‘tasty’ can also drive clicks, but be careful to avoid keywords such as ‘meal’ and ‘kitchen.’
According to the Title Analyzer, a headline like “Christmas Dinner Is Easy with These Kitchen Hacks” can drive a high-predicted CTR:
Still stumped on where to start? Use this food campaign example to guide you:
Health and fitness
If you’ve seen plenty of those black-and-white images of muscly athletes working out, you’re not alone. Health and fitness brands use them because they’re effective. Images in this category can also be created with text, animals, and indoor scenes.
The Gymaholic Fitness App, for instance, often uses black-and-white imagery, including text-based posts of inspiration and motivation:
It’s no surprise that strong keywords for health and fitness include terms such as ‘sugar,’ ‘blood,’ and ‘eat.’ Just stay away from keywords like ‘progression’ and ‘seniors’ since competition is tough.
As the Title Analyzer shows, you might try a headline like “10 Free Fitness Apps to Stay in Shape This Season” to drive clicks and engagement with your campaigns:
Still need some inspiration to guide you? Check out this example of a sponsored content health and fitness campaign
HomeHome brands may encourage holiday shoppers to buy home-related gifts or to find the right decor for holiday parties. Whatever path they choose, it’s best to build images with food, animals, text, and color to drive clicks.
Furniture brand Burrow, for instance, often includes animals, food, and text in its images:
For maximum engagement with headlines, home decor and design brands might also incorporate click-worthy keywords such as ‘easiest,’ ‘house,’ and ‘ways’ but steer clear of keywords like ‘attention’ and ‘fabrics.’
Now, it may not be glamorous but the data has spoken. So if you’re looking to drive clicks, you might use a headline like “.”
This example of a home-related campaign provides some inspiration:
Include Video Ads That Get Viewers Hooked
If you’re creating video content for your Small Business Saturday marketing campaign, there are a few best practices you can use to increase engagement and, specifically, completion rates.
Across verticals, the biggest rule of video is to incorporate action and movement. Completion rates can increase by including activities such as eating, traveling, and sleeping (yes, that is a very valid activity.)
It’s also helpful to build winter landscapes into your videos, along with food and black-and-white shots to keep viewers glued to your content. On the other hand, you might try excluding people, text, and animals to increase those completion rates.
Go big this Small Business Saturday
You may inspire consumers to “shop small,” but you can still earn big with your Small Business Saturday marketing campaigns. Especially now that shoppers are looking for special offers and accessibility, independent businesses have an opportunity to provide personalized, community-driven experiences that drive revenue.
Just remember to use these data-backed tips in building your ad creatives and visit Taboola Trends for real-time insights across brand verticals and content formats. You can also check out our 2022 holiday advertiser insights and top-performing creative strategies to guide your seasonal campaigns.