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7 Secrets To Success With Holiday Ads

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While many in the world will spend the next month planning holiday meals or hoping for the arrival of Jolly Old Saint Nick, in the world of SEM, digital marketers are working hard to implement their holiday ad campaigns. With Cyber Monday just a memory, you probably have your holiday ads planned and ready to go (if not already in play). But if not, or if you want a quick review to ensure that you’ve covered all the bases in planning for success with PPC this holiday season, here are seven strategies to make your holiday campaign season less hectic.

1.  Think Mobile

This year, mobile usage has grown tremendously. According to an October 2012 report by comScore, mobile phones and tablets have nearly doubled their share of web traffic in one year. This increase makes it imperative that you optimize for mobile ads in your holiday ad campaigns. Many people will price shop on their phone, even while they are in a store. Keep in mind that mobile ads work best when linked to a mobile site, instead of a traditional site.  A good mobile site takes advantage of the small screen real estate and helps searchers to find what they want quickly.

2.  Holiday Landing Pages

Direct your ads to special holiday landing pages on your website. Clicks (and money) can be wasted by sending your visitors to your home page from the ad instead of sending them directly to a page that advertises the specials mentioned in your ad. Use the same or similar wording on the landing page as you did in your ad. This can help to reinforce relevancy and increase conversions, thus making your ad more relevant and helping to increase your ad’s quality score. Another tip is to use holiday display URLs to make them more relevant to searchers such as, www.XyzGifts.com/Xmas or www.XyzGifts.com/Holiday.

3.  Immediate Call to Action

Holidays come and go quickly. Your ads should reflect this immediacy. Use urgent calls to action in ads to give visitors a sense of urgency. Some examples of such calls to action might be “Xmas Sale ends 12/20” or “Dec 15 Last Day Free Shipping” or “6 AM Dec 3 Our Own Cyber Monday.”

4.  Create Separate Ad Groups

Structuring your PPC campaign correctly helps to increase your quality score.  Placing your holiday ads in their own ad groups allows you to edit them and test ads without harming the quality score of your existing ad groups.

5.  Use Holiday Keywords

Help your ads succeed and help searchers easily relate to your ads by using holiday keywords in your copy. Terms such as “Black Friday deals” or “Xmas Specials” can help your ads appeal to searchers looking to score gifts for the season.

Also, use holiday keywords in your ad groups. This includes keywords such as “Christmas gift” or “toys for Christmas”. Bing ad center has a huge list of holiday keywords. You should also visit Google Trends to see what search terms are being used during the holidays and determine if you should add these to your campaign.

6.  Don’t Forget After-Christmas Specials

Maybe Santa can take a break after December 25, but your ads can’t. The week after Christmas is when many people are looking for deals on items that didn’t sell during the holidays. Set your ad schedule to run ads that have headlines such as “After Xmas Special” or “After Christmas Deals.”

7.  Continue to Optimize Ads

Even though the holiday period is short, you should still work to optimize your holiday campaign. “Set it and forget it” is not a strategy that should be used in PPC. Have tests and benchmarks in place to determine which ads perform better. Google and Yahoo, as well as third parties, have tools to help you determine the effectiveness of your keywords and ads. Use the tools at your disposal to help you have the best holiday season ever.

Image: Santa Pushing Gifts from Shutterstock

About the Author

Bruce Gibbs is a Search Engine Marketing Manager at YP (formerly AT&T Advertising Solutions), where he manages search campaign performance, optimizes paid search campaigns, and analyzes data to correct account performance issues. He is located in the greater Atlanta area.

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