The holiday season is officially here! Stores were decking the halls with Christmas decorations while the kids were still out trick-or-treating. Thanksgiving-related holiday ads started flooding our inboxes the second the clock struck 12:01 am on November 1st.
The festive season is one of significantly LOUD online noise. It seems like the whole world is sending ads and running specials at the same time. Everyone is competing for who will grab enough attention to make consumers part with their hard-earned cash. What’s the best way to make sure your business doesn’t get lost in the crowd? Get your holiday PPC campaigns are ready to break through.
We’ll show you how.
Prepping for Rockin’ PPC Ads
Everyone’s been telling you to start “gearing up” for the holiday season for months now; if you haven’t gotten the message, now is your final chance. Even if the holidays aren’t your focus, you can still get involved – you just need to do it RIGHT NOW. Let’s start by taking a look at what you need to have in place to make it all work.
You should already have a keyword list in place for SEO purposes. Take some time to go through it to make sure it is completely up to date. If needed, add some new products or services specially geared towards the holiday season. Pause older campaigns, or at least remove outdated terms if they’re no longer relevant. Cleaning up your list ensures you don’t waste time (and dollars) on badly-matched keywords at this critical time of year.
Have your design team get together to ensure your ad copy (or related creatives) are on point. Check, double check, and triple-check what you’re putting out into the world this season. Above all else, please don’t be that guy — the one we’re all talking about in the break room because someone targeted an inappropriate ad towards children or let an ad with a racist undertone hit the market.
Take a look at past years; how has bidding changed? Take steps to prepare or increase your budget to compensate where necessary. Ads are useless if they never reach your target audience, so it’s okay to invest a bit of money into the season because you are focusing on getting that return.
Tips for Optimizing Your Holiday PPC Campaigns
Your keywords are on point, your ad creatives are ready, and you know your budget (or at least have enough flexibility to extend it). Now what? It’s time to tweak and optimize to ensure success.
Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?
This should be a given in 2018, but a few businesses are still behind the eight ball on this one. More than half of the searches done on Google today will come in from a mobile device. You will lose out on sales if someone who lands on your website from a mobile device can’t read your text and/or needs to zoom your pages to see them. It’s annoying, frustrating, and maddening when shopping. An outdated site also takes away some of your trustworthiness and credibility.
Did You Incorporate Holiday Keywords?
We discussed going over your keyword list, but have you adjusted some of your most popular keywords to make them more relevant for the season?
For example, if you usually target “gifts” you may need to adjust to target “best holiday gifts.” If you usually promote “movies,” you should be adding keywords that promote “Christmas movies” to your campaigns. These little holiday distinctions will make a big difference to your traffic.
Create a Spending Calendar
No two days are alike, and this is especially true during the holiday season. There are very distinct behavioral patterns that dictate which days of the month are more popular for shoppers. While patterns tend to stay stable from January through October, you’ll see distinct changes in November and December.
During November, you’ll see a spike in sales near the end of the month (especially Thanksgiving weekend). In December, you’ll see higher sales at the beginning of the month. The numbers start to taper down the closer you get to the actual holidays.
To beat the heat, plan ahead. Create a monthly bid schedule with your budget allocated differently for hotbed days. This one tiny move can actually improve your conversions.
Incorporate Facebook into Your Strategy
A lot of people think of PPC and immediately jump to AdWords. Facebook isn’t a bad place to spend your marketing dollars, though — especially during the holiday season.
What makes it so great? Facebook offers a lot of different ad formats ranging from traditional arrangements to video and even lead generation ads. As with AdWords, you’ll need to have a clear plan and some great visual creatives to go with any campaign you run. Because it can be expensive, you should also be prepared to track it closely.
Remarketing, or retargeting, is crucial this time of year. You know what we’re talking about, right? You visit a website, and suddenly, you’re seeing ads for the product you were looking for everywhere you go. Twilight zone!
Actually, what’s happening here is a very common marketing phenomenon. It’s a product of websites using remarketing programs to make sure you don’t forget about the amazing products you saw before, in hopes that you’ll buy again. Businesses want to stay visible to you until you make a purchasing decision.
Remarketing is an especially important tool for recapturing shoppers who weren’t ready to buy at the time they were browsing. They’ll remember to come back to your website to make that final purchase, and they might even refer their friends, too.
Gmail Sponsored Promotions
Have you ever noticed sponsored ads/promotions at the top of your Gmail inbox? Were you tempted to click on one (be honest; you know you’ve at least thought about it…)? Believe it or not, this type of PPC campaign can be rather cost-effective. Studies show that Gmail users don’t necessarily find this type of ad to be intrusive, and they will often click on the emails to see what they’re about.
In this case, your ad name and preview text needs to be spot-on when it comes to creativity. People won’t see your full ad or visual creatives until they click through, which means you’re paying for them to open the emails. The same concepts apply in terms of keywords and targeting. People who have received organic emails with similar keywords will see your inbox ads.
Time might be running out, but you do have some time left to launch a holiday campaign if you haven’t already. Move quickly and get the ball rolling right now. Enjoy the holiday momentum, have fun and happy holidays!