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Paid Media 10 min read

Four PPC Tips to Improve Your Holiday Sales

Ayesha Renyard photo

Written by Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 09 Dec 2020

You’ve decided that this is the year you’ll launch a holiday ad campaign. It’s been a challenging year full of unexpected twists and turns, but with many people avoiding public places, you have a feeling that there will be more shoppers online than ever before. Sure, you can’t see the future, but the timing just seems right (for your crystal ball business, that is). 

Today, you open up your computer and read Deloitte’s annual holiday sales prediction: e-commerce holiday sales are expected to increase this year—generating between $182 billion and $196 billion. Called it. 

But with many retailers shifting online this year, the market is also saturated—meaning that you’ll need to put in the effort to stand out. 

To set you up for success, our paid media experts have compiled four PPC tips that will help steer your holiday campaign towards more holiday sales!

We’re not fortune-tellers, but we think this post will be worth the read. 

1.  Adjust your target audiences and keywords

You may have a strong understanding of who your customers are. However, when it comes to holiday PPC campaigns, you need to adjust your target audience. Why? Because many of your shoppers will be gift-givers. Let’s say you’re a company that sells strong-smelling candles (I’m looking at you, Bath & Body Works), and your target audience is mainly women who are a part of your loyalty program. During the holiday season, you’ll also need to consider their partners, friends, and family members who will not see your holiday emails. 

That sounds like a lot of people. How can you narrow it down? 

  • Target gift-oriented keywords: T’is the season for gift-oriented keywords. “Gift ideas for mom,” “stocking stuffer ideas for kids,” holiday gift guide 2020.” Sound familiar? We’ve all been on the other end as searchers looking for gift ideas. Our knowledge of these products may be limited, and therefore, we’re more likely to purchase from the top-ranking sponsored suggestions. 

Gift ideas Google search suggestions.

  • Retarget shoppers: Gift buyers are typically not attached to the products themselves. They’ll be comparing prices, deals, shipping options, and everything in between—and to win them over, you’ve got to demonstrate the most value. But they won’t know that right away. What does this mean for e-commerce businesses? A lot of abandoned carts. 

So we recommend retargeting them. Ad platforms, such as Facebook and Google, allow you to direct ads to past indecisive visitors using remarketing lists. Remarketing lists are created according to different user actions, including cart abandonment. As Christmas approaches, these ads will come in handy when last-minute shoppers are ready to make a purchase. 

2. Craft compelling headlines and meta descriptions

The need for eye-catching headlines and meta descriptions isn’t new news. Your ad copy informs searchers’ first impressions—and if it doesn’t demonstrate relevance or value to them right away, they won’t bother clicking. Because you’re targeting new audiences, this clarity is especially important. Here are a few tips when creating header tags and meta descriptions for your holiday ads: 

  • Target those gift-oriented keywords: Holiday shopping is a no-nonsense mission. People will be scanning the SERPs for headlines that are clearly relevant to their search. If you sell dog sweaters and you’re bidding on “gifts for dogs”—but don’t have it in the headline—you may miss out on high-converting traffic. Gift givers have blinders on when shopping. So keep it simple and direct by using those gift-oriented keywords. (Plus, it helps your SEO.)
  • Identify and promote your differentiator: As we said above, holiday shoppers are on the hunt for the best prices, deals, and shipping options? So do a little bit of research on your competitors and see what they’re advertising. Is it 2-day shipping? 15% off? Easy in-store returns? From here, find your edge. Can you offer free shipping? 25% off? An extended return policy? If searchers can see upfront how they’ll benefit from choosing your product, you’re guaranteed more quality click-throughs. 
  • Create a sense of urgency using limited-time offers: Bidding on holiday keywords is competitive and expensive, so you want those clicks to count. By adding limited-time offers into your headline or supporting copy, you put on the pressure to convert now. Those who are strongly considering your product will likely purchase it out of fear of missing out (good ol’ FOMO). A great tool we suggest is Google’s countdown widget, which sets up an automated countdown. 

