2020 was a lot of things, but it was also the year of the great ecommerce pivot. With greater consumer adoption of online shopping habits than previously predicted, the ecommerce space is full of shoppers ready and willing to buy online.
And if you intend on running digital advertising this shopping season, you need to prepare a strategy.
These are our top ten tips to ensuring you run an effective and profitable PPC campaign during the holiday season:
- Review last years performance
- Build audiences
- Test Test Test
- Try new platforms
- Branded content on Facebook
- Become frictionless
- Warm your prospects, work on your funnel
- Take advantage of selling on other platforms
- Stay relevant
- Be willing to spend a little more per click
Review last years performance
If you haven’t been collecting website and social network metrics, start now! If you have data, use your advantage and delve into metrics to study what has worked in the past.
Look at your analytics with a skeptical mind. Given how much online habits have changed in the past year, some areas might be unreliable. Your consumer journey might have shifted considerably, but there will still be important trends to uncover.
Look at what products sold well last season, which promotions had the highest ROAS, which messaging resonated with your audiences, and which audiences your targeting worked on and why.
Over the coming weeks, start building new audiences as well as analyzing old ones to find the best audiences for your campaigns. Revisit old email lists.
When building lookalike audiences on Facebook, try breakout groups of not just 2-4%, but 8-10% to introduce more people to your brand and move them into your funnel.
Test Test Test
Set aside a portion of your budget to test your messaging, audiences, and placements before a full campaign launch. When you’re testing a message to see what resonates, understand why your winning creative was successful and develop spin-offs that build on that messaging.
Make sure you have a high enough test budget to see results that will be reflective of a big enough sample and be sure to look at all the metrics that would affect the scaling of your creative. For example, an ad set might have a high CTR but a CPA that is too expensive.
Try new platforms
It’s not all about Facebook and Google, and you might find other avenues to advertise digitally with a higher ROAS. Snapchat and TikTok now have their own self-serve ad platforms that you can access. Test out different platforms with a smaller budget and audience size; learn what messaging resonates with those audiences and replicate your successful campaigns with higher budgets when you have the proof of concept.
Also try experimenting with new features. You can now create augmented reality effects in Facebook, which are designed for the Facebook Mobile News Feed. For example, if you sell lipstick, you could create an AR ad that uses the camera on your user’s mobile phone to project different colors of lipstick for them to see how your product would look on them.
Branded content on Facebook
Work with creators, affiliates and influencers, and run your ads from their accounts. This improves the social qualifiers of your brand, improves consideration from potential customers, and increases your reach with the audience of your selected brand partners.
Make sure your online to offline transitions feel on-brand and seamless for your customers.
If you can, work in options like buy online or pick up in-store or curbside delivery. Try to promote the extra steps you are taking that would make people feel safer about visiting your physical location or dealing with your business and, most importantly, makes the customer confident they’ll receive the gifts they’re purchasing in time for holiday events.
Also make sure your online options reflect the inventory you have in stock. Show your products to shoppers that are online and ready to discover what you have to offer. This means making sure your Merchant Center account and product feeds are accurate. It also extends to your website design – shoppers expect to be able to see what you have in stock, and users should at least be able to filter out what isn’t available.
Warm your prospects, work on your funnel
Run brand awareness campaigns early on before shifting more budget to the lower end of the funnel. Develop a strategy for how you will retarget your leads depending on where they are in your funnel, including which placements you will use and the creative choices that are designed to close a sale.
According to the neuroscientists at Mars, Inc., you have 2 seconds to capture the attention of online consumers. So, get creative, and create compelling ads from the second they appear online.
Take advantage of selling on other platforms
Take advantage of adding your product feed to Google, Microsoft and Facebook, and take advantage of social media users buying through services like Facebook and Instagram Shops. This takes very little effort to set up if you’re already using an online selling platform like Shopify. It allows you to easily integrate your product catalog to a new sales medium, and when you update your online shop, it will be reflected on your Facebook Shop or in Google Merchant Center.
For apps like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, take advantage of Product Tags in your organic and paid posts and let customers complete the sale in the respective app. Allowing social media users the option to purchase on the platforms they’re familiar with will help them feel more comfortable buying your products online without ever visiting your website.
You should also use your product feed for dynamic ads available on both Google and Facebook. This allows you to remarket your products to people that have visited your site with product categories related to their on-site behavior.
The market moves quick, so research key trends in current consumer behaviors. If you’re creating content for an app like TikTok, you will have to refresh your creative regularly with TikTok relevant content.
Gap reported $130m in sales of face masks in Q2 2020 by pivoting quickly to individual and bulk sales of face masks. Their biggest success has notably been securing the #1 spot in the SERP for longtail keyword “face mask style guide.”
What are the exact products being googled in your niche, and can you get in front of that audience quicker than your competitors? Include some longtail keywords that are relevant to your product on product pages, in ads, and bid for them.
Use words like Christmas and holidays and other subtle nods towards seasonal buying in your imagery and copy.
Be willing to spend more per click
Ad costs rise starting in October as the market gets more competitive, with the expectation that there will be an increase in conversion rates as more people are ready to purchase.
You have to stay competitive to benefit from online consumer demand, which means upping bids and budgets to make the most of seasonal shoppers that are online and spending.
If you are running any kind of digital ad campaign this winter, know that the market will be more competitive than ever before. But with more users online and ready to purchase, the potential for ecommerce success has never been greater. To make sure you stay cost effective, optimize your campaigns by acting on our advice, or partner with a digital marketing agency to run your campaigns with you.