The Holiday Paid Search Survival Guide

By — 11.12.15

Holiday Paid Search Guide

The holidays are here, so we compiled ten last minute tactical PPC recommendations to help paid search marketers get through the season successfully—and possibly save you some sleepless nights. Because it’s a busy time for everyone in the digital space, it’s easy to overlook simple steps that could make a huge difference. All ten areas we cover are intended to help you monitor performance during the holiday season and quickly make adjustments within your paid search account as needed. Read on to view three tips, or click here to get access to the full report – Holiday Paid Search Survival Guide.

Leverage All Available Ad Extensions

Ensuring that you have 100% ad extension coverage is an easy win. Ad extensions create more reasons to click your ad, which is going to boost your CTR. The more extensions you have, the greater visibility your ads will have. Since ad extensions help improve CTR, this will also positively impact Quality Score (QS). Google also takes ad extensions into account when determining Ad Rank, therefore the higher on the page your ad is shown, in conjunction with a higher CTR, the greater your opportunity to convert those clicks and see a better return. Start by implementing sitelinks on all campaigns. Utilize Extended Sitelinks as well on your top campaigns, at a minimum. There are many ad extensions available now (callout, review, call, location, custom extensions etc.), so you will likely be able to add multiple types.

Custom Extension for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Custom Extension for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Customize Your Holiday Dayparting

Because consumer behavior changes so rapidly, traditional bid management often doesn’t have the time to take advantage of the shifts in consumer behavior and seasonal opportunities. While normal bid management can be considered more reactive, dayparting can be considered proactive. During the holidays we recommend making some tactical changes to your regular dayparting.

First, lean towards being more aggressive with your dayparting and factor in promotional schedules, peak days and shipping cut-offs to your decision making. Next, use daily (and ideally hourly) bid parting as an additional bid management tool to help meet performance and budget goals. Third, ensure that your strategy takes into account performance differences in traffic segments such as PLAs, brand and non- brand search. Finally, when predicting seasonal spikes, we recommend that you look at last year’s RPCs by day to determine what your optimal bids should be. Major swings in revenue per click (RPC) will occur from one day to the next during the holidays (see illustration).

Source: Adlucent Internal Data Holiday 2014

Source: Adlucent Internal Data Holiday 2014

Optimize for Mobile

Mobile will be a game changer this holiday season so ensure that your mobile strategy is optimized. Start by making sure your mobile bid modifiers are optimally set to capture expected increases in mobile traffic. Instead of just using the standard bid modifier calculation, look at return on ad spend (ROAS) as well to see where bids can be boosted. Keep in mind that mobile CPCs are relatively low when compared with desktop CPCs, so you should be able to be more aggressive on mobile. Also, consider position more heavily as only a couple ad positions get the majority of traffic on mobile, making an aggressive mobile bid modifier essential during the holidays.

Second, take advantage of Google’s new Mobile Bid Simulator. This new feature shows historical account performance based on different mobile bids given the auction over the last seven days. Performance for KPIs such as traffic, max CPC, competitor bids etc. are all factored in to help determine what results you would have seen based on setting a different bid in the auction. While the bid simulator can’t predict what will happen, it is useful to see how much traffic may have been lost if your bids were lower than other competitors. This feature is available on both search and shopping.

Third, use mobile specific ad text. Phrases such as “Easy-to-Use Mobile Site” vs standard desktop ad text like “Order Yours Online Today!” will typically result in higher click-through-rates. Want to learn more? Read about the results of our latest analysis on mobile ad text testing here.

Finally, ensure that mobile site improvements focus on speed and ease of site use to capture the numerous, fragmented micro-sessions that occur on mobile. Holiday shoppers are busier and more distracted than ever, so making their mobile experience as simple as possible is key. For more insights, check out Google’s mobile design principles.

While many digital marketers begin planning for the holidays in the late summer months, it’s never too late to adjust your strategy to capture new opportunities—it could net you thousands, or millions in unexpected revenue.

Ready for more tips? Click here to download a copy of the Holiday Paid Search Survival Guide.


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