You’ve probably noticed that the festive season seems to start earlier each year. It’s become the norm to see a massive Christmas tree complete with all the lights, tinsel and baubles, set amongst tons of special festive deals in every shop straight after Bonfire Night. You probably have that one friend who starts planning their Christmas parties and gift-wrapping ideas the day after they take off their Halloween makeup. You may even be that friend!
Either way, it’s clear that the Black Friday sales and early festivities have caused a lot of us to re-allocate our Christmas shopping budgets for November to get our hands on some special deals.
If you’re anything like me, this means you will have spent a lot of time planning your budgets and implementing your paid media strategy for Black Friday (or as we can all agree, ‘Black Five-day’).
However, you shouldn’t spend any less time planning your Christmas advertising campaigns for three simple reasons:
1. Potential For More Sales
Last year, we noticed a rapid increase in conversions for our e-commerce clients in the final week before Christmas. This suggests that, although a lot of people are re-allocating their Christmas budgets for November, there are still plenty of people waiting until the last minute to get their presents.
2. Catch Customers On Payday
Black Friday has fallen just before payday this year. Therefore, unless you’ve been saving up specifically for this day, you’re not going to want to blow all your Christmas gift budget in one day. Many people, myself included, are now waiting for those festive deals to continue so that we can complete our Christmas present lists.
3. Prime Time For Casual Shoppers
Let’s be honest, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping causes a lot of stress each year. We’ve all seen those videos of people going crazy for a TV or a kettle in the supermarket. You may have even been one of the people getting pushed aside for that last sweater in size ‘M’. Those of you who refused to step foot outside the house and chose to buy everything online will no doubt have experienced the odd website crash or ‘currently out of stock’ sign.
All in all, November is a very hectic month for shopping; something that some people choose to avoid altogether, opting for the early-December deals instead. Now that we’ve all switched from ‘survival mode’ to a more festive mood, we become more aware of what we actually need and browse for the deals that offer the best value for money.
How To Get The Most From Your Christmas Campaigns
To get the most from your paid media strategy for that post-Black Friday sales period you need to ensure that you have all of your paid media channels covered…
Make sure that you’re running search ads across Google, Bing or both, as the majority of people start their purchase journey with a search engine; ‘Googling’ the products they want. Even if they don’t know what they want this can be a crucial platform for influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions, with more than three billion searches made on Google every single day.
- When we compared paid media channel effectiveness for our e-commerce clients, we saw that 50% of all sales had been driven by Google search ads, from which more than 60% were brand-term-driven sales. This suggests that the majority of people already know the brand they are willing to choose from. You always want to be at the top of the SERPs for your own brand-related search terms, as it’s no secret that competitors will try to steal your sales by bidding on your brand.
- Most of the remaining sales came from generic term campaigns, and these were relatively high-value ones. It’s crucial that you have all the key assets in place:
- A promotional, ideally Christmas-orientated, message in your headline to catch attention and compel people to click on your ad.
- Maybe you want to add that countdown formula to create a sense of urgency too, with copy along with the lines of “Shop now to avoid missing out…”. Adding more stress for those who will already be browsing under pressure may not feel like a very Christmassy move, but it will be sure to drive you some extra sales.
- Create search ads using the new ad format of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions, as this will take up more of the advertising space and will increase your CTR.
- Or maybe, instead of creating 3 different search ad variations for each ad group, you want to test Google’s new responsive ads format. Just don’t forget to create headlines that are relevant to your keywords for better results, and make sure that all the headlines and descriptions are linked, as you want your ad to deliver a consistent message.
It is crucial to run shopping campaigns during the festive season. Google shopping campaigns were the second-highest revenue drivers for our clients during the Christmas period last year. This isn’t really a surprise, as shopping ads give you a quick overview of the product, description and the price; pretty much all you need to make a decision. To make the most of your shopping campaigns you’ll want to take a few actions:
- Make them as granular as possible. This will increase your product visibility.
- Include your special offer using Google’s Merchant Centre to catch the attention of potential customers and stand out from the crowd.
- Make sure that all descriptions and landing pages are as they should be, as there is nothing more overwhelming from the user’s perspective than being directed to the wrong product page.
Display Ad Campaigns:
Are your display banners ready for Christmas? This will not only give you the time and space to be extremely creative, but it will also drive people to your website; just put some extra love on your banners!
- Make it festive but keep it simple. The web will be overcrowded with generic images of Christmas trees, Rudolfs and Santa Clauses when all the Black Friday banners are taken down. You don’t want your ad to look like the entire festive season in 200×200 format.
- Include Christmas-orientated backgrounds, but make sure it does not overlap with your promotional message. It could also help to choose contrasting colours and leave more blank space between the image and the text.
- Include the specific discount that you are running on your website as this will definitely catch the attention of those who are hunting for special offers.
- Make it animated. This will increase your chances of being seen and will give you the opportunity to say more in one banner.
- And of course, don’t forget your logo and CTA button – Google really doesn’t like it when you don’t have these two things in place!
Social Advertising Campaigns:
For some businesses, particularly in e-commerce and some of the more consumer-facing industries, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are the main channels for driving revenue. They’re innovative, engaging and people love spending time browsing on them. Therefore, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have your social media advertising campaigns in place for the festive season.
- Keep it consistent. Use the same, or similar, colour palettes for your social media static ads as you used for your display banners.
- Write your promotional message with all the crucial details in the description. Use the headlines for your promo codes and the discount percentages you offer. Stay away from putting too much promotional text into the image, as Facebook only allows up to 20% of the image to be used for text. Instead, put more effort into developing high-quality visuals for your social media channels.
- Run dynamic ads across Facebook and Instagram as these will be more relevant for the people that have already browsed your website.
All in all, Christmas is the perfect time to boost your sales with paid media formats. Just remember that it’s definitely worth putting some extra time and effort into developing your paid media campaigns for Christmas sales, as there are plenty of people still looking for ideas and deals. Be consistent, make it festive but keep it simple and you will be sure to see some great results!
Do you have any other tips for optimising your PPC campaigns ahead of the festive season? Why not comment below or let us know on Twitter or Instagram?
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