With the festive high-season just around the corner and with some competitors having launched their seasonal campaigns as early as August (yes, really), Booster Box is here to help. We break down how to maximise on the wealth of opportunity in the final quarter of the year so that you to smash those marketing KPIs or exceed those annual e-commerce revenue targets. Here we highlight the key elements to be considered in order to create wildly successful festive campaigns!
The Bigger the Budget the Better
Over the holiday season, reasons to shop come thick and fast, so it’s imperative to have the necessary funds to make the most of every conversion opportunity. Plan to serve not only the projected traffic volumes but unforeseen opportunities as well. We all know the story of how Oreo capitalised on the 2013 Super Bowl black-out. While we may not all experience quite the same opportunity, it pays to have a little extra stashed away for unexpected spikes in search volumes. Also, bear in mind that it’s a highly competitive season, so expect CPCs to rise from as early as September/October as well.
Location, Location, Location
At a time like this, audiences are everything. Appearing in the right place at the right time can make a world of difference to a PPC campaign, not least at this time of year when you will see all kinds of customer shopping. From the uncle looking for last-minute new-born gift ideas to the savvy shopper looking for the most competitive deal on a specific product, your campaigns should speak to people at every stage of the funnel. A particular focus at the top of the funnel at the beginning of the festive period will help to generate the demand needed going forwards. Think about creating messaging tailored to potential customers based on gender, age, online behaviour, interests, etc. and ensure that you're being seen by the right person, on the right platform, at the right time. Bid adjustments on selected audiences can be especially helpful in achieving this.
Check Your Calendar
The fourth quarter is packed with excuses for self-indulgence and gift-giving, which for marketers equal a plethora of opportunities to target potential customers. From religious festivals such as Christmas, Diwali and Hanukkah to Make a Gift Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There are even fun opportunities such as National Peanut Butter Lover's Month and the now world-famous Movember that may offer the perfect excuse for your e-commerce to make itself known. This is where you can combine your well-researched audiences with the perfect timing. Don't forget about market-specific dates either. Singles Day, which is monumental in China also falls in October. Last year, Alibaba is reported to have broken a record by having generated an incredible $30.8 billion in just 24 hours on Singles Day. Each date represents an opportunity to increase awareness and drive conversions, so ensure to add those that are relevant to your business to your marketing calendar and prepare your campaigns well ahead of time. There's nothing worse than an amazing campaign idea that was launched too late.
The Key is in the Keyword
Seasonal keywords can see a lift from mid-August (again, yes, really), so ensure that the top relevant keywords are in your account ASAP. Use a combination of both generic and seasonally specific keywords. Utilise marketing tools such as Google's Keyword Planner and search term reports from previous years to see which keywords are likely to result in the best possible performance. Feed your search term report results from your selected time-range (such as the run up to Black Friday last year or simply Q4 last year) and feed this back into the Keyword Planner for highly relevant results. Select the most appropriate keywords for your particular campaign and apply them to your chosen account structure.
The Best Predictor of the Future is the Past
Look into performance over the past few years (if possible) to see when your campaigns are likely to peak and ensure that they are prepared and running well in advance. Ever felt that Christmas advertisements begin far too early in the year? Many people spend months shopping around or want to prepare early, but do your research to see how relevant this is to your particular industry or business? Then, once you're aware of how your accounts performed in the past, identify days with a higher conversion rate, and adjust your bids and budgets accordingly, for maximum impact.
Desktop Vs Mobile
The holiday season can be busy and often see people multitasking and spending time away from home. People are more likely to be looking for products and services on the go and so it can be common to see an increase in mobile and tablet usage. This, of course, can be industry-dependent, so once again, do your device research and if appropriate, ensure your mobile and tablet focused campaigns feature ad copy that is tailored to those on the go.
Bring Out Your Inner Creative
This is a point we can stretch across all platforms - from social, to search and even Google Shopping. Use well thought out ad copy to highlight important services such as express delivery and strong calls to action to create a sense of urgency. In visual campaigns, use creatives that foster a festive feel. Or for time-specific campaigns, consider using countdown ads. Get creative! This is the perfect time to show your ingenuity, stand out amongst the crowd and test those new campaign types and features. And why not have some fun? It’s Christmas!
Spruce Up Your Landing Pages
Generating traffic is one thing, however, ensuring you bring in those conversions requires some time and thought being put into conversion rate optimisation. Are your landing pages fully stocked and optimised? Are they relevant to your audience and their seasonal needs? What kind of user experience do you offer? Are discounts, offers and services highlighted? Do they elicit a relevant festive feel?
Make the Most of Automation
Should your ad be disapproved while you’re tucking into your turkey or should your website go down, this could have a major impact on overall performance. To sleep peacefully and enjoy the holiday season yourself, set up automated rules and alerts for issues such as disapproved ads, potential 404s and campaigns limited by budget to help the holiday season go smoothly and let you know if and when action needs to be taken.
Don’t Forget the Post-Holiday Rush
The high season doesn’t end with Christmas. Hot off of their family celebrations, people are already looking for the most enticing discounts and deals to spend their Christmas money on. This is the perfect opportunity to launch your remarketing campaign, targeting interested consumers with the products that they have already been eyeing.
Ensure that you or your client are fully stocked from as early as September or October. With the amount of quality traffic you’ll now be driving to your site, you may be surprised just how successful your campaigns can be. Make sure that your customer and your future self aren’t frustrated by an inability to meet the demand you have so carefully created!
In conclusion, early research and preparation are key to a successful high-season. Make sure that your holiday campaigns are set up and good to go as soon as, if not before your competitors launch theirs. It’s also a great time to get creative and use the spikes in traffic to test out some new possibilities. Well-timed creativity can make all of the difference, as can ensuring you are reaching the right people at the right moment. There is no one-size-fits-all PPC strategy, so putting the effort in to find the right combination of ingredients for your company or brand is essential. Finally, for all of those PPC managers out there, don't forget to implement those all-important alerts so that you can relax and have some fun over the holiday season too!