#Paid Search - PPC #Digital Marketing #Commerce

Planning for a PPC Christmas

The end of 2017 is just around the corner and for most marketers the busiest period is yet to come. The Holiday Season brings so much happiness and joy to those all around the world, but for marketers it can sometimes feel like Santa’s little helpers working tirelessly to meet Christmas deadlines. With more products to use, more demanding customers and more data to crunch through than ever, knowing where to focus your efforts can sometimes be overwhelming.

But have no fear, we’ll give you some focus to ensure your Paid Search accounts deliver you the results you need this Holiday Season.

What can we learn from last year?

For most advertisers, 2016’s holiday season was the most wonderful time of the year. Big companies saw record growth off the back of events like Black Friday with retailers such as John Lewis , M&S  and others posting record breaking sales during the last holiday season.

However, the dynamics of the season for 2017 have (and continue) to change. For example, Black Friday saw consumer spending reach over £1.1bn but 61% bought for themselves over others. According to Google, 79% still have to buy presents with less than 10 days before Christmas and £800m was spent on Christmas Day itself. Why is this happening?

Mobile continues to change the game. 70% of Google users searched on their phone before making a purchase in a store. However, 4 out of 5 shoppers are choosing to shop online with Click & Collect usage increasing YoY (+26%). 

So what do you need to focus on this year?

Key dates to remember

  • 24th November - Black Friday
  • 27th November - Cyber Monday
  • 4th December – Manic Monday
  • 11th December – Green Monday
  • 15th December – Last week for Christmas Deliveries
  • 26th December – Boxing Day

Understand search ‘Signals of Intent’ and have a Moment Marketing strategy

When you are optimising, hum the Bryan Adams classic ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’. Why? It reminds you that everything you do in Paid Search should be targeting your target market, your ‘People’. It’s easy to forget looking at the numbers that people drive those clicks and conversion. If your performance isn’t achieving what you thought it was, it’s because your activity isn’t relevant or targeted enough to those people.

Do you have an audience strategy? What device bid adjustments are you using? Are you targeting the right locations? What automation are you using to make smarter decisions? Let the data make the decisions and answer these questions:

- Who do I want to target (more/less aggressively)?

  • Is it Returning Visitors (use Remarketing Lists, Customer Match and/or Google Analytics)
  • Is it New Visitors (exclude Returning Visitors or use Similar Audiences)
  • Do you have your own CRM data to target customers?
  • Is it a mixture of all of the above?

- What message do I need to show these audiences?

  • A new visitor to your website doesn’t behave in the same way as a returning customer. Then why should they see the same message?
    Use IF Audiences to tailor your messaging to different audience types.

Device - Which device works for your activity?

  • Look at the data
  • Understand the differences between the devices; where does Mobile sit in the customer journey? How are you defining its effectiveness?
  • Which device should you bid more/less against?
  • Is your Mobile site speed up to scratch?

Location - Which locations work for your activity?

  • Look at the data
  • Understand where you should be focusing your efforts to make your budget work harder during this busy time of the year
  • Which location should you bid more/less against?

 Automation - Are you unlocking Google’s powerful intent signals and cross-device data?

  • Check your campaign settings. Try different bidding strategies to make your budget more efficient in each and every auction

If you have an answer for each of the areas above then you are targeting the right people, on the right device, in the right place, at the right time. It’s making your activity hyper-relevant, to which Google should reward; as will your customers.

Now that you have your Moment Marketing strategy, it’s important that you are utilising new innovations to drive your account forward.

New products for the holiday season you should be using:

Amazon have just posted record growth through their advertising platforms. It’s seen +58% growth in its Ad Sales business ($1.12bn) YoY and this looks set to continue as they aim to eat up the advertising market.
Why is it gaining in popularity? Those who look on Amazon tend to be in-market and are therefore the customers most lucrative to most businesses to capture with their advertising spend. Advertisers can utilise their ad formats such as Sponsored Product Ads, Headline Search Ads and Product Display ads to target customer’s right at the point of purchase.

Showcase Shopping Ads
Google knows that a lot of customers know exactly what they are looking for, however 40% of searches are still broad such as “womens shoes”, “living room furniture” etc. There are two different audiences here; those that know what they want, and those who are looking for ideas as to what exactly they want. With this comes two different journeys to conversion; so again, why should they see the same ad?

Google has launched Showcase Shopping Ads to help target those customers higher up the path to purchase in the new Adwords experience.

 Use this ad format to showcase your products to customers and inspire them to purchase.

Dynamic Search Ads
Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) are an ideal way to find customers using your Website content to find customers with dynamically created and targeted ads DSA is a really useful tool to help find the gaps between your keyword strategies.
Google have had this available for a while, but now Bing have launched this in the UK and US.

You should be using this to make sure that your budget is working as hard as possible to find the customers that are searching for your products.

Understand the impact of online to offline
Store Visits
Shop Visit conversions allows you to measure how your ad clicks affect your store footfall . Google recently ran a study to show how Google Search and Shopping Ads can drive incremental store visits. Here’s what they found:

To get a deeper understanding of how your ad clicks impact your shop visits, you can use the following tips and tricks to gain the insight you need to make data driven decisions;

Overlay with a Timelag report
You can now find out how long it took a user to visit a store after they clicked on an ad. You can even segment this by device to help drive your decisions across your device strategy.

For example, you may see that those who click on a Paid Search Ad from Mobile typically visit your store within 1 day of the click. On the flip side, you may see this journey take longer on Desktop or Tablet dependent on your products and industry vertical.

Understand where a user was located and how far away they were after they clicked an ad and then visited a store
To help with your Location Strategy, you can use this report to understand the distance and location a user was when they searched and clicked on your ad and then visited your shop. This level of data could then help to dictate where you focus your budget to help drive more store visits.