You should be planning your PPC holiday marketing campaigns right now.
Seriously, the earlier the better. Many large brands have plans set a year in advance and begin constructing holiday season (October—December) campaigns in the summer.
The holiday season boasts the most lucrative quarter for many online businesses. Orders multiply, average order sizes increase, and conversion rates skyrocket during the holiday season. Notably, some online retailers make up to a third of their yearly revenue in the final quarter of the year.
Oracle, partnered with Edison Research, found that 76% of people surveyed used online means to do their holiday shopping in 2015:
Your business needs a strategy to ensure that you catch some of the increased online traffic and sales that the holiday season brings.
Creating effective strategies requires ample preparation time and critical thinking. Consider past performance, new promotions, and all of the individual holidays riddled throughout the season.
Holiday Season Online Customers Buy Early
Your customers will appreciate your preparations as well. Shoppers use the internet to reduce their frantic last-minute shopping. In fact, Frederick Vallaeys, former Google employee & PPC champion, analyzing an SMX East panel, mentions that: “25 percent of holiday shoppers started buying in October” and “48 percent [of holiday shoppers] had completed most shopping by Cyber Monday last year.”
Sean Popen, senior director of Ecommerce at Office Depot, adds that, for his company, “Cyber Monday was the biggest day in US online shopping in history last year.”
Preparing PPC Holiday Marketing Campaigns
People are doing their online shopping earlier, and you need to be able to reach them with your holiday season PPC when and where they’re searching for holiday deals.
Taking advantage of the holiday season with PPC requires a lot of work. We’ve put together a checklist for any business wanting to take advantage of PPC to boost their sales during the holiday season:
1. Review Important Dates: Find out which holidays your business would be able to do promotions or sales on. These would be dates that you think you can be prepared for relevantly.
Communicate with your marketing teams which dates you’re planning to hit such as: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s, and more.
2. Determine Promotion Dates: Now that you know which holidays you want to market on, it’s time to figure out the date range of your promotions and sales. You’ll have to decide the timeframe of your promotion. Will it be two weeks around the holiday, two days, two hours? It’s up to you.
3. Determine Your Offers: Knowing when and for how long you’ll have a promotion, you can now decide what these promotions will actually be. Keep it simple and easily executable here.
4. Creative for Promotions: Promotions figured out, you’ll now need to choose the supports for your promotions. Will you build custom landing pages for your holiday traffic?
Custom banner ads and video ads? Whatever you want, make sure the marketing team creating the resources both thinks they’ll be effective and has ample time to create them.
5. Benchmark Last Year: Did you run holiday season promotions last year? If not, did you notice higher traffic or more sales volume during last year’s holiday season?
Work with your marketing team to pull this data and use it to set target metrics for this year.
6. Select Appropriate Channels: With your promotions in stone and your creative established to back them up you’ll now have to choose which online PPC channels will be most effective for your holiday season marketing.
Converse with your marketing team to analyze previous year’s results and projections for the current year’s performance to determine which networks are right for you.
7. PPC Budgets: How much are you willing to spend for what results? More conversation with your marketing team will help you decide, but you should come to the table with a general idea of your sales’ goals and the ad spend you want to achieve them with.
8. Emergency Contact(s): In case your website is overloaded with holiday season traffic or something else unforeseeable goes wrong, you’ll need a go-to person for each aspect of your online marketing.
Have a PPC contact to pause/adjust your campaigns to not waste ad spend. Keep your developer close-by for any website malfunctions as well as your designers for landing pages and other creative going wrong.
Your PPC management will need extra warning and insight into your plans before even attempting to do the work. This will involve you actually having a holiday season plan and then being able to disclose relevant details to your digital marketing teams.
You’ll have to decide how to allocate your resources for the most important extra work.
Additional Considerations for PPC Holiday Marketing Campaigns
Here are a few considerations to make for 2016’s specific holiday season:
1. Last-minute gift solution: the gift card. Retailmenot’s Shopper Trends Report found that 9 in 10 US citizens have had to buy last-minute gifts. 64% of holiday shoppers praise gift-cards as the best last-minute gift.
2. Amazon dominates holiday season ecommerce. It might be time to get your products and ads on Amazon. This survey from BloomReach describes Amazon’s holiday hegemony, including the fact that 73% of customers planned to buy from Amazon during the 2016 season.
3. Mobile-friendliness: will also require mobile responsive holiday season shopping. If you’re not mobile-friendly yet, at least be so for the holiday season (for the love of everything digital!).
Start Preparing and Warn Your Marketers!
The best holiday marketing captures the spirit of the holidays confidently and subtly. Rushed work will be difficult to shield from the critical, all-knowing customer’s gaze.
So, inform your marketers of your holiday promotions and reap the rewards!
If you think your PPC holiday marketing campaigns could use a boost, we’re always available for a word (just make sure you contact us with enough time to think about the holidays!).