Believe it or not, Q3 is coming to a close and Q4 is well on the horizon—jack-o’-lanterns, cornucopias, turkeys, Christmas bells, and all. In other words, ‘tis the season for shopping and the best time to ramp up your Google Ads strategy. October to December are peak seasons for eCommerce and will likely account for a sizeable percentage of your sales this year. So what better way to end the year than with a bang?
Whether you’re just starting out with Google Ads this year or have been doing it for some time, these tactics will help you maximize your ROI throughout the gift-giving season.
Learn from Previous Years
Before you get into anything concrete, it’s wise to look back and review last year’s results. You wouldn’t want to be making the same mistakes and overlook the ones that worked. Despite that, it’s important to not set your new benchmarks based on last year’s data. When crafting a strategy, consider trends and recent changes in consumer behavior, as well.
Start Building Your Audiences
To make sure you convert as many people as possible this quarter, laser-focused targeting may not be ideal. You need to look at the big picture, and that is “anyone can be your customer.” Given that it’s shopping season and people are out and about online shopping for gifts, you might want to cast a wider net when deploying search and display ads. Build your audiences this year around these types of users:
- Logins to loyalty programs
- Past purchasers
- Repeat purchasers
- Recent visitors
- High-value customers
- Visitors who viewed a wishlist
- Visitors who viewed a gift guide
- Wishlist creators
- Friends of those that like your Facebook page
- Users that engaged with your content on social media
- Lookalikes of any and all of the above
- Combinations of any of the above
Revisit & Re-engage Lists of Yore
Remember those people who bought products from your store last holiday season but never returned? Dust off that data and prepare a re-engagement strategy. They may not be frequent buyers, but with some brand recall tactics and prodding, they’ll be back in your funnel again when the season starts. If they’re happy with their purchase last year, they’ll surely come back when the situation calls for it. All you need to do is make sure they remember.
Write Snappy Seasonal Ad Copies
Competition is much tighter during the high season, with thousands of ecommerce stores competing for people’s attention. The last thing you want to do is launch ads and landing pages with generic, forgettable copy. Roll up your sleeves and craft evocative and compelling copy. Keep the spirit of the holidays alive with snappy CTAs, attention-grabbing headlines, and copy that speaks to its audience. And don’t forget to sprinkle your ad and landing page copies with words specific to the season.
Evoke a Sense of Urgency
This is the best time to take advantage of countdowns and limited offers. If you’re running sales and promotions, include countdowns to the end of the offer in your ads. Also, give your shoppers enough time to receive their packages, especially during the Christmas season. Simply including a countdown that says “buy within x days to receive before Christmas” can make a world of difference to your sales.
Reactivate Previous High Season Keywords
Another thing you may want to dig up from last year is your high season keywords. Review the keywords and ad groups you’ve paused and see which keywords were profitable during the high season. If you’re still selling products that these keywords represent, reactivate them.
Use Bid Adjustments: RLSA, Similar, Demographics, Device
Google Ads didn’t just get a name change, it’s also expanded advertisers’ options for targeting users. Now, you don’t even need to stick to keywords to target people. You can now customize your search ad campaigns based on the following:
- Remarketing lists for search ad (RSLA)
- Device/day of the week/hour of the day
- Similar audiences for search ads
- Demographics (age, gender, parental status)
Using all these allows for more successful broad match targeting. In other words, a wider, more diverse stream of leads.
Add Phrase Match, BMM & Broad Match Keywords
The holiday season is the perfect time to take risks and venture out of exact match keywords. Adding the same keywords in Broad Match Modified and Phrase Match will work to your advantage this season. This lets you reach a wider demographic of searchers (which are likely to result in a sale) and expand your footprint aggressively without losing too much money. But don’t rush into including all match types just yet. Make sure you weed out anything out of the ordinary or unrelated to your products fast.
Ramp Up Your Budget & Bids
It goes without saying that conversion rates and sales increase tenfold during high seasons. So it only makes sense to increase your budget, as well. Nearly every keyword on Google Ads will increase in volume. If you don’t increase your ad spend, you’ll be missing out on a lot of revenue. But keep in mind that if you convert better, your competitors will, too, and the landscape gets more competitive. To make sure you get ahead, here’s what you should do:
- Actively start bidding higher to widen your market share.
- Set your system to bid higher automatically as it sees the ROAS go up
- Gather the funds to bid 2 to 3 times higher for product-specific queries, but make sure your bids are still in line with your ROAS.
Boost Your Dynamic Display Remarketing
Once you’ve increased your budget and bids, get ready to see a massive influx of visitors to your website. But don’t get to comfortable yet. There’s still plenty of opportunities to explore. An increase in visitors means more visitors for you to remarket. During this time, you should also increase your budget and bids for your dynamic remarketing tactics. It would also be wise to start adding more audience lists and segments.
Activate Your Dynamic Search Ads
If you’re an ecommerce business, chances are, you have a long list of keywords that you wouldn’t consider adding to your Google Ads campaign. But the high seasons tend to breathe life into these keywords, no matter how underperforming they are through most parts of the year. But creating campaigns for all these keywords or products is not a practical move. All you need to do is give them some exposure by activating your Broad Match and Dynamic Search Ads. The latter, in particular, lets you automatically target relevant search queries based on your website’s content. Essentially, their job is to fill in the gaps in keyword campaigns and drive incremental traffic for a better return on investment.
Keep an Eye Out on Competitors
As mentioned above, the high seasons are also the toughest, most competitive months in the paid advertising landscape. Nearly every brand wants a piece of prime real estate online. This is the best time to tap into your Auction Insights report to see what kinds of deals or promotions your competitors are running right now. Also, make use of research tools like SpyFu and SEMrush to get a quick estimate on competitor budgets, but don’t rely on these figures too much. Pay attention to the trends, instead, when scoping out and planning your ad spend and campaigns.
Perform A/B Test, But With Caution
Performing A/B split tests during high seasons can be both a blessing and a curse. Knowing which ads perform better allows you to capitalize on tactics you know will work. You’re not in the dark about what you’re putting money in. Plus, you’ll have enough time to adjust your other campaigns and get the best bang for the buck. But, things can go awry if you’re not careful. There are strict rules to effective A/B testing, and if you get it wrong, expect to see a massive dip in your traffic and revenue.
End the Season Right
It’s easy to get overwhelmed (either by excitement or panic) during the holidays and busy shopping seasons. But don’t get too laser-focused on achieving record-high ROI without planning for a proper endgame. Account for the days and weeks after the season ends and devise a plan for undoing the changes you’ve made for this season. To make this process easier, label all the new additions you’ve included, change to manual bidding for a couple of weeks, then undo all your new bid adjustments. Time this properly, because once the shopping rush dies down and your bids are still high, your ROI will take a massive dip and all your efforts will be wasted.
Don’t have a PPC strategy for the gift-giving season yet? Get in touch with Growth Rocket and get actionable tips to make the most of seasonal shopping.