Want more tips? Read this post on ad copy that converts

In my own hunt for gifts this past weekend, I searched for weighted blankets. Although I’m all about a good sale, Simple Sleep defines its differentiator much better than Hush or Dream Hug in its headline—it’s affordable! And in the supporting copy, the company boldly calls out its competition for being outrageously expensive. With some Hush blankets exceeding $300, I’m all about Simple Sleep’s $84 price tag (and no hidden fees with free shipping). 

Tip: Explore ways to maximize your ad space on SERPs. Google Ad Extensions provide more opportunities to show off your value and guide searchers towards your call to action. 

3. Create holiday-specific landing pages 

You identified new target keywords. You identified new audiences. You wrote a compelling headline and meta description—and even included an ad extension or two. It’s time to redecorate your content. If your ad copy promotes a standout holiday deal, the landing page should reflect that offer. 

In a previous post, we share the essential components of a high-converting landing page. What does it tell us? 

  • Establish and highlight the value proposition 
  • Make a statement with your hero image 
  • Emphasize the benefits 
  • Incorporate social proof
  • Seal the deal with a clear call to action 

When it comes to your holiday campaign’s landing pages, we want to stress the importance of social proof. Your usual audience knows your product and brand, but gift-givers may not—they just know that Dad wants ANOTHER fishing rod. 

So you give them the assurance they need through the recommendation of a past customer. If Bill, Frank, and Al can vouch for that fly rod, you’re probably in good hands. 

TIP: Provide easy ways to gain customer feedback all year, so when the holiday season comes around, you can include testimonials specific to each product promoted. 

If your product was endorsed or featured by another company or influencer—that also counts as social proof! If they’re well-known, that gives you another stamp of approval. Forbes Magazine featured your fly rod in its Gift Guide for Dads? Say no more—it must be good. 

4. Have a Dedicated Holiday Budget 

You just did all this work to build a strong holiday PPC campaign. Don’t let it fall to the wayside because of your budget (or lack thereof). During the holiday season, impressions can increase by as much as 350%! To prepare for a high cost-per-click (CPC), save a solid chunk of your marketing budget for your holiday campaign. That way, you can bid on all those high-converting (but expensive) keywords. 

A man in a white polo shirt throwing a handful of money.

Source: Real Business

Hey, feel free to keep channeling your inner Leo. But we want to leave you a few tricks for maximizing your ad dollars: 

  • Rely on long-tail keywords: Sure, “gift guide” is relevant, but the Amazons of the world will win those bids. If your target audience is male teens, why not get more specific with the queries that you bid on? Sure, fewer people will be searching for “gift guide for teenage sons.” But it will be quality traffic with higher possibilities of converting. Plus, these bids will come at a cheaper price tag.
  • Use exact match or phrase match keywords: If you’re targeting “gift guide for teenage sons”—but as a broad match keyword— searchers looking for gifts for their toddlers or adult sons may also see your ad. To avoid unnecessary clicks, use this option to target ONLY folks researching gifts for teen boys.
  • Add negative keywords to your campaign: Much like using exact match and phrase match keywords, negative keywords rule out the low-quality traffic—you know, the people stumbling on your bookstore landing page, looking to book a reservation at a restaurant. Although Google is getting better with reading intent, negative keywords put the power into your own hands! Every CPC counts.
  • Monitor and lower bids on under-performing keywords: Maybe you thought “scary gifts for your toddler” was going to be your star keyword, but it ends up under-performing—we’ve all been there. Continually monitor your campaign’s performance, and adjust your bids along the way. For those that are performing well, give them the extra budget love they deserve. 

T’is the Season for PPC Holiday Campaigns

Yep, we think you’re right. E-commerce stores will be extra busy this year—which means that the PPC landscape will be extra competitive. But with these four tips in your back pocket, we have a feeling that your ads will stack up against the rest just fine.

If you’re looking for more holiday marketing tips, keep your eyes peeled on our blog. There will be more coming your way this month!

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Ayesha Renyard photo

Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed