Don’t wait for the holidays to come knocking on your door – plan your holiday ad campaigns early and lend it enough flexibility to accommodate shifts in online consumer behavior. Take a hint from last year’s online holiday spending statistics.
Online consumer spending rose 12% from 2009 to $32.6 billion in 2010, and it’s expected to rise even further this year. Last year, 4 out of 5 days where paid conversion rates were at their highest were in November. The search for holiday gifts will start early again this year – perhaps even earlier than previous years.
So plan out your campaign and remember to watch your inventory, schedule bid boosts, and go mobile this coming holiday season.
Watch the Inventory
Manage your keyword bids to match your item inventory. While your business infrastructure might have been spared from the worst of the economic foibles of recent years, you know that your inventories were not. Real world cost-cutting inadvertently affected how many items a merchant can have at any given period of time. This holiday season is no different.
Given that a certain item could go out of stock easily if a successful keyword campaign causes high conversion rates for it, you should keep an eye out for dwindling supplies and pause relevant keyword campaigns whenever necessary. Otherwise, you could end up spending for paid search that leads visitors to out of stock items, which of course get you no conversions.
You can expect decreased conversion rates on limited items. This means you can set up alerts whenever there are drastic conversion rate decreases which may point out telling reductions in inventory.
Schedule Bid Boosts
Anticipate spikes in online consumer spending and “boost” your keyword bids accordingly. No, you do not need to turn clairvoyant and see the future in a crystal ball. You just need to know the probabilities – and the probability that this year’s holiday trends will resemble last year’s is pretty high.
Use your revenue per click (RPC) trends in 2010 as a guide. Take note when your RPC rates increased and how much they increased. Create a schedule of bid boosts accordingly.
So if in 2010 you noticed a 10% RPC rate increase during early November, a 30% increase in late November and early December, and a 15% increase until the first few days of January, then you should pattern your keyword bids to match these expected RPC spikes this year.
Of course, after the festivities – and the RPC rate increases – are over, reset your bid levels to normal.
Develop a mobile marketing strategy. The social media phenomenon is not the only trend you should take advantage of. Google estimated that as much as 44% of last-minute gift searches will be done on mobile devices – don’t miss out on the opportunity.
There are a few tricks you can use to bolster your mobile marketing strategy. For one thing, position your ads above the fold. There’s too little space on a mobile device; users should be able to see what you offer without scrolling down. Another facet of mobile Web browsing that you can take advantage of is using location extensions within ads to conveniently point shoppers to nearest store locations. The ease and convenience this offers might not mean much for planned holiday gift research, but for people doing last-minute shopping, it might be the only sales pitch you need.
A mobile strategy separate from tablet or desktop oriented campaigns is a must, especially during high-risk, high-profit holiday seasons.
Maximizing the Holiday Spirit
You already know that the busy shopping days of the coming winter holidays also usher in the busiest SEO campaigns for your business. So just match your keyword campaigns to your inventory, boost your keyword bids based on probability, and make sure you have an aggressive mobile marketing strategy, and your holiday ad campaigns will give you a truly Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.