Top 10 Tips for getting accounts ready for Christmas

Friday, September 18, 2009 | 3:12 PM

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We all know it’s good practice to get one’s account in shape before the Christmas madness begins, but where do you start? Here are 10 practical steps you can take to ensure you make the most of the festive peak:

A practical guide for Retail Advertisers

1) Create a separate campaign for Christmas. Having a separate Christmas campaign allows you to control spend easily. Create Christmas themed keywords by combining popular products with Christmas modifiers. Eg a fashion retailer might run the keywords christmas socks, xmas socks, socks for christmas etc.

Test generic Christmas keywords eg christmas gifts, xmas presents etc but monitor performance carefully as these terms can be expensive. Run these keywords in a separate ad group so you can pause them easily if necessary.

2) Create Christmas ads to run in regular campaigns alongside existing ads. Eg a fashion retailer might add the following ad to their ‘Novelty Socks’ ad group:

Novelty Socks for Xmas
Browse our range of Novelty Socks.
Ideal gifts for stocking fillers!

3) Deep link to relevant landing pages. Try running Christmas-specific landing pages for your Christmas themed keywords. Highlight top gifts and products not previously offered and tie these in with seasonal ad text. Elsewhere, in your regular campaigns, make sure you're deep linking to product-specific landing pages. Avoid sending users to the homepage unless the traffic has come from a brand ad group.

Eg a sports retailer known as 'Sports Clobber' should direct users searching on terms such assports clobber, clobber sports etc to the homepage. However, users searching for a specific product (eg golf shoes) should be directed to a webpage featuring that product range. Users are far more likely to convert if they can find what they are looking for easily.

4) Include USPs in ad text. What makes your brand special? Use this opportunity to differentiate your offering from your competitors. Highlight any promotions which you have running eg free gift with purchase, free in store pick-up, last minute deals, special offers.

Price and delivery details work well but only feature them if you're offering competitive rates! Use calls-to-action eg 'Order online', 'Browse full range online' - commanding language makes for compelling ads. Promote final delivery deadlines. 'Order by **' tends to work better than 'Order now'.

5) Uncap budgets on popular categories. Try uncapping budgets on any well structured campaigns with a good ROI. As long as your campaign is well structured with targeted ad text, well themed ad groups, sensible keywords and a comprehensive list of well chosen negatives, your traffic will be relevant so uncapped budgets should result in higher overall ROI.

6) Increase bids (max CPCs) on existing keywords, especially on popular product ranges.Research has shown that the Christmas surge in traffic starts as early as September. Make sure you're ready for the onslaught. Raising bids on your well performing keywords will result in higher positions. Look at the quality score of your keywords – try raising the bids on any that have a high quality score and fall below positions 1-3.

7) Ensure keywords cover your entire product range. Consider expanding longtail terms. Serious shoppers know model names and numbers. You will benefit from having longtail keywords covered as more obscure keywords will have lower CPCs. If you're running highly targeted longtail keywords it's a good idea to set these to Broad match as users may type in a multitude of variations. Keywords comprising numbers/codes should be set to Phrase and/or Exact match.

Eg an electrical retailer (selling white goods) stocks a fridge known as 'snazzy tall fridge 123Z'. Users looking for this product could type in a variety of queries eg 'Z123 fridge snazzy', 'tall fridge 123Z' etc so it would be a good idea to have the keyword 'snazzy tall fridge 123Z' on Broad match. The advertiser should also add the code '123Z' as a keyword on Phrase and/or Exact match.

8) Check inventory to keywords. It sounds obvious but ensure your keywords match your current inventory. Pause/delete any keywords pertaining to products which are currently/permanently out of stock. Users quickly become frustrated if they are misled.

9) Expand negatives. Make sure your negative keywords are well built out on any campaigns running Phrase and/or Broad match keywords. If you have set up a separate Christmas campaign add in negatives re Christmas eg carols, recipes, decorations, wrapping paper etc.

10) Build out Content campaigns. Make sure your Content campaigns are well structured with tightly themed ad groups so that you can capitalise on AFC (Adsense for Content) during the festive season. Eg a lingerie retailer might want to appear on blogs discussing 'sexy festive gifts for your partner'.

Consider adding Christmas-specific ad groups. Eg a fashion retailer selling men's apparel might add an ad group based around 'Gifts for Him this Christmas'.

We hope you found these tips useful! Please email us if you have any feedback.