The Monday after Thanksgiving is Black Monday, the largest online shopping day of the year. In fact the two months before Christmas is often the peak selling time for many online businesses and U.S. shoppers are expected to spend 47% of their holiday gift budget shopping online. Are you using Google AdWords effectively so you can take advantage of this peak selling time? Here are some tips from experts at Google AdWords and MarketMotive on how to take advantage of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search advertising during the Holidays.
- Searches Spike in December: Well, they do for many consumer products but double check Google Trends and see when your keywords go up or spike in Google Search. If they peek in December be prepared to take advantage of the extra searches for your product and services.
- Holiday Related Keyword Phrases: Your keywords may get more searches during the holidays when combined with holiday related words. For example searches for shoes are pretty steady all year long but “gift shoes” spikes every December. Here are some other “Holiday” keywords that go up in December that you can combine with your normal keywords:
- Double Check Negative Keywords: Many PPC campaigns include words they do not want to rank for. An example would be the word “Free.” If you are selling shoes you do not want to show up for someone searching for “Free Shoes” so you would make “Free” a negative keyword. But during the holidays that all changes because you want to show up for a search for “Shoes Free Shipping.” Double check your negative keywords because you may want to turn them off during the holidays.
- Holiday Keywords: People are looking for gift ideas so consider keywords and phrases such as “Gifts under $20,” “Christmas Gifts for Dad,” or “Shoes for Mom” .
- Appeal to Buyer NOT User: During the Holidays people are buying for others so promoting in your ads or landing pages the advantages for the user will not work. Appeal to the buyer with benefits they need such as, “Free Shipping,” “Gift Wrapping,” “Discount,” or “Personalized Cards”.
- Urgency in Ad: Nothing is worse than a gift that arrives late, give deadlines in your ad and in your landing pages. “Oder by Dec 22 for Guaranteed Delivery”.
- Free Shipping: This has a higher conversion than discounts. People like free shipping.
- Landing Page Conforms to Ad: This is just a good idea anytime of the year but really be sure that the ad and the landing page match.
- Holiday Gift Buying Guide: People are looking for ideas during the holidays and may not know what they want. Give them a break and suggest gift ideas. This is where you can have a landing page featuring “Christmas Gifts for Dad,” or “Gifts for under $20.”
- Cost-Per-Click & Bids Increase: CPC and bids increase during the holidays but so do conversion rates so your Cost-Per-Acquisition should stay the same. Plan on raising your bids to stay competitive. If you don’t have historical data from last year keep a close watch on your ads and the daily CPC.
- Use the Conversion Optimizer: If you have your Google AdWords account set up to track conversion then take the guess work out of the daily bids and use the Conversion Optimizer. At this time of the year conversions and sales are more important than clicks.
- Use Ad Rotation: During peak traffic times it is more important to be using ads that convert so if you are using the ad rotation tool set it to “Optimize for Conversions.”
- Display Networks: Many people think of the Google’s Display Network, those image ads you see on websites, as being more important for impressions than conversions. It is true that during the Holidays 53% of conversions come from search ads but 18% come from display ads. Not too bad so take conversions where ever you can.
- Holiday Themed Display Ads: Use Google’s Display Ad Builder and their pre-created Holiday themes to make a Holiday ad in just minutes and you don’t even need a graphic artist.
- Remarket to past customers: This is an often little used tool in Google AdWords that will send targeted ads to individuals who have been on your website. There is not enough space here to go into the details but this is something you need to set up months in advance. The basic idea is someone who has visited or shopped on your site before will get a targeted ad based on their past behavior when they do keyword searches related to your site. It is really cool and you need to check it out. Set it up now and be ready for next year.
- Mobile Search: People are on the move so do not ignore mobile search. People search for different things on their mobile phones and use different keywords, usually shorter, so use the Google Keyword tools to search for the best mobile keywords.
- Location Extensions: This will link any Google search to your Google Location account with a Google map. When someone is driving around town looking for a last minute gift, giving them directions to your store is always a plus.
- After Holiday Sales: A lot of people shop after the holidays and you can have your ads ready as soon it’s the day after Christmas.
- People Travel for the Holidays: You may guarantee delivery by the 24th but your customer is going to be on a plane to Grandma’s house on the 22nd. If you are giving shipping information give them more specific delivery dates and options.
- Good Enough Gifts: The closer shoppers get to the holidays “the best” gift is less important than a “good enough gift.” Use your Holiday Gift Buying Guide to promote those gifts that are still in your warehouse and could fill someone’s last minute needs. A $20 gift for Dad can cover a number of products from a cuff link to a pocket knife.
Remember that people’s motives and their online shopping behavior change during the holiday season. They are not buying for themselves so their motives and timing will be different during this time of year. Think about your keywords and what your buyer is looking for. Free shipping may be more important than color selection. Reassure early shoppers and let them know that the gift they buy in the middle of November can be returned after the holidays. As typical for this time of year there is so much to do, I didn’t even get a chance to talk about video ads. Your customers have a lot to do to so make it easy to find you by reexamining your keywords and making it easy to find and buy the gift they need. If you have thought about Google AdWords and would like to give it a try, contact me. I still have some special coupons for first time users where you will get an additional $100 of free Google AdWordsif you spend $25 But the coupons are only good through the end of December so don’t wait.
If you have more ideas for taking advantage of the spike in December’s web searches let me know below.