The 2015 E-commerce holiday shopping season brought in over $55 billion dollars from when the season begins on Black Friday ( the day after Thanksgiving) and goes through Christmas. Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) brought in more than $2 billion dollars alone. Consumers even spent large amounts of money shopping from their mobile phones (over $12 billion). These statistics are astounding and goes to show just how much holiday shopping is done online. Here are some of the top paid search tips for the holiday season that will increase your E-commerce success this year.

1.) Evaluate Last Year’s CampaignsImage of multi national sales team planning their e-commerce sales strategy.

If you ran campaigns last year, it is a good idea to pull out those old keyword reports and start your preparation by identifying what worked best last year. Find those branded and non-branded keywords that will again be relevant and boost those to increase your search engine results. This will help you begin to identify the areas of your campaigns to spend your money on and evaluate the keywords that you are considering paying for.

2.) Audit Your Keywords

The holiday season is the time when all businesses kick their paid search campaigns into overdrive to capitalize on the increased consumer shopping. One of the easiest ways to maximize the return on your campaign is to audit and adjust your keywords. You may be using general keywords that summarize what you sell or provide, but in reality, you should use targeted keywords for exactly what you sell. Every other competing business (a fishing store for example) will pay for general keywords like “gifts, Christmas gifts, fishing gifts, fishing rods…” but to target the audience that is looking for exactly what you sell, you should use keywords of exactly what you sell. This will generate more quality leads, which will increase your sales. While there is some benefit for using general keywords, targeted words will often provide a better ROI.

3.) Start of November Evaluate Campaigns

Next start analyzing your budget. If you’re already running pay-per-click campaigns, see what ones are hitting at least 50% of their budget limits. These campaigns are most likely to reach budget limits faster during the holiday season. If these campaigns are posting ROI now, then you need to focus on them over the next eight weeks. While a campaign may pick up on the ROI during the holiday season, your money will be better spent on campaigns that have already proven to be successful.  

4.) Phrase Match Keywords

Utilizing this tool will ensure that you are only advertising to your targeted audience. A broad match keyword will show your results when anyone searches for even just one of your keywords in a phrase. So you may be in the business of selling custom Christmas decorations and using broad match keywords, your site could pop up when “custom Christmas sweaters” are searched. This is not a search that applies to what you are selling on your website, so you are wasting money. Use phrase match keywords to help you narrow down your target audience even more effectively. So when people search “where to buy custom Christmas decorations” your site will pop up because the phrase you paid for matches what was searched.

5.) Paid Search is an Ongoing Process

Optimizing your paid search campaigns should be an ongoing process, not just a one-time task. As the holiday season progresses, evaluate which keywords are performing for you and which ones are not. Update your bids for keywords to save you money. Base your bid adjustments on at least the last 4-to-7 days performance before you increase or decrease your bids.

6.) Competition

It is always a good business strategy to monitor what your competitors are doing in terms of keyword optimization. Run your keywords in the AdWords Ad Preview Tool to give you an idea of where you stand amongst your competitors.

7.) Product Listing Ads (PLAs)

For a little more money, you can add an image for your product that displays when a person searches for a product. PLA’s take up valuable space on the results page and images capture attention very well. Statistics show that click-through rates and converted sales are higher with PLA’s compared to just regular text ads.

8.) Bulk Up Your Inventory

Make sure you have stock. No one likes to hear “Sir or Madame, we don’t have your item in stock.” You don’t want to lose a potential sale because you failed to keep enough stock on hand to meet the demands of the holidays. Consumers are impatient during the holidays and won’t waste another second if you are out of stock of the item they are looking for.

9.) SEO Strategy

While it may be a little late to develop a new SEO strategy to produce benefits this close to the holiday season, your SEO strategy should be an ongoing process. Add relevant content to your website with targeted keywords that match up with what you are paying for in your search campaigns. Optimize your website to fit with your existing campaigns for the holiday season.

10.) Important Dates

Keep your last date to ship highlighted on your calendar, so you don’t get angry people on Yelp bashing you when their goods are not delivered by December 25th. Make sure this date is clearly displayed on your website as well.

As Promised key E-commerce 2016 holiday shopping dates:

Black Friday – 11/25/2016

Cyber Monday – 11/28/2016

Green Monday – 12/12/2016

Let the digital marketing experts at EM360 develop and implement the perfect holiday season marketing and advertising plan for your business. Everything from SEO to paid search, EM360 provides results. Feel free to subscribe to our blog today for up to date e-commerce trends delivered straight to your inbox!

EM360 Digital

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