Holidays and other prime spending occasions call for adjustments in budgeting and planning to ensure your brand stays at the top of the search results page.
According to the National Retail Federation, spending for Father’s Day is expected to reach a 13-year high this year, providing vast opportunity for online retailers. As the holiday approaches, our team of paid search experts at Rise has put together a few tips and tricks that can be applied to your Father’s Day campaigns — and earmarked for future busy spending seasons.
1. Use year-over-year data to anticipate search volumes during peak seasons.
With constant advancements in digital marketing and online advertising, the demand for purchasing products and services online continues to grow. This is great news for online retailers, but can be tricky when it comes to allocating your monthly budget to accommodate daily search volume and potential spikes.
You don’t want your ads to miss out on impression share or to not show up in search results due to an insufficient daily budget. At Rise, we build out accurate projections through a number of tools including Google Trends Search Volume Index. This publicly available resource tracks how often a particular search term is entered relative to the total search volume of a given location.
For instance, to develop Mother’s Day search strategies for our clients, we used Google Trends to build out projections for the two months leading up to the holiday. By pulling the Search Volume Index for each day in April and May 2015, then adjusting those dates for April and May 2016, we were able to develop accurate daily projections to distribute our clients’ budgets in a way that best accommodated surges in search volume and conversion rates.
2. Create specialized ad copy and keywords specific to the holiday or event.
The majority of our clients leverage specialized ad copy during their peak seasons and holidays. In order to capture seasonal shoppers, our team creates ads and keywords that convey these limited time promotions.
For instance, we’ve helped clients within the travel vertical create hyper-local ads that callout a specific upcoming holiday or event. The ability to personalize ad copy for individual users has resulted in significant increases in click-through-rates, which translate to lower costs-per-lead compared to standard, national ad copy. Hyper-local ad copy can also work to drive incremental in-store traffic and direct sales for e-commerce clients. We’ve found this to be especially true during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
As a data-driven team, our process includes testing different versions of ad copy, rotated evenly within the same ad group, to confirm which will resonate best with a particular audience. We’ve also learned that copy highlighting brands’ new seasonal products or offerings proves to have the strongest overall performance.
3. Be prepared to launch campaigns earlier than expected; timing is key!
Have your search campaigns ready and recognize that increases in search volume may start earlier than you projected. For example, this year, search traffic for keywords containing “Mother’s Day” began weeks before initial predictions. In fact, “Mother’s Day” searches were occurring in April, before many of our clients’ Mother’s Day landing pages even went live!
This year, we reacted to this unanticipated interest by launching one of our largest client’s Mother’s Day campaigns a few weeks early. By paying attention to trends and acting on an emerging opportunity, we were able to achieve low costs-per-click, as the competition had not yet entered that market. In fact, the campaign achieved an impressive 18% decrease in cost-per-click for “Mother’s Day” search terms.
The key to being successful in an early launch is being prepared ahead of time. This includes completing daily reports on search terms before and during each busy season. If you’re seeing indicators that searches are up, be ready to launch your campaign immediately to capture search traffic at the lowest possible cost-per-click.
4. Stay up-to-date on current news that could potentially impact performance by frequently checking your search term reports.
The last thing you want to do is spend budget on irrelevant search queries. These are queries that increase daily spend, but do not drive performance — often influenced by current events and news. By frequently tracking Google Alerts and Google Trends, you’ll be able to easily monitor the web for interesting and high search volume terms related to your products or services. If you find an event that is generating irrelevant traffic, you can create a negative keyword to refrain from participating in that search auction. This is a tactic that can be used throughout the year, but is especially important during busy seasons.
Another important way to stay up to date on both your brands and competitors is to use social feeds. Some of the best Google Alert alternatives are Socialmention.com and Talkwalker.com, which allow you to gain greater insight into how your actual customers are speaking about your brand.
As you plan out your paid search campaigns for the rest of the year, keep these tips in mind to ensure optimal performance during holidays and other peak traffic times. For more information on running efficient search campaigns, reach out to Rise.