The holiday season is quickly approaching and before we know it, we’ll be going down our Christmas lists and spending money on gifts for loved ones. But leading up to “the most wonderful time of the year”, as marketers, we should take full advantage of the spike in retail traffic and spend during this period.
Not only are consumers searching and buying more, advertisers are giving out the best deals possible to encourage holiday shopping. This means that your sales will certainly go up, but so will your advertising costs. Being well-prepared before the holiday season hits can ensure that you don’t end up wasting spend. We’ve put together six do’s and don’ts to help you run your holiday PPC campaign in the most cost-efficient way.
Do: Look At Last Year’s Performance For Reference
Don’t: Make assumptions on when to perform optimizations
First and foremost, leverage previous data to help you make smart data-driven decisions this year. Start by analyzing the trends and identifying when your conversion rates and average order value (AOV) changed. Many of you are probably wondering why we’re not looking at the volume in clicks, and the reason is decisions should be based on the value of the traffic and not the volume of the traffic.
The increase in clicks doesn’t necessary mean that you will be more profitable, but increase in conversions does. Another important factor is your AOV, an increase or decrease in AOV can greatly impact your profitability so you should account for this in your decision as well. Once you’ve pinpointed when the changes in conversion rates and AOV occurred, you can make calculate decisions on your optimizations.
Do: Research Your Competitors To See What Type Of Deals They Are Offering
Don’t: Blindly run a holiday campaign not knowing what your competitors are offering
Staying competitive during the holidays is very important, you want to be aware of what your competitors are offering and match that same promotion or provide an even better one. If they are releasing deals like “free shipping and 25% off” on the same exact product you are selling, you need to give your potential customers a reason to buy your product over theirs. Keep an eye throughout the season to plan your promotions accordingly.
Do: Plan Out Your Budget To Last Through The Season With Flexibility
Don’t: Spend all your budget early on and miss out on potential sales
Once you have determined the promotions you want to offer, it’s time to plan out your budget and bidding strategy. It’s no surprise the volume of traffic increases and the sales go up during the holidays because more people are searching and buying. This change in consumer shopping behavior often leads to higher sales, but also to higher advertising costs. So, make sure to allocate a decent amount of budget and be flexible during this time to give yourself some wiggle room.
Related: Price Extension 101
Having enough spend to last throughout the holiday season will be crucial as the last thing you’d want is to run out of spend early and pass up on potential sales. Also, take a look at your product data to see if some perform better than others during the holiday season. You’ll want to adjust your budget accordingly for the hot commodities.
Do: Adjust Bids Based On Conversion Rate And Average Order Value
Don’t: Base your decision on clicks and traffic volume
As mentioned earlier, you should base your optimization decisions on the value of the traffic, not the volume of the traffic. Adjusting your bids to reflect the changes in conversion rates and AOV will help your campaign stay competitive during this time.
How can we maximize sales in the most efficient way? Bidding proportionally and calculating your bids by applying a percentage of the increase in conversion rates compared to previous data. If you have a 25% increase in conversion rates, then you should increase your bids by 25%. When you are nearing the end of the holiday season and see that conversion rates dropped by 25%, then you’ll want to reduce your bids by 25% as well.
The same rule applies for AOV, take a look at when your AOV rises and falls to adjust your bid optimizations accordingly.
Do: Bid Up On High Performing Devices
Don’t: Underestimate the power of device bidding
Now that shopping is made easy on mobile, more and more people will be purchasing gifts on their phones – something to think about when you’re taking a look at device performance. You’ll want to identify the device that is driving a lion share of your conversions and increase the bid there.
Related: Benefits of Mobile Advertising
As for the device that is wasting a lot of money and not converting as much, you’ll want to bid down on this one. In general, we have found that increasing your bid by 15% will move you up a position and vice versa.
Do: Use Automated Rules To Schedule Ads, Adjust Bids, And Control Your Budget
Don’t: Miss out on opportunities during prime time
If there are certain times in a day or days in a week that have shown to have off-the-charts performance, you’ll want to set up automated rules to ensure that you are offering the best deal at the best time. To prepare, you should create tailored ads to showcase your best offering, set competitive bids, and allocate a reasonable amount of budget to spend. Unless you plan to be in front of your AdWords account throughout the holiday season, utilizing automated rules will make sure that you don’t miss out on potential sales at the optimal time.
Following these guidelines will set your holiday PPC campaign up for success, but keep in mind that it is just as important to keep an eye on your campaign performance. It’s a known fact that sales and traffic will increase during this period, but consumer shopping behavior is much harder to predict and often fluctuates throughout the season. You want to make sure that you have a good pulse on your campaign and watch for the changes in conversion rate and AOV to adjust your budget and bids accordingly. We wish you and your PPC campaign a very merry holiday season, now let the countdown begin!