A lot of people refuse to think about Christmas until opening the first window of their advent calendar. However, for retailers, the Christmas period seems to start earlier and earlier every year.
And rightly so: according to Google’s data, over 26% of people start their Christmas research before Halloween!
What does this mean for eCommerce retailers? Christmas is the peak period for most shoppers, so a solid advertising strategy and technical preparation are key for any online store.
Here are a few tips on how to maximise your ad campaigns for the festive season:
1. Don't fear an increased Adwords spend
Let it spend, let it spend, let it spend
In the build up to Christmas, your paid search traffic will see a huge influx of visits. Some of these users might not convert at first, as many online shoppers browse for weeks before ordering anything. However, visibility is crucial in order to be remembered when they are ready to make a purchase.
Therefore, investing money into boosting website traffic will pay off in the long run, by seeing those visitors return and convert. The Christmas period inevitably brings a boost in site conversion rates, which is when you will see the return on your investment.
As noticed by the Google Analytics benchmarking team, top traffic dates do not correlate with top conversion rates. Customers will make multiple visits to your eCommerce store before they make the final decision.
2. Signpost your offers
Is your site beginning to look a lot like Christmas?
Updating your website for Christmas is also crucial. Customers will likely have dozens of presents to buy in a very short space of time; if they can’t find what they’re looking for, they will bounce back to search results to look elsewhere. Have your Christmas range and offers clearly signposted for a streamlined user journey. That might be in a separate tab on the navigation, a homepage banner, or a new landing page on the site.
A designated area for gift products or services can then be linked to from adverts across search, social media, and the display network.
Remember: site visitors during this period might not be your usual target audience. Imagine a husband shopping for a gift for his wife, or a teenager looking presents for his grandmother; these users will need guidance and reassurance that what they’re about to purchase is a good gift idea. Having a designated Christmas range can provide a helpful landing page for lost shoppers.
3. Plan for peak shopping all month
December will be magic again
From Black Friday and Cyber Monday until the Boxing Day sales, the entire period around Christmas is key for online shopping.
It’s important to flag up several days in the countdown to Christmas:
- The last payday before Christmas
- Mondays and Tuesday in December also tend to show great online conversion rates.
Getting your marketing strategy right on these days could really make your festive period, and there are two points to note here: spend and promotions.
With regards to spending, you want to make sure that your PPC spend isn’t capped on peak days. With conversion rates rising by over 100% at times, you need to claim all the available traffic on those days. It’s a good idea to plan for spikes in your December budgets. Also, revisit the daily caps across advertising accounts, either before or on the day, to check they are not restrictive. Otherwise your competitors will be there to snap up the traffic!
Another important area to consider is special offers and promotions tailored for these key dates. Anything from ‘Free Delivery’ to discount codes or bundle offers will help to sway customers to order. Integrate your marketing plan to ensure all channels (Email, Social, PPC) are pushing these offers from the outset of the promotion.
4. Optimise your site for shopping on the go
It’s the most mobile time of the year
Mobile traffic plays a vital part in the festive period for retailers. Commuters kill time by scrolling for Christmas gifts online. Therefore, being present in mobile search results and having a mobile optimised site becomes even more important in Q4.
For your website, make sure all pages have a mobile equivalent. Your newly created Christmas pages may look good on desktop, but overlooking the mobile version could result in negative user experiences and missed sale opportunities. Increasingly large screens on mobile devices have also reportedly had a positive impact on the mobile conversion rates, which should allow for more aggressive mobile bidding.
From a PPC point of view, revisit the mobile ad positions and bid multipliers across the account, checking for instances where they may be too low. For any non-believers, estimated cross-device conversion tracking on Adwords, and User ID tracking on Google Analytics, can help to discover the real value of mobile visits in the conversion funnels.
For further help or advice on planning and optimising your Christmas campaigns, get in touch with our Advertising and Marketing experts.