Quick! Your customers are already planning their Christmas: 12 SEM optimisation tips

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Searches for Christmas start as early as September

The 24/7 nature of digital means that shoppers are no longer waiting for the twinkling lights and festive music on the high street to start their Christmas shopping.

Search trends from 2015 show that holiday shopping – and in particular searches containing ‘Christmas’ – start as early as September, and we expect that this will be no different in 2016.


Black Friday 2016 to boost e-commerce sales in the UK

What’s more, with the rising popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the UK market in recent years, more and more shoppers are taking advantage of huge discounts to reduce the heavy costs of Christmas shopping.

Top retailers and analysts are already predicting that Black Friday 2016 will see the UK’s first ever £1 billion shopping day, which will be over £200m more than we spent last year.

It might only just be September, but preparation for Christmas starts now!

With this in mind, it’s time to stop reminiscing over your sunny summer holidays and already start preparing for the biggest shopping season of the year. While updating your website is an obvious essential, one aspect many online retailers forget about is their Search Marketing strategy, which we already know is an essential channel for customer acquisition.

Should it be text ads for Google AdWords, or product placements for Google Shopping, take a look at our 12 days of Christmas optimisation tips to ensure that your advertising strategy is up-to-scratch for Black Friday and end-of-year purchases.


On the first day of campaign optimisation, I made the most of expanded text ads

Launched just this summer, expanded text ads (ETA) give you nearly 50% more space to display your title, description and URL. Be sure to make the most of a huge 140 characters by rethinking your ad copy.

On the second day of campaign optimisation, I started using Showcase Shopping

While Google Shopping traditionally only lets you propose a specific product at a time, you can now use the Showcase Shopping format to display a range of products using broad searches such as ‘summer dresses’.

On the third day of campaign optimisation, I added Price Extensions to AdWords

Display your offers in detail and provide pricing information early on in the buying process by enabling price extensions for mobile. Be careful though, only the top spot in AdWords will display prices, so give your ads the best chance of getting up there!

On the fourth day of campaign optimisation, I used Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads automatically generate ads and keywords based on your landing page content. This feature is extremely useful to help fill in gaps for keywords you may have missed manually and the method is particularly beneficial for business with content-rich websites and catalogue SKU (stock keeping unit) offers on all pages.

On the fifth day of campaign optimisation, I optimised bids per device

More and more searches are now taking place on mobile devices, so neglecting this trend will come at a heavy cost. What’s more, mobile CPCs are often cheaper than those on desktop, so be sure to carefully allocate your budget.

On the sixth day of campaign optimisation, I played with keyword match types

You might be used to concentrating on exact matches in AdWords, but why not try testing a bit of modified broad match to capture incremental and relevant volume during the holiday period?

On the seventh day of campaign optimisation, I explored Google’s search partners

Google can hold the key to your AdWords success, as with this search engine comes the promise of increased traffic through their search partners.  By extending the reach of search ads to hundreds of websites not affiliated with Google, as well as to Google Maps, YouTube and other Google sites, you increase your chances of your ad being clicked on.

On the eighth day of campaign optimisation, I imported my analytics statistics

Importing Google Analytics Goals and Transactions into AdWords, enables the two to be used in conjunction to give you access to your Analytics conversion and any data related to your AdWords clicks. What’s more, it will also give Conversion Optimizer access to data that helps to optimise bids and increase your conversion, to lower your overall costs.

On the ninth day of campaign optimisation, I maintained my product feed

Maintaining your product feed for Google Shopping is essential to enhance user experience by ensuring that displayed products are always in stock. This will also help to avoid unnecessary expenditure on clicks that are unable to convert into a purchase.

On the tenth day of campaign optimisation, I added special promotions

Promotions help to set you apart from the crowd, so be sure to keep your prices up-to-date. While Google Shopping will automatically detect price drops in the product feed, you will need to add promotions for text ads manually. Consider using start and end dates in AdWords to ensure that this information is always ship-shape.

On the eleventh day of campaign optimisation, I reviewed PPC performance

When you can capture the biggest audience and conversions will highly depend on the day and time. Analysing your campaign data in hourly slots for each day of the week will help you to understand how you should be adjusting your bids for ultra-efficient campaigns and a better ROI.

On the twelfth day of campaign optimisation, I tested using ‘Drafts and Experiments’

Selected solution providers have access to Google’s Drafts and Experiments, which allows you to A/B test your own AdWords or Google Shopping campaigns against their optimised version. It’s easy to set up and you can revert back to your original version if you’re not keen. What are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose!




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