It’s almost October and you know what that means. No, I’m not talking about figuring out how to end things with your summer fling or how to make your Justin Bieber Halloween costume less creepy, I’m talking about how to get your online marketing adequately prepared for the upcoming holiday season! If you think that September is too early to be gearing up for that all important fourth quarter, then you’re doing your competition a huge favor. Luckily, Q4 isn’t something to fear; it’s something to get excited about. Even if you aren’t a retailer, Q4 can mean the beginning of a new fiscal year, the return from a long vacation or the preparation period for the beginning of the 2012 calendar year for your potential clients.
Below, I’ve laid out five PPC management tips for Q4 that can be applied very easily for advertisers of all stripes, from eCommerce stores looking to have a big Christmas season to B2B service providers looking to keep a leg up on competing firms:
1. Get a preview of what to expect using Google Insights: Google Insights for Search is a tool that advertisers can use to see historic trends for some of their top keywords over time.
In order to get an idea of what you can expect out of your potential audience, try entering in a few of your high volume terms into Google Insights. Make sure that you set your parameters correctly. For most of my clients, I like to view data from the United States only and I prefer to use a date range of January 2009 through January 2011. This will show you the most recent two holiday seasons and how they compare to other months. If you notice a big or even moderate increase in searches around Q4–as is shown in the graph above–you may want to consider raising your budget accordingly. You also may wish consider the addition of new channels of advertising, even if you plan only a limited engagement for the holidays.
Bonus Tips: If you’re expecting more traffic, you may be interested in trying the following:
- Seasonal ads can often provide a boost. Try a holiday message in your AdWords ads.
- Not sure if you’re ready to up your bids? Ask Wpromote about Google AdWords Campaign Experiments which allow you to bid in two places at once and review the results!
- Consider adding “Black Friday,” “Cyber Monday” and other sale keywords to the account.
2. Mobile advertising is becoming too big to ignore: Every year we hear the same thing: “This is the year of mobile!” Well, I hate to beat a dead horse, but this year really looks like the year. With the release of the iPhone 5 coming in October and Android phones selling like web-enabled hotcakes with 4GB cameras, shopping, price comparing and researching with mobile phones is becoming more and more common.
Is mobile advertising for you? The answer is yes, although the level of your investment may vary based on your goals, expectations and available resources. That said, almost every advertiser in the world should at least be advertising on their own brand in the mobile space. This is an incredibly necessary evil. Because there is so much less space on a mobile phone than on your laptop, failing to bid on your brand can mean that your competitors can keep you completely off of the above-the-fold view on a search for your own name!
Do a search on your web-enabled phone now for your brand name and see what comes up. If your business isn’t the first listing, then you should consider moving into the mobile space right away. Of course, there is much more opportunity beyond bidding on your brand name, but this is the easiest thing to fix.
Bonus Tips: If you have further interest in mobile advertising in Q4, I would encourage you to take the following steps:
- Read up on mobile advertising best practices.
- Find out how your site looks using Mobilizer, a free downloadable application.
- Look into making a mobile friendly version of your site. Google has a free tool built just for this.
- Advertise first on your best–highest ROI–keywords before committing dollars to broader terms.
3. Stay top of mind using Remarketing (a.k.a. Retargeting): By now, it’s likely that you’ve heard of retargeting as a method for advertising. Google has branded this feature as “remarketing” in AdWords and has made this powerful channel available to everyone. As a result, I’ll refer to it as remarketing here.
For those of you who are not familiar, remarketing allows advertisers to place a pixel on the users that have been to their site so that they can be grouped for display advertising later. Remarketing helps answer some very difficult questions that advertisers are smart to ask:
Q: I’d love to show up on gigantic websites but isn’t it too expensive?
A: By advertising only to the users that have been to your site, remarketing allows advertisers to show up on some of the Internet’s most legitimate properties while keeping the audience–and costs–limited.
Q: Where is the best place that I could put a display ad?
A: The answer isn’t about where, it’s about who. If you know that someone was interested enough in your services to go to your site and your site converts at less than 100%, then those users are lowest hanging fruit for your display efforts.
Q: But what if those people already made a purchase? I don’t want to bother my current customers.
A: AdWords allows you to exclude users that have already converted on your site from seeing your ads.
Q: I’ve heard about retargeting and don’t they charge you for impressions?
A: Not Google! Remarketing through AdWords allows you to pay per click just like in search. That means that you never shell out any money unless someone actually clicks on your ad.
Remarketing has proven to be the most effective means of direct marketing in the display network. Although reach is limited, conversion rates are higher and cost per acquisition (CPA) is lower with remarketing than other display options. Furthermore, remarketing is being continually innovated; you can now serve ads to customers based on the page of the site they went to or even the product that was viewed. Even for B2B companies, it’s important to test out remarketing while it’s still a young market. At best, it can become a significant revenue stream; at worst, it’s an easy way to keep your business top of mind for your customers.
Bonus Tips: If you are already engaging remarketing, now is the time to consider the following:
- Add image ads if you are currently only running text ads.
- Consider refreshing the ads or adding new ones to compete against the existing ones.
- Look into making more granular ads for different pages on your site.
- Keep an eye on the view-through conversions and think about what the value might be compared to a click-through conversion for your business.