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Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 at 7:30 am

12 Days Of Conversions: Day 5-Paid Search Campaigns

By Mariel Bacci
November 29th, 2011

Keyboard with blue christmas tress and red 2011 keysSpend more to get more.  That saying is more important to ecommerce sites during the holidays than during any other time of year. Aggregate conversion rate throughout the web increases over the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, so it is only natural to increase PPC spend during this time.  Make sure your additional spend is as fruitful as possible by following these 5 tips to increase revenue on PPC spend over the holiday season:

#1 Maintain Scent

The most important thing to do to optimize your PPC campaigns this season is to maintain a consistent buying path from keyword to checkout. Make sure your PPC advertisements are appropriate for the buying stage of your prospects’ keywords.  If you do a good job displaying appropriate ad content, be sure your landing page lives up to the promise of your advertisement.  If you promise free shipping in your ad, you better reassure your visitor throughout their shopping experience right into the shopping cart that free shipping is exactly what they will get.

We are big advocates of maintaining scent here at Future Now, and we cannot stress why this is more important than ever during the holidays.  You will be getting more traffic and you should be converting at a higher rate.  There is a huge opprotunity right now and your visitors experiences will stay with them in the year to come.

#2 Don’t Misread Your Data

Do not look at your data in November to decide on how to adjust your PPC campaigns in December.  In November, you may see increasing costs for some of your keywords without an increase in conversion; don’t bid them down just yet because a few weeks later those same keywords may turn out to be your top performers.

Studies show that over half of people begin researching Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving, but the majority of purchases occur in mid-December. Google’s holiday survey suggests that 57% of consumers begin researching holiday purchases before Thanksgiving, but 77% of purchases happen after Thanksgiving.  Look at your ad performance from last year instead of last month. Observe how people found your site last December and draw your insights from there.  A lot of things change in a year, but holiday spend from year to year is more consistent than month to month.

#3 Track Offline Sales

Shoppers frequently research online, but continue on to purchase offline either in the store or over the phone.  They either do not feel comfortable entering payment information online, are unsure of when their gift will arrive, want to see the merchandise in person, or need the reassurance that a return or exchange will be easy.  Be sure you are tracking conversions that start online and end up in a store or as a phone order.

Either add a “call us now” or  “visit our store” links on your site. When one of these pages are viewed, you can count it as a secondary conversion.  Why does this matter?  Keywords, campaigns, and affiliates deserve credit for the conversion.  You will know more accurately which vectors are leading to an increase in your conversion rate.

#4 Turn Your Products into Gifts

During the holiday season people are buying presents for others, and will be on the lookout for advertisements targeting holiday gifts, sales, and shipping promotions. You might think to yourself, ‘come on lady friend, tell me something I don’t know,’ but you would be surprised at the number of ecommerce sites that do not adjust their PPC ads to reflect this fact.  People need help finding the perfect gift.  Adjust your keyword mix to include more holiday terms, not just the keywords people associate with your products and brands during the rest of the year.  An example might be an ad for a circular saw:

Google PPC ads for Circular Saw

You should also have a PPC campaign set up for holiday gift cards. Around 70% of shoppers plan to purchase gift cards this year, according to Google.   Gift cards are a safe online buying option and convenient for long distance relatives and business gifts.  Make sure you aren’t missing out on your share of the profit this season.

#5 Spend More Money Over The Holidays

Here at Future Now, we always advocate allocating your PPC spend to very targeted keywords.  Over the holidays, with more people both spending money and converting, it is okay to put a little more of your spend on more competitive keywords.  With the increased online conversion over the holidays, more traffic to your site with slightly broader keywords is more likely to increase ROI than any other time of year.  With this being said, late and middle stage keywords still deserve the most attention.  Show off this holiday and get yourself noticed by more early stage buyers who are primed to buy more than usual and will move through the buying process more quickly.

How do you prepare your PPC campaign for the holidays?  Do you increase your investment in PPC or do you think your normal spend will get you through the season?  Do you have any advice on how to optimize PPC ads this time of year?  What has or hasn’t worked for you in the past?  Do you need assistance allocating PPC spend and maintaining scent through the buying process?  We’ve got your back.

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Comments (6)

  1. First time on your blog, somebody recommended it i should read.
    I love it, i have some reading to do this weekend, hope to interact with you about your posts.

  2. Yes indeed increasing advertising budget right now gets you more earning. Good article!

  3. at these hot times of the year, if you snooze you lose!

    Thanks for the great post.

  4. I feel your article is fascinating me. I like it, I have to do some posts this weekend, I hope to learn from your article.
    Thank you! Good post

  5. Thanks for the information it will really help to built a PPC campaign

  6. A budget must always be higher than you’re willing to spend so that you’re ad is shown throughout the day rather than sporadically due to a low budget

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Mariel is a GA certified analyst at FutureNow, Inc.

More articles from Mariel Bacci

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