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Christmas is around the corner and that means it’s time to increase traffic to your website and ramp up sales. To quickly increase traffic and conquer competitive keywords, paid search advertising is where you’ll reap the gifts of the season. Paid search or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to paid advertising in search engines, and paid social is when you pay to get your ads seen on social networking platforms.
Steve Crough, Founder and Managing Director of creative digital agency Dando, shares five key tips to help you get the most out of your paid search advertising campaigns this year.
The most popular paid search products are pay per click (PPC) ads, for which you pay each time someone clicks on your advertisement. While Google’s Adwords are the most well-known paid search technique, other options include Yahoo!/Bing, Clicksor, Amazon and Facebook. “The tools that are best are the ones that your target audience use. So if they primarily hang out on Facebook, then that’s where you want to be seen. If it’s a broader demographic, you might use something like Adwords, which can include PPC ads and display advertising,” outlines Crough. “I encourage clients to use paid social options such as Facebook ads as they let you target age, location, gender and hobbies, and people of all ages.”
For Crough, one of the most eye-catching elements to a Christmas ad is guaranteed delivery, especially if it’s within a certain timeframe. Clients need to know they’ll receive the product in time. “I don’t think discounting is as important at Christmas. It’s more about the uniqueness and quality of the product and the experience of your site more than just the price,” he says. “Giving ads a Christmas feel and optimising Christmas-related keywords can also catch the eye of Christmas shoppers,” he adds.
It can also be worth considering eye-catching ad call-out extensions, the additional descriptive text in your standard ad, such as ‘free shipping’ and ‘24/7 service’. These call-outs encourage a higher click rate by taking users to specific landing pages to meet their needs.
Unlike SEO, which takes months to build traction, with SEM and paid social ads you can choose the moment you’re ready to launch your campaign. “We recommend a seasonal tactical budget where you might, say, increase spend by a certain percentage in October or November and then closer to Christmas keep increasing your daily spend,” explains Crough. “Be prepared to increase your budget in peak periods. The more you spend the more clicks you’ll get, and if you’re in a competitive market and other companies are ramping up their budget and you’re not, you’re not going to be seen.”
According to Crough, it’s always important to get your internal team or your external agency to have your analytics set up so that you’re measuring results. “If you ramp up your spend you particularly want someone to monitor your results often so that you get the maximum out of it. This will help in years to come and also help your SEO campaign throughout the year. You should dive into your analytics and see where the highest percentage of traffic is coming from and what keywords are working for you.” If you’re advertising on several sites, compare the conversion rates to see which site works best for you. When tracking your campaign, another thing to look out for, says Crough, is whether traffic is coming from mobile devices or desktop. “If mobile traffic is increasing year by year then that’s going to shape where you advertise in the future.”
Unlike bricks-and-mortar businesses, online shopping often isn’t location-centric, yet there are reasons to localise your paid ad campaigns. One reason would be if the business offers pick-up. “If this is the case you might want your ad to just reach people within a certain city or even half a dozen suburbs, so this needs to be a consideration when you structure your campaign.” Demographically localising your campaign is also important, adds Crough. “Facebook ads and display advertising on blogs are a great way to target people with particular interests.”
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