Although October is just getting underway, it's not too early to start your paid search holiday season preparations! In just a few short weeks we will find ourselves engrossed in bidding adjustments, ad copy changes and other time sensitive updates, so now is the time to get a few extra projects checked off your list that will pay off during the holiday frenzy.
Retailers with a solid PPC program may have a good idea of what this season has in store, but that doesn't mean everyone isn't secretly hoping to blow past their projections and make THIS the season that puts all others to shame. Especially for those who have a strong core program in place, finding incremental traffic opportunities this season may seem hard to come by. We hope these six recommendations can help bring in the additional sales you're looking for!
1. Product Listing Ads - For retailers who already have a product feed set up under their Google Merchant Center account, there are just a few steps required to be eligible for Google's rich ad format, which includes product names, prices and images. Splitting bids up by product category allows for smarter bidding and more traffic on the products with the best performance.
Retailers with more visually appealing products may see the best results, with some clients seeing PLAs account for more than 10% on non-brand sales. Since our findings suggest this traffic isn't just cannibalized from other campaigns, PLAs can be an efficient way to boost volume.
2. Tablet Segmentation - With tablet traffic share increasing to around 4-5%, it's becoming even more important to make sure you aren't forgetting about these devices. Recent data shows tablet conversion ranking high above smartphones and even outperforming desktops, meaning it might be worthwhile to launch separate tablet campaigns so you can push bids higher, instead of just keeping all devices together in standard campaigns.
Generally yielding a higher conversion rate, sales per click and average order value, tablet segments should be a welcome addition to your PPC program.
3. Mobile Strategy - Similarly, traffic from mobile devices shouldn't be clumped with computer campaigns (and please don't group it with tablets!) because of generally worse online performance. However, this doesn't mean there isn't a value in mobile. Because users may be doing initial research via their smartphone, but eventually end up purchasing from a computer, there is a need for different objectives.
Establishing mobile as a branding effort, developing alternative KPIs or setting a lower standard for direct response performance can help you account for online tracking difficulties and provide better guidance for mobile bidding.
4. Contextual Targeting - While building out high quality content campaigns may seem daunting, don't let it keep you from testing out contextual targeting on the Google Display Network. Avoid launching very general campaigns with low bids thinking you will cover your bases without risking too much cost, as keeping bids low can negatively impact the quality of sites where your ads are eligible to be served.
Instead, make sure you get qualified traffic by focusing on top selling products or categories and by utilizing site or interest targeting. With these settings in place to limit overly general traffic, you can feel confident pushing bids up to qualify for higher quality auctions.
5. Don't Forget about Bing - While it can seem easy to get caught up spending time on all of Google's new extensions and formats, don't forget to give your accounts on the other engines a little TLC before the holiday rush. Make sure all successful keywords on Google are also loaded to Bing so you aren't missing opportunities.
Also, while Bing has made a number of moves to bring the adCenter platform more in line with Google's AdWords, there are still some key differences and a one-size-fits-all approach may be limiting your traffic volume. Be careful in how you apply negative keywords and consider an alternative ad group structure on Bing to account for how they handle quality score and tail terms.
6. Matchtype & Google.com Segmentation - Exact match keywords generally show better performance and Google.com generally performs better than its search partners. Combine these notions into one strategy to make sure you are bidding to the full value of each user's query. Launching a second version of top traffic keywords on the exact matchtype and limiting them to Google.com gives you the ability to push up the page to capture more of the highest quality traffic.
Keep watching the RKGBlog for more holiday marketing tips and tactics and let us know in the comments if you have any of your own!