#PPC and Display

Our Eight Wishes for a High-Performing Paid Campaign during the Holidays

It is no surprise that every retailer looks forward to the holidays. There are several marketing strategies you should put in place to maximize sales. For those who want to make the most of search marketing campaigns, simply raising the budget of all your campaigns isn’t recommended.

During this time of year, consumers change their search habits. Search volumes go up significantly, and users are much more likely to convert than usual. 
Therefore, there are several strategies you should put in place to optimize your campaigns and get a good return on investment. Make sure to add these 8 important elements to your “Christmas list” to beat the competition during this important time.

1. Create a Clear Account Strategy

A poorly structured account rarely delivers good results. A clear structure will not only make account management easier, but will allow you to optimize your account to perform at its full potential.

For a retailer with a high budget, the best practice is to create a dedicated account for this period. By doing this, you will be able to fully focus on its optimization. You can therefore avoid wasting time going through existing campaigns and/or influencing the overall performance of your existing account.
Each campaign should also be well-structured. The more granular your campaign design, the easier your campaigns will be to manage and optimize.

2.   Include Ad Extensions Across Campaigns

While account structure is the basis for good performance, there are several other ways to optimize your ads. The Adwords platform offers a multitude of ad extensions that will give you more information about users, and take up more space in the search results. This will allow you to raise your click-through rate.

Among the available extensions, we strongly recommend that you add, at a minimum, the “sitelinks” extension, which allows you to link to other pages on your site. You should also consider adding the “callout” extension to show the advantages of your product. According to the type of retailer you are, it is then possible to add various others:

  • Call extension: Allows users to call the store directly.
  • Location extension: Gives users the address of their closest store.
  • Review extension: Add a third-party review of your product.

Finally, a new Adwords function provides you with extensions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. By selecting this option among the dynamic “structured snippets”, it is possible to add promotional offers for each of these days.

These extensions can be added at the ad group, campaign or account level. We recommend using them at the ad group level. By giving as much information as possible about the product, you can demonstrate the ad’s relevance to the user’s search, raising the likelihood of conversion. 

3. Create Ads that Update in Real-Time

With the goal of optimizing ads and simplifying their management, it is possible to automate their content. While we can use this tool in various ways, the most interesting for this time of year is the countdown. A retailer who wants to, for example, offer a discount for a product launch can include the number of days before the launch in their ad, without having to modify it daily.

This can also create a sense of urgency in users, encouraging them to click on the ad.

4.   Use High-Performance Landing Pages

Optimizing ads allows you to increase traffic for various products, but you must have high-performance landing pages. Each landing page that you choose should be as relevant as possible to the keyword and the ad. This allows you to have a greater overall relevance. The greater the relevance, the lower your bidding price.

A page corresponding to the user’s search will also reduce the bounce rate and increase the conversion rate. Finally, the destination page should include clear and visible calls-to-action. Everything should be designed to increase the user’s intention to buy: the mention of a limited-time offer or of competitive advantages, for example. 

5. Rigorously Track Your Conversions

It is important to follow the progress of your conversions and your return on investment throughout the year, but it is doubly important to do it during the holidays. Once your campaigns have been well-structured, it is important to make sure that your conversion and ROAS (return on ad spend) tracking is in-place and functional. If your conversion tracking is poorly implemented, we risk not having the revenue generated from all products, which will falsify your results.

The profitability of your products will also vary day by day. It is therefore important to frequently verify the viability of each product. You must be able to react rapidly and add more or less budget to your various products and campaigns.

6. Adjust Your Bids Regularly

Flexible bidding strategies are an excellent way of optimizing your bidding automatically, without having to do it manually. Nevertheless, we recommend that you pause these strategies during the holiday season, as this period is very different from the rest of the year.

Considering the drastic increase in the number of clicks, it would be disadvantageous for the entire account if these days were factored into the calculation algorithm for the flexible bidding strategies. We recommend basing your bidding strategy on the viability of your products. It is important to remember that profitability is different for each product, and that you should consider each of them separately. Your bids should then be adjusted accordingly. You should never gamble on the profitability of a product. 

However, it is also possible to adjust your bids according to other factors. Are users converting better on mobile devices, or at certain times of day? You could thus adjust your bids according to consumer behaviour. 

7.   Use Remarketing in Various Ways

Remarketing campaigns allow you to target users that have already visited your website. Various strategies can be put in place in order to adapt your ads’ message to the type of user and their search. 

For visitors who have already made a purchase on the site, it would be interesting to adapt the message so they will be tempted to buy new products. For visitors who have only visited the site without making a purchase, it would be more relevant to show the various discounts and promotions. Finally, it is possible to use remarketing to gain an advantage over your competitors. Take, for example, a user who has looked at your site and has then searched for a product, but with a mention of a competitor. When retargeting them, you can personalize the message in order to highlight all the competitive advantages of your company. The effect will be an increase in the click-through rate and decrease in the bidding price.  

Remarketing requires implementing a pixel throughout your site. You should make sure that everything is in place before the start of your campaign.

8.   Create “Shopping” and “Product Listing Ads” Campaigns

We recommend that every retailer take advantage of Google Shopping campaigns. By adding products directly to the search engine results, we can assure maximum visibility. It is important to verify that the products you want to promote are well-implemented in the Products Feed. This takes time to implement and update, so you might easily find yourself in the holiday season with missing products.

The rules to respect when creating this type of campaign are more or less the same as the ones that have been previously mentioned. You should create a new structure and adjust your ads and bidding for the holiday season.

In conclusion, you must be proactive and prepare your campaigns well before the holidays. It is also important to be reactive every day, according to the campaigns’ performance. If you have a limited budget, you should invest time in the campaigns generating the greatest ROI. If you have more to spend, you would be better off investing aggressively in the highest performing keywords.

This article was originally written by Alexandre Cloutier.