7 tips to ramp up your holiday advertising

Search marketers, are you ready for the holiday shopping season? Columnist Mona Elesseily shares tips for getting the most out of your holiday paid search ads.

7 tips to ramp up your holiday advertising

It’s never too early to start thinking about holiday advertising, as Q4 is the biggest quarter for many retailers. Naturally, many of our clients have their holiday advertising plans in place for the Christmas holiday season.

But it’s not too late if you haven’t already started. In this article, I’ll cover some quick and not-so-quick ways you can prepare yourself for the holidays. Depending on your business, you can use many of the same ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

1. Label all key holiday brands

I label all Christmas campaigns but highlight key products and/or strategic brands we’re focused on for the holiday season. This provides sanity in accounts with a very broad Christmas focus.

Apply a quick filter, and you can be looking at exactly what you want without getting bogged down and/or distracted by other account details like generic categories.

2. Use ad extensions

Naturally, ad extensions are a great way to incorporate holiday messaging and get searchers right to information they’re looking for. Here are some examples of how one can use the various extension products for the holiday season.

We like to include sitelink extensions for all holiday pages. Here’s an example of sitelink wording we’ve been using to promote specific pages: Stocking Stuffers, Baby’s First Christmas, Gift Guide, Gourmet Treats, Home Entertaining & Hostess.

We also incorporate visual sitelinks, as the images are effective in drawing attention to ads. Though not holiday-themed, here’s an example of visual sitelinks on a mobile phone:

7 tips to ramp up your holiday advertising

We use callout extensions to highlight delivery around the holiday season, as it’s one of the biggest concerns of shoppers during the holidays. Here’s some sample wording we’ve used: “Guaranteed Christmas Delivery,” “Dec 18 Last Shipping Date.”

We use promotion extensions. We include the date range when the offer is valid and have found that shorter date ranges tend to convert better than longer ones. Try percentage discounts, especially if the discount is significant (e.g., above 30 percent). Numerical value discounts can be effective for larger-ticket items if the discount is a larger number (e.g., $150 off). The promo code is useful to track sales.

We use structured snippet extensions. Under the header “types,” you can try Christmas Deals, Late Deals, Last-Minute Deals and so forth to get extra Christmas verbiage into ads.

3. Build out generic terms

During the holidays, we like to build out generic terms, as there are more opportunities for ads to be seen and for people to purchase products. In the New Year, we examine data and figure out what makes sense to further expand. Here are some examples:

  • Gifts for age/boy/girl/child.
  • Toys for age/boy/girl/child.
  • Types of toys (wooden, educational, building/construction, dolls, plush, etc.).

We also try giving generic terms a holiday angle. Be creative and dig deep to find permutations and combinations that you think make sense. The keyword tool can be a great way to find opportunities here. We recently came across “secret Santa gift ideas.” Here are some other examples:

  • Baby’s first Christmas.
  • Christmas toys, holiday toy stores, holiday toy shop.
  • Christmas gifts for her, best gifts for her, etc.
  • Christmas gifts for him, best gifts for him, etc.
  • Gifts for pets.

4. Revamp ad copy!

Of course, adding Christmas terms to ad copy is an effective strategy, so go Christmas-crazy in your ads. Here are some ideas you can try:

  • Buy Today & Receive Before Christmas
  • Shop Now For Stress-Free Holidays!

The countdown feature is also very effective when incorporated into ad copy. Here are some ideas:

  • Holiday Shipping Ends in {countdown} days. Shop Now!
  • Hurry, Only {countdown} days to order for Christmas!

Many people buy for themselves during the holiday season, so don’t forget to target this group, too. Personally, if I see something I like, I buy one for me and one for someone I’m shopping for. In ad copy, something as simple as “Treat Yourself” can be an effective strategy to target these shoppers.

5. Shopping campaigns

In particular, we find that adding Merchant Promotions to Shopping campaigns is very effective. The “special offer” link makes ads stand out from competitors. Shoppers are always looking for a deal, so these promotions are immediately appealing to many searchers.

We’ve compared deal verbiage in headlines, sitelinks, Shopping ads with no Merchant Promotion and Shopping ads with Merchant Promotions. From the latter, we’ve seen hands-down the best increases in conversions and decreases in CPA from using this strategy.

7 tips to ramp up your holiday advertising

6. Remarketing

For the holidays, we like to retarget visitors who visit holiday pages. Using Google Analytics (GA) custom audiences is powerful because they can be tied to data available in GA like particular behaviors, time on site and so on.

We also like Smart Lists. They are remarketing lists that Google creates for you based on your conversion data in Google Analytics. With this, Google considers various signals like location, device type and browser and gauges if a user is likely to convert. The list includes users they think will convert relatively soon. The data used is recent and can really help holiday sales. (For more info on different audiences, take a look at this article.)

Of course, using Dynamic Remarketing (based on items people have previously searched for) is an effective strategy, too.

7. Don’t forget Bing!

In some accounts, Bing accounts for 30+ percent of our overall search traffic. So don’t forget to target Bing! We complete work in Google (like new holiday buildouts) and import campaigns fairly easily over to Bing.

The holiday season begins now

Many shoppers have already begun their holiday shopping, so don’t delay! What tactics are you employing to boost your paid search campaign performance this holiday season?



[Appeared on Search Engine Land.]

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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