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“How to Optimize eCommerce PPC Campaigns This Holiday Season”

It’s never too late or too early to start planning your holiday Google Ads campaigns–especially when you consider that roughly half of all eCommerce advertisers plan on launching their efforts before October even hits.

The importance of creating an effective holiday advertising strategy cannot be overstressed. Most every merchant that has an online presence will be aiming to drive hordes of shoppers to their sites with discount codes, sales, special offers and the like. In short, this means that the competition is fierce.

Holidays are without a doubt the most chaotic time for eCommerce companies as they scramble to achieve maximum results from the impending shopping sprees. Therefore, prepping as early as possible is the only way to optimize your efforts while minimizing your stress levels.

If you haven’t begun plotting out your holiday ad campaigns, now is the time to get started. While scores of retailers and marketers will be busy targeting email lists and social media audiences (and rightly so), Google Ads is a powerful modality that should not be neglected.

That said, how exactly can eCommerce business owners ensure that each Google Ads impression made has the greatest chances of converting consumers into customers? To drive the strongest results possible, retailers should be privy to a variety of Google Ads optimization techniques for earning more sales this holiday season.

To help push your holiday ad planning into high gear, we are going to share six powerful optimization tips for mastering Google Ads and converting shoppers during this incredibly fruitful time of year.

Let’s dig in!


Analyze Past Performance

As the adage goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

If your company ran holiday PPC campaigns last year, it is vital to go back through that data to understand what worked and what fell flat. Doing so will likely uncover a myriad of applicable strategies, keywords and promotions that generated stellar click-through rates (CTR), while simultaneously abandoning any elements that proved to be less than effective.


Boost Your Budget

This should go without saying given that the holidays are the time of year when digital retailers earn the bulk of their revenue, so you want to achieve maximum exposure. However, this is not the sole reason. During the holidays, bid prices can increase by a whopping 140 percent, meaning that it is likely that you are simply going to pay more for typical ad buys.

Moreover, Google Ads is an efficiently streamlined system, meaning that if you’re capable of putting your finances to proper use, then increasing the budget for your holiday campaigns should boost your sales in a linear fashion.

The holidays are the single best time to invest in advertising and marketing. A meaningful increase in your eCommerce marketing budget is likely to pay off in multiples.


Get Your Timeline in Order

Do you know the ideal times to launch campaigns for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas? The fact is that pushing them out too early can negatively impact your sales, but if you publish them too late, there is a good chance people will have already capitalized on other deals.

It is important for eCommerce merchants to take a deep dive into the research to establish the primetime windows of opportunity for maximum Google Ads impressions and conversions. Furthermore, the types of products your store sells should be factored into this equation. For instance, the ideal time for selling ugly Christmas sweaters tends to be on December 14. Understanding such shopping patterns is key to gaining your audience’s attention.

For Black Friday sales, the best timing is usually about three days before the big event as this gives shoppers enough time to view your ads and assess your deals.

However, other campaigns should be launched weeks in advance (such as Christmas sales). This gives shoppers time to become privy to your promotions and provides merchants with enough time to tweak creative elements and optimize their ads.

Speaking of which…


Optimize Ad Titles and Copy

To achieve the greatest number of impressions for your store’s top-performing search terms, it is necessary to optimize your best product’s ad titles. In shopping campaigns, titles serve as keywords and can greatly impact how often a product ad will surface for a given query.

To help ensure that your products are displayed for specific searches, merchants should mine their query reports to uncover top converting keywords, and then include them in ad titles.

For example, if your store is selling Bluetooth headphones, you could optimize the ad title from “Sale on Bluetooth Headphones” to “Save 50 percent on Black Sony Wireless Bluetooth Headphones.”

Including additional info in this way shouldn’t reduce your volume in the way long-tail keywords might, but instead it will likely increase your ad’s CTR.

In addition to optimizing your advert titles for high-performing keywords, it is also worth considering adding event qualifiers to product terms. For example, including “Black Friday deals” to specific items (thereby creating titles such as “Black Friday deals on Sony Bluetooth Headphones”) can be an effective strategy. It is also worth exploring similar terms like “save,” “sales,” “promotions” or “specials.”

Google’s Keyword Planner can be a valuable tool in establishing the types of searches these kinds of phrases (in conjunction with your products) are getting.


Employ Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are a powerful tool for Google Ads as they help ads to stand out by taking up additional real estate on Google’s SERPs. When consumers are searching for products, the more information you can include in your advert helps audiences determine if your store is the right choice, thereby increasing the chances of a click-through.

A recent Google case study revealed that promotional extensions resulted in a 20 percent increase in return on ad spend for eCommerce clients.

When it comes to holiday ads, there are a few extensions that can be particularly effective.

Promotion Extensions

Promotion extensions are used to advertise sales, coupons, deals and similar special offers. These tend to be paired with a price tag icon, making them a great eye-catcher that helps brands stand out from competitor listings.

Using these extensions, advertisers can also include date ranges. This is an easy way to create a sense of urgency. Moreover, shorter date ranges tend to convert better than longer ones as there is a smaller window for consumers to capitalize.

Moreover, promotion extensions enable eCommerce marketers to take advantage of the occasion option–a feature which enables advertisers to showcase the holiday the ad aims to target alongside the aforementioned information. This helps to target audiences that are already in the mindset of shopping for a specific holiday.

Callout Extensions

Callout extensions are a great add-on for including your store’s contact information. However, these can also be leveraged to highlight delivery specials for the holiday season. This is quite effective as this is one of the main concerns of holiday shoppers. Using this extension, you can include phrases such as “Guaranteed Delivery by Christmas” to entice your audience into buying.

Structured Snippet Extensions

Structured Snippet extensions provide retailers with additional space to highlight store benefits, details, product or service offerings and other important details. With the three additional header lines of text provided by this extension, merchants can craft eye-catching adverts that drive substantial numbers of clicks.


Run Remarketing Ads

During the holidays, there will be a lot of consumer browsing, and therefore a lot of bouncing. However, this provides ample opportunity for eCommerce brands to recapture site visitors with remarketing ads.

Utilizing the custom audiences feature in Google Analytics, retailers can analyze consumer behaviors, time-on-site and other relevant metrics to create remarketing ads that target previous site visitors and entice them into coming back to complete their purchase.

By enabling your store to display ads that target individuals who have already shown enough interest in your shop’s product, site owners are effectively doubling down to bring them back to convert into a sale.

While Google Ads provides several remarketing options, the most effective tends to be Dynamic Remarketing ads as these show dynamic image ads for particular products or services that a past website visitor has already looked at.

For example, if you’re looking at a new MacBook Pro on Amazon, then Amazon can utilize dynamic remarketing to create a series of ads using the exact same product, and surface it on a variety of websites that you might visit. However, do be aware that in order to leverage dynamic remarketing ads, you must also have a Google Merchant Center account.

No matter what time of year it is, PPC advertising is a powerful methodology that can result in massive amounts of sales for retailers of all sizes. However, during the holiday season, this is an incredibly important strategy to master through learning the most effective optimization techniques while also tracking and monitoring campaign results to make any necessary alterations along the way.

Furthermore, site owners should not forget to optimize landing pages as what happens after the ad click-through is even more important than the ad itself. If you can’t get visitors to convert after landing on your site, it’s all for naught.

Meet the Author

Brittany Currie

A Georgia Southern University graduate, Brittany joined Visiture in 2015 and manages Visiture's extensive internal marketing endeavors. Interests include: true crime podcasts, *watching sports, and her two pups, Lulu the Pug and Laurence the Greyhound.

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