You should be planning your PPC holiday marketing campaigns right now.
Seriously, the earlier the better. Many large brands have plans set a year in advance and begin constructing holiday season (October—December) campaigns in the summer.
The holiday season boasts the most lucrative quarter for many online businesses. Orders multiply and average order sizes increase during the holiday season. Notably, some online retailers make up to a third of their yearly revenue in the final quarter of the year.
Oracle, partnered with Edison Research, found that 76% of people surveyed used online means to do their holiday shopping in 2015:
Your business needs a strategy to ensure that you catch some of the increased online traffic and sales that the holiday season brings.
Creating effective strategies requires ample preparation time and critical thinking. Consider past performance, new promotions, and all of the individual holidays riddled throughout the season.
Holiday Season Online Customers Buy Early:
Your customers will appreciate your preparations as well. Shoppers use the internet to reduce their frantic last-minute shopping. In fact, Frederick Vallaeys, former Google employee & PPC champion, analyzing an SMX East panel, mentions that:
“25 percent of holiday shoppers started buying in October.”
“48 percent had completed most shopping by Cyber Monday last year.”
Sean Popen, senior director of Ecommerce at Office Depot, adds that, for his company,
“Cyber Monday was the biggest day in US online shopping in history last year.”
Preparing PPC Holiday Marketing Campaigns
People are doing their online shopping earlier, and you need to be able to reach them with your holiday season PPC when and where they’re searching for holiday deals.
Taking advantage of the holiday season with PPC requires a lot of work:
- Keywords and ad copy need to be created for every holiday, i.e., Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s, etc. For a more extensive list of holiday season shopping dates read our post here.
- Products offered only during the holiday season may need brand new ad groups to be advertised
- Searchers looking for vague holiday things such as “gifts for mom” or “presents for papi” may now be worth bidding on as you know they’re in the mood to buy despite their lack of knowledge of your products.
- To address the above vague searchers, businesses may want to create gift guide content that they’ll promote during the holiday season.
- Remarketing campaigns customized with holiday flare may be extra effective during the gift buying blitz, and thus need to be built and customized.
- Revamped landing pages with a bit of festive spirit
- Strategic targeting and bidding need to be preplanned for each holiday as well as for each product that might sell better on a certain date. Google trends helps find spikes in interest during holiday months.
- Unwanted traffic needs to be reviewed and re-reviewed many times before the holidays launch. You don’t want to be kicking yourself for obvious holiday mismatched search queries that waste your holiday season PPC budget.
- Emergency plans need to be in place in the event that your site goes down or stops working properly.
Your PPC management will need extra warning and insight into your plans before even attempting to do the work. This will involve you actually having a holiday season plan and then being able to disclose relevant details to your digital marketing teams.
You’ll have to decide how to allocate your resources for the most important extra work.
Additional Considerations for PPC Holiday Marketing Campaigns in 2016:
Last-minute gift solution: the gift card. Retailmenot’s Shopper Trends Report found that 9 in 10 US citizens have had to buy last-minute gifts. 64% of holiday shoppers praise gift-cards as the best last-minute gift. In 2016, offer and market gift cards.
In 2016, offer and market gift cards.
2016, the year of mobile, will also require mobile responsive holiday season shopping. If you’re not mobile-friendly yet, at least be so for the holiday season (for the love of everything digital!).
Amazon dominates holiday season ecommerce. It might be time to get your products and ads on Amazon. This survey from BloomReach describes Amazon’s holiday hegemony, including the fact that 73% of customers plan to buy from Amazon this holiday season.
2016 heralds an even more frightening holiday season as expanded text ads are set to replace standard ads by the end of the year, signaling a need for longer line adjusted ad copy. Erin Sagan, a PPC evangelist from Wordstream, advises extra preparations this season:
“Scarily enough, many believe that the ad sunset is likely to occur near the end of 2016, potentially smack dab in the middle of the holiday season.”
Start Preparing and Warn Your Marketers!
The best holiday marketing captures the spirit of the holidays confidently and subtly. Rushed work will be difficult to shield from the critical, all-knowing customer’s gaze.
So, inform your marketers of your holiday promotions and reap the rewards!