It’s Holiday PPC Time Again…

Well, folks, it’s that time of year again. You know what I’m talking about – the time when you have to dust off the old holiday campaigns in your PPC account (if your business is consumer focused) or twiddle your thumbs as your search traffic volume heads into the gutter (if your website focuses on business-to-business services). I’m just kidding, B2B folks. Now’s a great time for you to review this year’s performance and put into play structural changes and optimization plans for when things pick up in January. Sorry about the plummeting conversion volume, though…

Anyway, this post is a wake up call for all you B2C advertisers out there. We see the same pattern every year as the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus season creeps up on us like a fat burglar in a red suit and fluffy beard. It’s so regular you can set your watch to it. Take a look at this chart from Google Insights For Search, detailing yearly trends in search volume for gifts and gift ideas:

That huge spike you see is November and December search volume. But, we start to see the increase as early as October. So sound the alarm – if you haven’t already though of your holiday PPC plan, you had better get cracking this week.

So what should you do? For starters, think about adding some “gift idea” ads into your rotations. Do you have a product that could make a great gift? Tell the internet why! Maybe someone who usually buys your product is looking for a gift for that special someone and could use a little extra nudge to give you their holiday shopping dollars.

You might also think about introducing some “gift idea” keywords. But don’t go whole hog and just add “gift idea,” “gift ideas,” etc. Keep it specific to your product. If you sell sports memorabilia, use keywords like “sports fan gift idea.” If you sell fancy shaving kits, use something like “gift ideas for dad.” Bid only on keywords that hint at a need that your product, and only your product, would be able to fulfill. That way, you’ll benefit from the upswing in gift idea searches without getting a lot of junk traffic from people who probably aren’t looking for the thing you offer.

And finally, don’t forget about those landing pages! Put together a special “gift ideas” page featuring your products, and send your “gift idea” traffic toward that. You can feature a lot of different products that would make a good gift, but omit ones that might not work as a holiday gift.

If you’re an online retailer, your PPC costs are about to go way up due to increased e-commerce search volume. But if you’re smart about it, you can ride this wave of traffic to record profits instead of being swamped by a tsunami of irrelevant traffic. Review those search query reports, stay on the ball with negative keyword additions, and use your ad text to filter out clicks from irrelevant searches. Let the holiday season begin!

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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