Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are words that are pretty much music to the ears of many online business owners. Conversion rates go up, sales go up as consumers spend more money on gifts and other items during the holidays. With online advertising and sales reaching an all-time high in popularity during the season, you are left with no choice but to up your game as an Ecommerce marketer to ensure that you not only get customers interested in your products, but also get them to act on that interest. Below are 10 PPC tips on how you can make the most of your AdWords account to drive sales through the roof this holiday season.
Ten Huge PPC Tips For The Holidays
- Analyze Metrics From Previous Holiday Seasons
If you’ve got the data, use it. Often, the best way to move forward is by looking back. If you have been marketing your business online for a long time, you probably have data from previous holiday seasons. This information can come in super handy while planning for a new season. One of the most important things to look out for is peak traffic days and times. This allows you to identify the best times to adjust bids to maximize your ROI. Take a look at the below chart taken from billions of sessions from millions of Google Analytics accounts. This may correspond with your peak times (although there is variance depending on the types of products you offer).
This chart shows when transactions occur at higher than average rates during the holiday period. This is when you will likely want to bid and spend more.
Does your data match? If not, maybe you are doing something wrong. It’s possible your business is a little different, as mentioned, but you can use the above chart and your account data to allow you to identify mistakes from the past and learn from them. If you are new to online marketing during the holidays, also check out the Google Trends search tool to see when search interest goes up for some of your keywords. You may also be in one of those businesses that sees spikes after New Year’s because of New Year’s resolutions (lose weight, recycle more, etc…)
- Get Mobile Friendly…Now!
Don’t put this off any longer. Your ads and landing pages should be compatible with all devices. Mobile and tablet traffic and purchases have increased significantly over the last several years. We’ve seen all too many sites struggle with sales during the holidays because they haven’t invested in making their sites mobile friendly. Consider if you had a 1,000 visitors which get you 50 sales. These days, you might see 25 of those sales now coming from mobile devices if your site is mobile friendly. If it’s not, what happens to those 25 sales? What happens to your conversion rates if suddenly the 1,000 visitors is only bringing in 25 sales? If you are not optimized for mobile, your competition most likely is. Get to work. Get on it now. Consumers are much more comfortable purchasing online via their phones than just a few years ago, and it’s only going to grow.
- New Season, New Campaign
Be relevant with your ad campaigns. Sure, you can expect to get results during the holiday season with the same old ads you have been using all year. But chances are you’ve probably planned a holiday sale of some type on your site. Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Last-Minute Free Shipping? Whatever you wrap your holiday sales around, bring that into your PPC ads. But The countdown to holiday sales If your holiday Ecommerce venture is to bear fruits, you won’t need to restructure your entire account. Just set up a separate holiday campaign for every season and turn them on as needed. These might include AdWords Countdown features in your ad copy. These ad customizers allow for your ad copy to automatically change as the end of the sales near: “Only 2 Days left!”…”Only 1 Day left!” This sense of urgency helps conversion rates and can be customized every time you run a holiday sale.
Test giving your ads a holiday theme. Some products may not normally be thought of as gift purchases throughout the year. For example, if you deal in pond supply, perhaps you might try to market specific products as gifts for gardening enthusiasts in the warm states, instead of products for everyday use. Think outside the box and you might be able to take advantage of the holiday shopping season when you thought otherwise.
- Relevant Holiday Themed Landing Pages
If you’ve got a holiday sale, you want to bring people to a relevant page on your site. If there’s a disconnect from your ad copy to your site, consumer can bug out quickly. It doesn’t take much. A simple banner, slider or other graphic that might reflect the festive seasons and details on your sale. You don’t have to invest in a ton of time website redesigning to include holiday-themed graphics to maintain the mood the consumer landed on the site with. Relevancy increases the chances of having your clicks converted into sales. Always maintain that relevancy with your ad copy and web site.
