October

Search

By now, we expect gift guides and stocking fillers to be live on landing pages, so now’s the time to promote them! Use the Google Trends tool to direct “Christmas gift ideas” searches to your tailor-made landing pages for the best onsite experience. You can also drive additional traffic to these gift guides pages via sitelinks on your other Search campaigns; especially Brand if you’re running this type of campaign to promote limited-time offers.

Remarketing

Setting up GA remarketing lists is a great way to get in front of people who bought from your site last year. They may not be your usual shoppers, but if your website experience drove the sale last year, then now’s the perfect time for them to do it again!

To maximise your remarketing campaigns, we recommend creating a target and bid dynamic search remarketing campaign, so that when your potential customers search for products, bids are increased as the user has been on the site before, knows the brand and has a higher chance of purchasing.

Display

In the world of display, it’s time to brief your design team and promote your ads. If you want to tap into a group of customers who are actively researching products to purchase, target your display ads via in-market audiences. Google uses thousands of browsing signals to understand whether a user is just browsing, or actively looking to purchase; and in-marketing audiences targets the latter.

Shopping

If you have physical stores, local inventory ads display your stock availability and encourage the online browser to head instore. According to Google consumer research, footfall is down, but AOV is up, so use paid clicks to increase instore revenue.

Device bidding

And if anyone has used device bidding in AdWords before, you will be delighted to know that tablet bidding is being rolled out in the next few weeks! We all know mobiles and tablets are often the start of purchases, with desktop being the converting device – so resist the urge to drop mobile and tablet bids too much or you’ll miss out on attracting the researching shoppers!

November

Shopping & Remarketing

Combining shopping data with remarketing equals dynamic remarketing. It allows your ads to dynamically show products that users have previously viewed on your site and November is the best time to launch this. Your previous web visitors are probably deciding between a few products or retailers, so it’s a crucial time to get in front of them and ensure your brand is top of mind.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Like Google Trends, we use Keyword Planner to plan Black Friday and Cyber Monday budgets. Just like we recommended for “Christmas gift” seasonality research, use Keyword Planner to estimate search volume and cost per clicks for “Cyber Monday” plus product searches i.e. Cyber Monday tv, Cyber Monday deals. It’s good practice to have a landing page dedicated to Black Friday or Cyber Monday a few weeks before the actual event itself, so you can start directing traffic here via the keywords above and sitelinks on other search campaigns.

Display

To keep the quality of display traffic high, continue to target in-market audiences and show ads on domains that have previously driven revenue – which can of course be found in Analytics.

Search

Now is also the time to also promote your expected best-sellers and high margin products via search and shopping. It’s also worth targeting “buy” plus product keywords as this shows intent and these keywords often show a higher conversion rate.

December

It’s now or never, and you’ll be facing stiff competition from paid advertisers looking for last minute smash and grab sales – so make sure you stake your claim!
The first place to do this is on the search results page. Give your ads some urgency by adding a countdown. After all, nothing says ‘buy me’ like telling your potential customers they only have 1 day and 3 hours left for guaranteed Christmas delivery!

If you’ve got the budget to do so, increase your bids on products that are selling well. CPCs will likely be on the rise in December, so don’t sit back expecting to maintain your top ad position without a fight, and increased bids, from market competitors.

And finally, bid more aggressively on site visitors from the past 3 weeks. We’re all guilty of a bit of panic buying, so maximise this to your gain by getting your search, display and dynamic remarketing ads in front of as many eyes as possible.

January

Now you’ve got your sales and new customers, it’s time to nurture that CRM data into more revenue and loyal customers.

Hopefully you’ll have had a good holiday trading season and be ready to tell all your new web visitors about your great January sales. But as well as revenue, it’s good practice to evaluate your ad performance – did you CTR increase YoY across search, display and shopping? Measuring the impact of Paid in the customer journey is essential; understanding how many people started their purchase journey via paid, or how many transactions were aided by paid mid-funnel is essential for next year’s planning.

Finally, feed back to the SEO/content teams if improvements can be made to quality score. It could be worth including high-converting keywords in landing pages next year – to improve planning for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas Gifts campaigns – in only 8 months time!