How to leverage the power of paid search in peak sales season
E-commerce brands will have to be meticulous in their ads if they want to be visible this sales season. Elizabeth Townsend of Impression breaks down how to optimize your paid search strategy.
Get the most out of paid search during peak sales season / Lukas Blazek via Unsplash
This year’s peak sales period will see marketers competing for visibility as consumers strip back their spending during a period of economic uncertainty. Account structure issues will pose an additional challenge, making it difficult for brands to adapt and react during promotional periods.
To help your brand stand out in quarter four and beyond, we’ve compiled some actionable tips to implement today.
Use ad extensions
Ad extensions help search ads stand out by promoting your sale and clearly communicating your offer to those searching for your product:
Sitelinks take users to a specific ‘sale’ section of your site. According to Google, advertisers that include four sitelink extensions could see up to a 20% boost in click-through rate.
Shout about incentives for people to shop with you v your competitor (free delivery, free returns, 100% 5-star reviews). Share what makes your offer unique without taking up precious headline or description space.
Display specific products that are on sale and can also be linked to specific holidays/events for seasonal sales such as Black Friday and Christmas. Quickly promote a sale across your ad account without having to amend ad copy if you’re short on time.
Revisit your ad copy
Promote your sale in your ad copy, especially in headlines. While this can be time-consuming, preparing ad copy in advance is a no-brainer. Use the ‘rules’ function in Google and Microsoft Ads to make sure sale ad copy doesn’t go live until you need it to, and set start and end dates for promotion and sitelink sale extensions.
Ad customizers can quickly swap out messaging across several ad creatives, which shows a default string of text that you provide if the customized text cannot be shown.
If you decide to use ad customizers, create a copy of your ads and use labels to differentiate between ads with sale customizers and evergreen ‘business as usual’ ads. By using rules, you can then switch between sale and non-sale ad copy (particularly useful if you have frequent or spontaneous sale periods).
Countdowns are effective as they create a sense of urgency, reminding the user that they have a limited time left to secure a bargain.
Use (effective) CTAs
Adapt your calls to action; they should differ from your ‘business as usual’ CTAs to help your ads stand out from competitors that may have the same offers running. Pin your offers to headlines one, two and three to increase visibility further.
Remember to test your ad copy to find the winning combination. By testing and optimizing your ad copy, you can measure which approach positively impacted performance.
Be flexible with bidding
If you’re expecting to acquire more traffic through your ads as a result of your sale, be prepared to be more flexible with either your target return on ad spend (tROAS) or target cost per acquisition (tCPA) goals.
To limit the risk of missing out on potential additional revenue, relax your bid strategy targets slightly. This will ensure that bids are not too restricted and, although spending might slightly decrease, you’ll have the potential to reach more people.
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Don’t forget your product feed
Ensuring that your feed is in good shape is crucial. Limit the risk of your top products being disapproved by setting up alerts for when products become ineligible to serve shopping ads.
Review and optimize your product titles, descriptions and images – these are the first things your customers see before they even click through to your site (and they will be displayed alongside your competitors).
Usually, if you include a sale price in your feed, your products will be eligible for ‘sale’ text overlays when your ads are displayed, but you can also set up promotions in Google Merchant Center to promote specific discounts or offers.
Tailor your sale to different audiences
Promote your sale to a specific audience by uploading your customer lists to Google Ads. Target them at a campaign level and tailor certain promotions to specific groups of people.
For example, reward your most loyal customers with a discount, or give your mailing list early sale access.
Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs) allow you to segment your visitors into more granular audiences and show different ads to people who may be more likely to convert.
You can adapt ad messaging, showing it to different audiences at various stages of the funnel, for example:
People who have visited product pages but haven’t made a purchase
Those who are both frequent purchasers and have an abandoned cart
Preparation is key
Finally, when planning a sale period, it is important to consider the existing structure of your ad account, as this will influence how you can best promote your sale.
PPC offers a wealth of opportunities to promote upcoming sales. For larger promotions such as Black Friday and Christmas, preparations should be made months ahead to give your teams time to create assets, write and proof copy and ensure account structure is in order.
Leave it too late and risk underutilizing your ad account, and in turn losing visibility against your competition. Set a clear goal, plan ahead and drive meaningful value for your business with these simple but effective tactics.
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