Running an AdWords campaign for the Christmas season can seem like a daunting task. There are so many advertisers competing at the exact same time to garner attention from the same potential clients – so how do you ensure success? Read on…
Coincidentally, Christmas is also coming this year! While this might not be a huge surprise, it’s now time to get prepared for the massive spike in interest, demand and sales the end of the year generates for many businesses. We have broken down our list of seasonal advice and tips in Before and During chapters to allow you to make the most out of this Christmas Season on AdWords – and boost your Return on Investment!
Before the Christmas Season
Create a separate campaign
This is a very specific time of the year and so has to be your campaign. Having a dedicated Christmas campaign allows you to adjust settings and allocate budget individually on this one; while keeping some of your regular campaigns active at same or lower budget, if need be.
Check your payment methods
You do not want to witness your campaign going AWOL during this critical time of the year, so make sure you have enough funds in the bank and add a back-up credit card to confirm everything will run flawlessly.
Define your conversions and goals
First of all, if this has not be done yet, implement conversion tracking. How would you know what works and what doesn’t, how would you make sound decisions? Make sure you set up goals and perform rigorous monitoring. You also need to specify what your cost per acquisition and per conversion objectives are – and stick to them.
Link AdWords with Google Analytics
You will learn many interesting aspects of your campaign performance but also what your existing users are interested in. Not only is this a straight and easy way to get more information out of your campaign, but it also provides you with a great return on time spent – linking both platforms will only take 5 minutes of your time.
Plan to run your campaign early
Do not wait for the last minute to create your seasonal campaign. Not only will you miss out on the early shoppers (who are mostly looking for a deal and will take time to find the right offer); but you will have less time to analyse your campaign data and react accordingly.
Adapt your message
Yes, this is a seasonal campaign but does it really have to have “Christmas” or “gifts” written down on every ad and landing page? Well, yes, it does. Whether it’s about keyword selection, ad copy or landing page, you need to make sure your campaign is hyper relevant. Be in tone with the season while adhering to your message and brand guidelines. This is what users are looking for – a confirmation they are on the right page to perform the action they are after.
Add Extensions – all of them
Sitelinks and Callouts are a great way to display that extra bit of information or key value proposition that will make a difference in the end. Use them and (once again) make sure they adhere to the seasonal theme.
Prevent gaps and issues
Should you deliver items, make sure to mention the last date for processing orders. That way, your prospective customers know they will have their item in time for Christmas. Display this in your ad, landing page copy, callout extension: make it easy for your customers to access this information.
During the Christmas Season
Manage your budget wisely
Be ready for (potentially massive) spikes (both in terms of Cost Per Click and clicks; thus in overall spend), notably because the Christmas Season usually generates much more interest and activity. As a security measure, get your email address listed in the Billing section so you know firsthand if a credit card decline should happen.
Be very flexible with your bidding
Align your individual keyword bidding with current campaign results and update as frequently as necessary, even multiple times a day. Never set and forget a campaign bidding settings.
Monitor conversions and adapt
Implement a methodology to monitor your conversions on a very regular basis and where they are coming from. This is where you will reap the most benefits from your campaign: by spotting trends and patterns and constantly aligning your settings to boost your ROI. Which leads us to…
Address campaign performance
Get rid of anything that is not working towards your goals: keywords, ads, ad groups that do not meet your criteria should be eliminated. They are driving you down! Numbers do not lie, so stick to them.
Know your competition
If your competitors advertise a “last processing” date earlier than yours, do not get head-to-head with them around their peak ad period. Don’t start a bidding war. Rather keep a substantial slice of your budget for when they are off the air.
Generate your own demand
Things are getting slower? Plan for a specific 48-hour promotion. This will generate some sense of urgency and help differentiate your offer, shaping your unique value proposition at the same time.
Users buy for others, not themselves
The buying cycle is much shorter during the holiday season. Keep this in mind and adjust your offer according to the fact that your searchers look for a gift for others; which is a totally different shopping behaviour than buying for oneself and comparing advantages of different products. This will be even more important when getting closer and closer to Christmas itself: late shoppers need a gift now.
Weekends, weekends, weekends
There is much more activity on those campaigns on Saturdays and Sundays than during the rest of the year. If you intend on reaping the maximal benefits from your ads this year, you will have to monitor and adjust your campaign during weekends as well…
Build up your own data
You have worked hard to get those results at the end of the festive season. Congratulations! Even if next year’s landscape will be different (different products, competitors, budget, objectives…), you have gained a substantial amount of knowledge during those last weeks. Make sure this data is available next year: it should be used as a starting point for next year’s campaign.
The Christmas Season is potentially your biggest revenue driver of the year. Don’t go to war unprepared. With some adequate planning, tactics, monitoring and flexibility, you can make a big difference on the bottom line of your seasonal AdWords campaign.