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Last-minute PPC Ad Optimization Tips to Increase Retail Sales During the Holidays

Now that Halloween and Cyber Monday’s shopping sprees are just a distant memory, retailers with an ecommerce presence are looking toward the holidays and should be ramping their campaigns relevant to gift-seekers as according to a report by Rocket Fuel, consumers have already started searching with fifty-five percent of shoppers in the festive mood before December even starts.
RocketFuel: When Consumers Start Searching for Holiday Gifts

When it comes to PPC advertising, retailers looking to capture sales right through the funnel should consider the following three optimizations tips:

Grab Attention on The Search Page
Both Bing and Google give retailers the opportunity to stand out from the competition by using product ads, adjusting ad position and bidding on brand terms.

With Product Ads, consumers are ushered closer to their purchase decision as there is more real estate on the page for these ads and retailers can add images of the products so shoppers are more informed before they click through and cost advertisers money.

By bidding competitively, you can land your PPC ad in the mainline (not down the side) which is where 89% of clicks occur and a staggering 54% happening at position one according to our data. The mainline also sees a 1700% uplift in click-through-rate compared with the side ads with only a 7% rise in cost-per-click which can results in many more clicks for a nominal increase in investment.
Internal Data from Microsoft: Bidding on Brand Terms Captures more Clicks
Considering bidding on your brand term can increase your sites visibility as well. Some advertisers might rank well in organic search for their brand term and question why they would invest in PPC ads as well. Our internal data shows that from a study of 25 million clicks in the retail sector, brands whose businesses/products appeared in both organic and paid results for their brand term received 85% of clicks compared to just 52%.

Remember, your competitors can bid on your brand terms so if you’re not protecting yourself they are taking your clicks. You need a strong offence and defense, particularly during the holiday period. 

Compel Action from the Search Page
This where ecommerce sites can gain profitable engagement through the shrewd use of Text Ad Extensions and Bing Shopping Campaigns. It’s all very well creating awareness for your products and services, but how do you turn that attention into action?

BigCommerce Data: What Shoppers want from Your Website
In a report by BigCommerce into omnichannel shopping habits levers like images, reviews, videos and live chat play an important part in the purchase process. By using search extensions, online retailers can closely mirror the on-page experience in the search results. It’s only takes spending a bit of time setting up more complex campaigns that inform and inspire before the shopper even reaches your website.

Internal data from Microsoft shows that using extensions can see a 20% lift in click-through-rate for ads versus those retailers simply relying on simple text.

The new Bing Shopping Campaigns experience is also a bonus for advertisers, enabling retailers like White + Warren to see an increase in conversion rates of 35% because of added flexibility and targeting.

So as you can see, while it might seem laborious to set up your retail campaigns with all these extra bells and whistles, the return on investment is well worth your time. Also, it’ll help you get your campaigns set up so you’re ready to take advantage of other high traffic seasons like Valentine and Mothers’ Day.

Bear in Mind the Omnichannel Shopper
Lastly, Omnichannel shoppers are consumers who use a variety of different touchpoints to research and buy gifts during the run up to the holidays. They are channel agnostic, often skipping across devices on their path to purchase and they have a low attention span, meaning they make tradeoffs with price, delivery, discounts, ease of return etc. to make decisions on where they’ll purchase from.

They‘re also likely to spend up to 75% more, according to a holiday survey from Deloitte, so taking the time to capture their attention and ensure they take action with all the tactics I’ve outlined in this article will be well worth your investment.

For more insight on how to optimize your holiday digital marketing, take a peek at our Holiday Insights for Digital Marketers Report.