“Plan for the holidays early” is a well-known proverb in the online advertising space. For many online advertisers, the Q4 holiday season is what makes or breaks the year. While general planning of offers, product mix, and pricing is obviously crucial, it’s equally important to prep your campaigns for the upcoming holiday season. I know what you’re thinking – “Do I really need to start this in September?” The answer, actually, is yes. Let’s take a look at some key tactics that you should begin to explore sooner rather than later.
Get Your Product Listing Ads (PLAs) in order – Product Listing Ads on Google are proving to be incredibly beneficial for retailers thanks to their high conversion rates. Make sure that you’ve got the products that you want to push for holiday season in your feed. Make use of labels within your feed to segment your holiday products, so that you can bid independently for them and write a promotional message that’s holiday-specific. My recommendation is to set up your PLA targets in their own campaigns, so that you have precise control over bids and budgets.
Start Writing Your Ad and Landing Page Creative – As most of us know, having alignment between ad creative and landing pages is one of the most crucial principles of conversion. Start writing your holiday text ads and landing page creative now. Make sure to talk about your offers, special deals, “door busters”, etc. I’d get these ad creative loaded into your campaigns now (even as paused), so that when it’s time to turn them on, everything is already in place. I’d also consider starting to run some holiday creative now just to build some initial awareness. Believe it or now, people start the gift research phase now, so it’s never a bad idea to get your brand and your products into the consideration set early in the game.
Use SiteLinks – If you’re savvy, you’re already using AdWords and AdCenter SiteLinks within your campaigns and ad groups. Why not get your holiday landing page up early, and link it to one of your SiteLinks? This is a great way to create some initial awareness that you’re “in the holiday game”, and you can use this as a way to capture emails for your holiday offers if you’re not actually ready to show your products. This is particularly powerful on branded terms – Let people who already know about your brand know that they can rely on you for some stellar holiday deals!
Get Your Remarketing Lists Set – Remarketing is one of the most powerful tools that you can use for the holiday season. If you’re going to start to create awareness now, you’d better start cooking people on a segmented list for retargeting down the road! By using remarketing lists in Google Analytics, you can create AdWords lists tied to any dimension, metric, or visitor behavior. So, if a user came in on one of your holiday-themed SiteLinks now, you can create a segment just for those individuals. This will allow you to have really precise creative (text and display) to bring these folks back to your store. The earlier you build your cookie pool for the holidays, the more reach you’ll have.
Bid on Generic Terms Now – Gift keywords tend to get really pricey around Black Friday. If bidding on these is part of your plan, do it now. While volume will be lower than it will be in November or December, the clicks are going to be much cheaper and you can get those early gift seekers before it’s too late.
Bonus Tip: Adjust Your Bid Rules and Attribution Models – if you’re going to be creating awareness early, it’s important to adjust your bid rules and algorithms to have longer lookback periods so that you’re not unfairly bidding down terms that are introducing or influencing as opposed to closing conversions. You might want to consider going as long as 90 days so that you can really rely on attribution. This means that you’ll likely be deficit spending on terms that show a poor ROI initially, but you’ll very likely see conversions increase on an attributed basis (especially if you are using remarketing). Make sure you’re using Score Revenue and related metrics in your bid rules!
So there you have it – six ways to accelerate your holiday promotions. Getting your holiday promotions now could make the difference between Santa being naughty or nice to your bottom line in December.