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PPC Ad Strategies: How to Prepare for the 2011 Holidays

tabeling-jason
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Wait, what? Our plans for holiday are already needed? Isn’t it still summer?

That’s right, it’s that time again planning for the holiday, and in the search marketing world there are just a few days that become critical to this whole process. Those days are Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, and increasingly Free Shipping Day.

comscore-holiday-season-online-retail-spending

The comScore data above shows some of the growth in retail spending by each of these days. We’re talking about some staggering numbers. As a result, it’s critical to think about three main areas as you plan for November through the end of the year.

1. Keyword Research

Think through variations of keywords that people might be searching for. Are terms like “Black Friday shoe deals” right for what you have to offer? If so, it makes sense to add them to your keyword list; if not, build out your negatives.

Keyword CPC’s increase quickly. If you haven’t done the necessary keyword research, you may get caught with traffic you didn’t budget for. Two great tools are your historical search query reports and Google’s Insights for Search to gauge the volume bump.

2. Search Experience

Research shows that for Cyber Monday the purchases consumers are making are for things they weren’t planning on buying for more than 24 hours vs. Black Friday where purchases are a bit more planned out. This means that how you leverage keyword selection, ad copy, and landing page experiences will influence consumers to make purchases in real-time.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you cross-selling on your landing page, or within your site? 
  • Are you leveraging ad copy that calls out the duration of your offers? 
  • Are you using ad sitelinks, and map integrations to facilitate consumer choice and demand? 
  • Do you have mobile specific campaigns that leverage click-to-call, or mobile optimized landing pages? 
  • Do you have an inventory management process that will help you pull down ads, offers, or keywords when items are out of stock?

types-of-purchases-black-friday-cyber-monday

3. Impact to Offline

While this period is increasingly growing online, there is a direct correlation to offline sales. Consumers are looking for deals, and heading into stores.

2010-apparel-sales-online-offlineSource: Mastercard Spending Pulse 2010 Actuals

You can see above the spike in offline sales on Black Friday. It's important to note that your search programs are key to driving awareness and research for these offline events.

This is even more important if you think about your mobile campaigns. This year is likely to be the biggest ever for mobile traffic as people research while in store to validate they have the best deal. Consider optimizing or valuing store locator visits during these dates vs. simply online orders.

Summary

In retail, a year’s worth of revenue can occur in just a few days. How you prepare your campaigns ahead of time is critical. Blink and you’ll miss it.

The early holiday dates have continued to grow significantly year over year, and this year should be no different. Plan for budget increases, plan to be agile, and plan to have caffeine ready to go. These days are a very fun ride.


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