We’re all looking forward to the surge in traffic as shoppers flock to online retailers before Christmas. But how can we avoid getting complacent and letting the traffic slide come January?
With the Christmas surge well underway, some of us might already be wondering what’s next. How do we plan ahead so that, when 2015 rolls around, we’ll be channelling the traffic rather than scratching our heads?
1. Clear Out Your Bids
PPC.org recommends a January clearout for the keywords you’ve been bidding on throughout 2014. The products and the competition in your sector are always changing, as are the ways people search.
It might feel like you’ve found a comfortable niche, but complacency will only put you in danger of becoming irrelevant as the market transforms around you.
For example, we covered how the Nokia takeover drastically affected the PPC market for phones. With events like this in mind, January should offer a great opportunity to take a long look at every inch of your PPC campaign to see what’s working and what’s not.
2. Keep an Eye on the Competition
PPC isn’t going to get less competitive any time soon, so any insight into outsmarting your big-spending competitor will prove very helpful. Ron Hutchinson, writing for Search Engine People, recommends analytics tools to compare your PPC performance with the competition’s.
Adthena’s competitive analysis tools use a unique algorithm to gather and interpret masses of data on where you and other relevant companies stand in the PPC marketplace.
These tools can show you if another brand has found a workable strategy that you’ve missed, whether you’re bidding on too many of the same keywords and driving up the price, and even how much traffic bang for your buck you’re getting compared to other brands.
3. Think Mobile
According to Tug, a Marin Software employee predicts that mobile will take 50% of the PPC market in 2015. Such a reality will require a totally different approach to PPC, including the creation of ad copy that works on the small screen and can compete on an SERP using fewer entries, with an optimised mobile landing page to boot.
Smartphone PPC is likely to further increase competition, as brands compete for top spots on an SERP with hardly any ad space. This means no more pay-and-pray: brands will need ads that both rank with the search engine and compel the customer. This ad from Apple offers a perfect example:
Don’t forget about tools exclusive to mobile advertising, such as PPC ads that open a call to your company rather than sending the user to your site. Some brands create a better image when customers can talk to a human; if this applies to your company, this truly mobile solution might be a great sales generator, even if you gain no traffic from it.
Adthena’s competitive intelligence for search platform allows you to monitor both your and your competitors’ mobile PPC performance, allowing you to make educated choices on how you should tackle mobile PPC to keep up.
4. Don’t Forget Your Marketing “Message”
In Acquisio’s ebook, The Future of Digital Marketing, Brad Geddes explains why he thinks 2015 will bring a resurgence in the importance of brand messaging for ads. This seems notable in that it’s been a few years since marketers first obsessed over remarketing, automation, and audience segmentation.
Now, having conquered these new tools, it’s time for marketers to quantify how their brand message relates to the different devices, media, and scenarios. Who is going to see these ads? And, most importantly, how can we create a relationship with them?
Adthena can help here, too. Our ad copy analysis system can tell you what sort of copy works in a given market, how your competitors are doing, and what you can learn from them. You can even find out which copy themes are underused in a given market and thus represent a more distinctive niche for your brand.
Business, especially PPC, is like natural selection: the brands that adapt are the ones that survive. If you feel like you’re creating a new PPC strategy for the new year, you’re definitely on the right track to outlasting the competition.
(Main image credit: Fireworks Sarah_Ackerman/flickr)