Christmas is just around the corner, and shoppers will be starting their research into buying presents soon. Here are some steps you should take to maximise the effectiveness and ROI of your PPC campaign before the winter shopping spree comes.
Just about any product or service in the western world will see an increase in sales in the period leading up to Christmas, so it’s important to plan your digital marketing efforts in order to maintain your product market share through the rising tide.
The season may even present you the opportunity to ride the swell into a greater share of your market. But unless you occupy a very specific niche, the SEM auction is very competitive, and like most investments, the beginning of your PPC marketing campaign will not immediately bring an impressive ROI.
That’s why now is a great time to start preparing for the impending deluge of potential customers.
Efficiency and Budget
Since Google attempts to boost ads that are most relevant to its users’ search queries, the company makes it very costly to obtain the number one spot simply by out-bidding competitors.
Therefore, you’ll need to make sure your campaign makes the best use of keywords people are actually searching for in the period.
It’s always important to remember that Google can quite easily penalise your ad for not being relevant and will push it further down the SERP as a result. Now that’s a waste of money.
Ads, Keywords and Quality Score
Google’s aim is to send users to websites that hold relevant and reliable information. Therefore, it’s important for a successful campaign to target keywords that accurately reflect what that user will find on the page when they arrive.
Therefore, a good way to make your marketing money count is by grouping closely related keywords into separate categories and keeping their landing pages highly relevant to users’ searches.
All keywords for the Christmas season should be researched thoroughly using your tools of choice, such as Adthena’s Competitive Intelligence for Search that allows you to see who’s bidding on which Christmas keywords and compare performance across your competitors.
You should constantly refine your ad groups and look for keywords to exclude from bidding at a group and campaign levels. Doing so will increase the relevance of your ads, increase their CTR and prevent unnecessary spending.
Calls to Action
One of the most important components of any form of marketing is The Ask – don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. Simply introducing your product and touting its benefits does not force the customer to make a decision. Strong calls to action should be included in both ad copy and the ads’ respective landing pages.
New Call Out Extensions
Google recently introduced a feature named “Callout Extensions,” which enables you to effectively extend your text ad copy by highlighting key aspects of your business, such as free shipping and site-wide discounts.
This could mean the difference between a user clicking on or scrolling past your ad. Callout Extensions features in your Ad Rank score and although you may gain more real estate in the SERP if you choose to go down this route, you will still need to win the auction in order to appear higher up in search results.
The additional text is included just below the main ad copy, but above the site link extensions.
Mobile Search Ads
Mobile targeting has gone from an after-thought to an essential for marketers in the last few years. Target shoppers heavily during their lunch hours and be sure to enable Location and Click to Call Extensions for mobile ads to grease the wheels of the buying process for customers on mobile devices.
Although not limited to the Christmas period, the platform on which customers are using is an important metric to consider as the trend of using mobile devices to make purchases becomes more common.
Adthena Mobile allows you to analyse how you and your competitors perform on mobile, including whether keywords change according to platform and who changes their ad copy for the platform, for example.
Ad Copy Optimisation
If you have some A/B tests from previous Christmas seasons, now is the best time to choose the best performers, stack them against some revised ad copy, perform some new A/B tests, and see if you can further improve your CTR.
Once the Christmas rush is over, consolidate your stock, analyse your sales, track your campaigns’ performance, and tailor a campaign to capture the after-Christmas sales hunters.
What’s the Perfect Recipe for Success?
With a mix of constant optimisation, learning, and, of course efficient spending, you should be able to optimise your Christmas campaign and of course, reap the benefits.
Do you have any top tips for optimising your PPC spend to make the most of Christmas? Share them with us on Twitter!
(Main image credit: Fabrizio Lonzini/Flickr)