How does the winter period affect a portrait photographer’s paid Facebook Advertising?

Winter is coming and if it’s anything like 2022, you might want to brace yourself. With homes needing heating, the cost of living at a high, and everyone competing for ad space you will likely see an increase in your cost-per-lead (CPL) and cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM). 

Does this mean you shouldn’t advertise over the winter? Is there an easy solution to increasing costs, both to you as an advertiser and to your clients who are paying more just to keep the house warm?

In this blog, we’ve put together our thoughts on why we’ll see an increase in our marketing spend, remind you of some best practices to make sure your ads are the best they can be, and we’ll look at different options for advertising if you’re worried it’s getting too much.

Pumpkin Spiced Lattes at the ready, let’s jump in!


Why do Facebook Ads become more expensive for studio and portrait photographers in Winter?

Facebook Advertising always becomes more expensive for everyone this time of year and the reason is Christmas. It usually kicks off around Amazon Prime Day and continues until Christmas and a few weeks after.

Advertisers often have special offers during the run-up to Christmas. An increase in advertisers means that our ads have to work harder to compete for the advertising space. People love a bargain and sadly that’s not what high-end portrait photographers are about, so sadly your offering can look dire compared to what’s out there, putting you at a disadvantage.

Not only do we have the increase in Christmas offers, but Friday 24th of November we’ll have Black Friday and Cyber Monday to compete with. Often retailers start advertising for this weeks in advance. If you’re planning to run ads on the Black Friday weekend, be extra vigilant. Have the Meta Ads app on hand to monitor and switch off if things don’t work out.


Does the average customer spend drop over the winter period?

We asked some of our photographers and nobody gave us a resounding yes.

We haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that people spend less on their portrait sessions during the winter months. You might think that households may spend less with the cost of living and huge lists for Santa, however, your experience reminds them of what’s most important – their family.

Ultimately, the answer to this question comes down to the photographer, the quality of the lead, and the process you take them through from pre-consultations right up to the sale.


How can a studio photographer combat the rise in costs for Facebook Advertising?

Raise your marketing budget by 20%

Facebook recommends increasing your marketing budget by 20%, so if you’re spending £1000 per month, raise it to £1200. I really don’t like suggesting this to clients but unfortunately, it’s just something we have to do.


Embrace the season with your own seasonal offer

We don’t want to tell you to sell out or undervalue your work and you don’t have to because this time of year is all about families spending time together. We’ve talked about the two most important parts of your ads before, the ad image and your offering. If you can make an ad image compelling enough to stop someone scrolling, and if you can create an offer that reminds them of the importance of family and how a portrait session is a perfect opportunity to get together, then you could be in for a winning campaign with some high-quality leads.

Make sure to test lots of different ad images to see which ones grab the most attention. Also continue to use campaigns that you already know work because, during a time when new ads are popping up everywhere, some consistency might help consumers pick you out of a sea of unknown ads.


Try other types of campaigns

If you’re happy with your level of bookings throughout winter you could use the time to run traffic ads or awareness ads. You won’t be measuring leads through these as such, but instead, you will be continuing to get your business and brand out there, usually at a cheaper cost.

So, if you don’t necessarily need the leads for winter, you could try and be present at the very least and return to lead ads once the holidays are over.


Here’s just a quick rundown of how you could use different campaign types…


Traffic Campaigns for portrait photographers

Traffic campaigns can be a cheaper way to get traffic to your website, therefore, if you choose to go down this route, winter might be a great opportunity for you to build up an audience to retarget after the festive period is over.


Awareness Campaigns for portrait photographers

During this period you could also task yourself with producing lots of visual content. Videos are a great format for awareness campaigns.

This type of campaign puts your content in front of people who are more likely to remember them. These campaigns are awesome at building trust so when you come out the other side and start lead generation again, there’s always a chance you see an improvement in ad performance and conversion rates.


Final thoughts from The Lead Source team

Hopefully, we haven’t caused too much panic.

Just know that you are likely to see the cost of your advertising go up due to the increase in seasonal advertising. If you see a dramatic rise, take a breather, and have a good think about how your ads look and at how amazing your offer is – will they stand above the mass of other ads?

Remember, this is the time of year when families recognise the importance of having each other and there’s no better way to celebrate their connections than with a portrait experience.

If you’re stuck and need some help, feel free to reach out at