- Look for Holiday Keyword Trends
In the above example of a pond supply company, it might be useful to do some keyword expansion to go along with the holiday theme. For instance, the keyword “gardening gift” has traffic spikes during the Christmas holiday season and also in May. There might be other less obvious variations to look into. Log into your AdWords account and look at the “exact search queries” for last year’s holiday season. Here you will find out exactly what people were searching for…maybe something pops up multiple times like “black friday gardening sale”. This might point out some trends of when those searches begin and keywords you need to specifically buy and speak to.
- Use Remarketing
This is a no brainer anytime of the year, but is especially important when the money is flowing. During the holidays, data shows that people spend a larger than normal amount of time online (in addition to a larger than normal amount of their hard-earned money). Remarketing is, therefore, a strategy that’s even more important for Ecommerce sites during the holiday season. As consumers research gifts, come to your site and leave to research other options, you can stay on top of mind by following them around the internet with your remarketing/retargeting ads — always just a click away for the moment they are finally ready to make that purchase. Win that moment.
- Include Special Offers and Discounts
We’ve talked about this some above. It seems like everyone has special offers and discounts during the holidays. Sometimes you can simply get “out promoed” if you aren’t offering something. Take a look at what your competition is doing. If you aren’t offering a discount and they are, chances our their ads are converting at a higher right. They also might be offering a larger percentage off on the same item or a dollar off promo that seems like it’s more. Take the time to look at the promos your competitors are up against.
This is also important if you offer some kind of promotion all year round. For some of our clients, we will look at the ad copy their competitors are running every month as it can affect our client’s results. We’ll even use tools to look back at what was being run during the previous holiday period. This gives us an edge to helping our client plan their PPC campaigns in the upcoming holidays. Include promotions for the holidays, but be smart about how you do it.
- Take a Deep Dive Into Your Holiday Spending
A nice thing about Ecommerce sites is that you don’t have to restrict your ad spend if the sales are coming at the target cost per acquisition you want. We have seen clients stick to rigid budgets, leaving profits on the table. Pay close attention to how this may affect your PPC accounts. What you don’t want to see is your ads coming offline because you’re maxing out on your daily budgets. Check your daily budget settings, open them up as needed. This is a basic mistake, but one we see all too often.
To help with this, as mentioned above, take time to look at your daily ad spend in previous years. Are there specific days when you ought to throttle up your bids to take advantage of higher conversion rates? The demand usually kicks in like clockwork as seen from the graphs above. Hitting that right on time can save you from wasting ad spend or not spending enough when the market dictates. So don’t get caught unprepared and losing sales because of some account settings.
- Google Shopping
If you aren’t running Google Shopping campaigns, what are you waiting for? We’ve seen great results for our Ecommerce clients. In fact, for some, these are their main campaigns. Yes, there’s often a lot to setting up a datafeed and the optimization strategies can be quite different than regular search, but it’s worth it. Datafeeds are certainly tricky. If you’ve built a custom site with custom programming, you may have more work cut out for you trying to get just a few products live in Google Shopping than a site with thousands of products built on a more robust framework. For Ecommerce sites, not running a Google Shopping campaign is like having dead air on radio. Make sure you’re coming up when people are tuning in at a high rate during the holiday season.
- Get a Head Start
The final PPC tip for businesses during the coming holiday is to get a head start. Do not wait until shoppers are already in a festive mood to start your holiday theme. Get started on campaigns and website modifications as soon as you can. If your a DIY type and find that you’re putting things off all the time, it’s time to consider getting some outside help that can pay for itself. As an agency, we know that your time is precious. We can help you make the changes needed while you handle the day-to-day business and heavy loads that come with the holidays. Sometimes it’s also good to get some perspective from those of us who have seen and worked with ecommerce websites from all industries and also know all the latest AdWords tactics for regular PPC campaigns and shopping campaigns.
After all is said and done, the holidays will either be a season of reaping if you are smart about your business or a season of weeping if you slack. With the ten tips above, you will be on your way to more profitable AdWords and more lucrative returns. Make every single day this coming holiday season your very own Cyber Monday.