It should come as no surprise that the holidays are an important time for most online retailers. As consumers start to purchase their holiday gifts, conversion rates begin to rise and sales increase across industries. This is also the time of the year when online advertising reaches an all-time high, making it vital for e-commerce companies to develop an effective pay-per-click (PPC) ad strategy to optimize their marketing budget and remain competitive during the holiday season.
Below are just a few e-commerce PPC management tips that your brand can use to drive conversions and make the most out of this upcoming holiday season:
1. Analyze PPC performance from previous holiday seasons.
If you want to improve your PPC performance this holiday season, you may want to start by looking at your past PPC ad campaigns from previous holidays. If you have launched PPC ads during past holiday seasons, the analytics that you have from these campaigns can help you better understand what has been working with your PPC ads and what still needs some tweaking. With this information, you can work to optimize your ads this season to maximize sales and get the most out of your marketing spend.
One of the most important metrics to look at is peak traffic days and times. This can help you determine which days and times have higher transaction rates. This is when you will most likely want to bid and spend more on your PPC ad campaigns. As you review PPC data from previous holiday campaigns, you should also consider the following:
- Were you able to meet or exceed your PPC ad goals in past years?
- What opportunities do you see for improvement?
- When do your conversion rates, volume, and average cost-per-click (CPC) rates start to pick up for your campaigns? In early November or more around Thanksgiving?
- Did you run any ads for specific promotions? What were they, and how did they perform?
- When do you see the best performance for PPC ads promoting super deals like Cyber Monday or Black Friday?
Looking at these aspects of your past PPC holiday ad campaigns can help you better plan for your campaigns this upcoming holiday season. If you didn’t run PPC ad campaigns in past years or you only have a little data to work from, then you can also check out Google Trends to see when search interest increases for some of your popular keywords. You can also try to do some testing this year so that you have data to work with in the coming holiday seasons to optimize your holiday ad campaigns.
2. Perform a mobile audit to make sure your ads and landing pages are mobile-friendly.
Another thing that should be on the top of your list of PPC To-Do’s this holiday season is a mobile audit. Over the past few years, mobile traffic and purchases have seen a significant increase, and the holiday shopping season is no exception. In fact, just last year, 47% of consumers planned to shop online during the holidays. If your mobile site, landing pages, and PPC ads are not optimized for mobile, many online consumers may take their business elsewhere to brands that provide a more satisfying mobile experience.
By conducting a mobile audit before the holiday shopping season is in full swing, you give your e-commerce brand enough time to prioritize and implement improvements that enhance the mobile shopping experience. As you conduct a mobile audit, focus on the following areas:
Fast Load Times – When it comes to improving the mobile user’s site experience, site speed is one of the most important factors. Many consumers will immediately leave your site if it takes more than 2 or 3 seconds to load. You can test your mobile site speed using Google Chrome Developer Tools and work to reduce your page weight in order to speed up site load times.
Easy to Navigate Site – Ease of navigation is another important part of enhancing the mobile user’s site experience. If your site is hard to navigate, it may cause visitors to take their business somewhere else. Spend some time navigating your mobile site to get a feel for the mobile user’s experience. Are you able to navigate to pages using just one finger? Can you clearly see and click on the checkout button or CTA? If you find any area of your site difficult to navigate then consumers will too. Work to fix these issues before the holidays start.
Easy Checkout Process – The best way to determine if your checkout process is easy on a mobile device is to run a few test conversions. When testing, consider whether your cart requires the user to create an account to purchase and how many form fields are required. The fewer steps the mobile consumer has to take to make a final purchase, the better. You should also make sure that the “Add to Cart” button is visible and that it makes clear to the consumer when an item has been added to the cart.
Remember, no matter how effective your PPC ad campaigns are, if they lead to a landing page or site that is not optimized for mobile devices, then there is a good chance that many consumers will move on to spend their money elsewhere. With mobile engagement in the e-commerce space set to rise another 50% by the end of the year, it’s important that your brand works to optimize site speed while providing a positive navigation and check out experience for any mobile shopper.
In addition to ensuring that your site is optimized for mobile, you should also work to optimize your PPC ads for mobile searches. Mobile searchers may use slightly different phrasing or keywords to search for products on their mobile devices, so be sure to do some mobile keyword research before developing your mobile PPC ads. You should also make sure that your mobile ad content is able to catch the attention of those searching on a smaller smartphone or tablet screen.
3. Refresh your ad copy to make it more relevant.
Though it may be easy to use the same ads that you used last holiday season, especially if they seemed to work, it’s important that you refresh your ad campaign content to make your ads relevant to this year’s sales and promotions. For instance, are you running a special Cyber Monday promotion? Or offering free shipping for all customers? Whatever deal you are promoting this holiday season, you need to include this information in your PPC ad copy.
As your holiday sales come to an end, you will want to add a sense of urgency to your PPC ads to entice users to click. You can do this using the Google AdWords countdown feature. This ad customization tool allow you to automatically update ad copy with upcoming deadlines. For instance, your ad copy will change from “Only 3 days left!” to “Only 2 days left!” and so on as the deal ends. By using specific deadlines to create a sense of urgency, you can work to improve conversions for your PPC ads each time you promote a holiday sale.
Another way that you can make your PPC ads more relevant is by including a holiday theme in your ad copy. For instance, if your e-commerce brand sells products that may not typically be thought of as gifts, you can work to highlight these products as unique holiday gifts in your ad copy. Along these same lines, you may also want to direct your PPC ads to holiday-themed landing pages to maintain relevancy across your ads and web site. The more relevant your ad campaign content, the greater your chances of converting visitors to customers.
4. Utilize remarketing to bring consumers back.
Remarketing is an excellent tactic to use to bring consumers back to your site to complete their purchase when they have left products behind in their shopping cart. Given the fact that consumers spend a significant amount of time online during the holiday season researching products and comparing prices, remarketing becomes an even more important strategy for e-commerce brands during the holidays.
People will often visit and browse several sites before making a purchasing decision. Using remarketing PPC ads helps you stay on top of their minds as they browse the web for gifts even after they have left your website. With Google Display Network (GDN) reaching 90% of internet users worldwide, you will be able to serve your remarketing ads to those who have already shown an interest in your brand and, hopefully, convince them to return to your site to complete their purchase.
Need help getting your PPC ads ready for the holidays? SevenAtoms, a Google AdWords agency, can help you develop and implement a winning PPC strategy to optimize your ads and boost sales during the busiest shopping season of the year. Sign up for a free consultation today.