29 Nov 2011

Prepare for the Holidays with PPC

November 29, 2011PPC Advertising

The holidays are upon us. People are spending time with family, they are having more time off of work and most importantly, they are spending money, and lots of it. As an advertiser, you should already be prepared for the onslaught of holiday purchases, but if you are still figuring out your strategy, here are some important things to know this season.
Google recently released their fourth annual study on consumer holiday shopping trends and intentions. The findings in this research did not come as a surprise to many, as it supported the predictions of many online marketing professionals – more people are using mobile and tablet devices for their holiday shopping. In addition, it revealed some new information that more than ever, people are using search engines to influence their buying decisions, and ads aren’t able to keep up with the influx of search queries.
You can use these findings to shape your advertising strategy and boost your sales this holiday season. Here are some of the key factors that you should keep in mind:
More than half of all consumers (55% to be more accurate) plan on taking advantage of using coupons this season. With the American economy still in a rut, consumers are hard pressed to find a deal. You should develop creative promotions and coupons to ensure that your customers feel that they are getting the best bang for their buck. This can also introduce you to new customers, who will be more likely to return after the holiday rush.
Around 46% of consumers claim that they will use search engine sites to research the gifts that they purchase this year. This gives you the opportunity to try out a variety of online marketing tactics. Create an AdWords Campaign solely for the holidays, try a click-to-call strategy or branch into using online video to promote your products. The more that people browse, the more chances you have to make holiday-related conversions.
Studies showed that there is a 5% increase in consumers using deal-targeted sites like dealnews.com, group-buying sites like Groupon and Living Social and social networking sites like Facebook to influence their holiday shopping. These sites have the ability to reach unique markets while promoting special prices for their members.
Consumers have boosted their search queries up 26% since last year, yet Google is selling 26% less ad space. This proves that these searches are multiplying faster than ads can keep up. This means lower CPC prices for you. You should plan to invest in new campaigns now, before everyone else does. This insures hard to beat rates and the opportunity to saturate your market before your competitors do.
Potential shoppers also claimed that they would begin making their holiday purchases in the next three weeks. With the passing of Black Friday, many have already begun. Now is the best time to reach your audience.
Now that you have the numbers, what instruction should you take from this research? Here are some tips to ensure that you are doing your best to reach your audience this season.
Try incorporating online video into your advertising strategy. People are using this more than ever when making purchasing decisions. TrueView advertisements are AdWords video ads on YouTube. Because you are only charged when a viewer watches for at least 30 seconds, this ensures that you aren’t paying for ads that are skipped or accidentally clicked. Video ads, though their conversion rates aren’t as high, also tend to be about four times cheaper than their desktop counterparts.
Take advantage of mobile and tablet-only ads. This market is currently underserved, yet it is huge and still growing. Create campaigns that are specific to this medium and you’re bound to reach some affluent users. The economic status of tablet buyers tends to be higher than those of regular desktop buyers. Use this knowledge to reach this audience through a tablet-only campaign.
Incorporate coupons into your marketing strategy. This could mean using promotional codes, advertising on comparison sites, or opening the door to group-buying sites like Groupon. This is a great opportunity to reach new consumers who could become return customers in the future.
If you are a large brand, focus on the national market. You’ll see hundreds of major brands roll out holiday campaigns during the weeks leading up to Christmas and Chanukah. If your company is on the smaller side, find some ways to focus on your local audience. You can do this by using different demographics within your AdWords campaigns, such as geography or sometimes using different languages depending on where your local market may be.
Finally, if you haven’t hopped on the mobile site bandwagon, it is time to do so now. If you haven’t tapped into this market you are definitely missing out on a huge number of users. Recent studies have shown that more people are doing their browsing on their smartphones and tablets than ever before. Not only are people performing search queries, but they are also searching for store locations and phone numbers, and making purchases directly from these devices. It’s important to have optimized mobile sites that can handle these demands and complete valuable conversions. To ignore this market is to ignore the majority of consumers today.
Take some tips from Google’s Fourth Annual Research on Consumer Shopping Trends and Intentions report. By using these guidelines, you are on track to create successful holiday campaigns and increase your sales this season.