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Maximise conversions through Shopping campaigns ahead of Christmas

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Following a busy Cyber Weekend, where spend in the UK is expected to reach £7 billion in the UK alone, forward-thinking retailers are already thinking about Christmas.


Q4 is a huge opportunity for retailers, but to succeed, businesses need every tool in their kit to be sharp and ready to maximise the conversion from an influx of online customers poised to grab a deal.  This is it, don’t get scared now.


With a mere 28 days until the big day itself, Shoptimised has pulled together some crucial tactics to help businesses sort their PPC strategy and make the most of the increase in traffic from customers that are poised to purchase.


As PPC professionals who’ve worked our fair share of Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays and Christmas periods, we wanted to share what we’ve learned along the way, as well as some Google Partner exclusive insight, to help our readers maximise conversions throughout the key shopping period.


Let’s begin with the crucial bit: BUDGET


Before you embark upon any promotional period, it’s very much worth gaining clarity on what the rules are around spending.


The budget you need heavily depends on your objective: are you looking to improve ROI, simply make the most of the traffic or maximise return on ad spend (ROAS)? We’d like to think that you have these targets already in place, but if not, you should be speaking with your team/client and identifying this information, pronto.


From here, it’s a case of setting the rules. But, you should bear in mind, that the rules might need to change. Imagine you earmark a £7000 paid ad spend for the week running up to Christmas and are aiming for a 800% ROAS, but before Wednesday is even out, you’ve maxed your budget. What do you do? What are you allowed to do?


You need to increase budgets, or at least have the liberty to, and you need to know exactly by how much, so that you’re making the absolute most of the flurry of potential buyers. Remember, we humans can be fickle, so if you’re not making the most of their attention to purchase, your competitors will be.


It’s worth also acknowledging that you should be looking at last year’s spend and performance, and increasing budget accordingly. Sales across the Christmas period are always on the rise, with more and more customers choosing to shop online.


In a recent report from Mintel, it was estimated that sales across December in the run up to Christmas will increase by 4% versus last year, reaching almost £48 billion.

Next, it’s all about the URGENCY


When it comes to Black Friday weekend, urgency is part of the deal, because those offers only stretch for a certain period. It is possible, however, to add urgency to urgency, with a few simple modifications to your ads.


Here are our top recommendations:


-       Add promotion extensions, such as adding ‘Christmas’ to your ad, linking direct to your high ticket items and adding dates to highlight the promo period, so it’s clear to the user how long they have to make a purchase before the offer is up. It’s worth noting, however that these extensions will only be shown if you have a good quality score, so now’s the time to get to work on improving that!


-       Include a countdown to specific promotions, allowing you to break up promotions and work to timescales that suit your targets, for example, you might want to add a countdown timer to promote a 40% discount offer that ends at 5pm, whilst another promotion on the same item might run until midnight, at a lower discount rate.


-       Include delivery dates to help customers in their search, providing them with information on final order times to receive in time for Christmas, along with any info on free delivery, if it’s relevant. This is a small addition, but one that your customers will thank you for, as there’s nothing worse than clicking through to finish the purchase then discovering the item won’t arrive in time, or it will for an extra cost that the customer hadn’t bargained for.


-       Introduce inventory counters, which for the discerning shopper is a big prompt to ‘get it while it’s hot’, AKA in stock. Showing your stock levels on promotions, particularly ones that are performing well, will further boost the interest and urgency from potential buyers. Just make sure you have back-up promotions to ‘take over’ once the item is out of stock


-       Update your feed more regularly to ensure prices/stock levels are correct, any insight gained from competitor monitoring is factored into your ads and basically, you’re continuously keeping your feed in the best shape it can be. It can help to do this in bulk - Shoptimised can help with this.


Lastly, a key factor is of course, ORGANISATION


That means getting your promotions added and approved well in advance - at least a week, really - and making sure you keep a close eye on any disapproved products so you can get to work on rectifying these ASAP, ensuring you’re not missing out on anything.


It might also be worth creating an entirely new Shopping campaign for your most in-demand, high-ticket and worthwhile products, then adopting a single product ad group structure to this. You’ll be able to track the progress of these campaigns far easier, optimise as you go and ensure budget is being spent on the right products.


It doesn’t even matter if you’re running a storewide promotion ahead of Christmas, not all products are created equal and there are some you’ll want to keep a closer eye on than others. Separating these out into another campaign/group will help you stay on top of the tips above much easier.


It’s also worth auditing your feed ahead of the festive period, which can be done easily with a free, no obligation Product Feed audit from Shoptimised. This will pinpoint areas of concern, opportunity and wastage, helping retailers get the most out of the most wonderful time of the year!


For more information and to receive a free Product Feed Audit, head to www.shoptimised.com