How to Build a Strong PPC Campaign for eCommerce Websites this Peak Shopping Season

With the peak shopping season fast approaching (the countdown to Christmas is on!!!), now is the time to start thinking about how to drive conversions across eCommerce and retail…

Once the novelty of baking banana bread and playing Zoom quizzes wore off, multiple COVID-19 lockdowns resulted in us all becoming even more addicted to our phones, tablets and laptops. So much so that online retail sales jumped from 19% in 2019 to 28% in 2020; the biggest increase ever seen. It’s likely that this will have increased even more during 2021. With that in mind and with the prospect of more lockdowns unlikely, this shopping season is the perfect time to get new brands and products in front of shoppers eyes!

Let’s get onto some exciting stats:

  • Almost a quarter of shoppers start looking at gift ideas 3-6 months in advance of the big day
  • 81% of shoppers use search to discover new brands
  • 90% of shoppers don’t have a brand in mind when they start searching
  • There has been a 60% growth in shoppers searching for ‘best affordable’
  • And 100% growth in shoppers wanting products ‘available near me’

These not only highlight the importance of getting in early when it comes to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas campaigns but also the way in which shopping habits are adapting. We can see that shoppers are open when it comes to brands. This is a great opportunity for those who may not be market leaders in their sector. We can also see that shoppers are looking for the best deals/prices (understandable) and for retailers local to them (perhaps for speedy click and collect options). 

What Google recommended for your PPC campaigns during the peak shopping season…

So, what next? Google has recommended a number of ways to build on the success of our PPC campaigns:

  1. Combine Broad Match keywords and smart bidding. Broad Match keywords use more signals than other keyword types which means we’re more likely to get into the auction and smart bidding allows Google to use previous learnings to identify the auctions that we’re most likely to win and will go on to produce a click or conversion.
  2. Use Dynamic Search Ads which use website content to create the ad, therefore increasing relevancy.
  3. Spot trending queries. Google recommend keywords to add to campaigns by identifying trending queries related to the campaign.
  4. Use Responsive Search Ads to allow Google to create the most effective headline and description combinations through machine learning.

Google estimate that: Responsive Search Ads + Broad Match Keywords + Smart Bidding = 20% more conversions*

*it is worth noting that many of the examples Google referred to were clients with large budgets and a minimum of 100 conversions driven by PPC per month.

Top tips on how to approach peak shopping season.

Here are a few thought-starters on how to approach peak shopping season campaign planning…

  • Which products will be the top sellers over Black Friday/Christmas? What are the usual best sellers for this time of year?
  • What offers will be running? Are there going to be any discounts for specific items or bundles?
  • What delivery options are available? Is free delivery or click & collect offered?
  • Who are the main competitors? Can we do some competitor conquesting?

Non-retail/industries will also see fluctuations around the Christmas/New Year season that can be utilised to propel leads and conversions:

  • Banking – whilst unlikely to see a huge increase during the peak shopping season, classic ‘New Year New Me’ resolutions usually include organising finances, saving more cash, starting to invest etc. An increase in awareness pre-New Year will help drive leads as we go into 2022.
  • Home Improvement – with the start of a New Year people often start thinking about refreshing and updating their homes, so is a great time to drive awareness and leads.
  • Health & Fitness – we all do it! Once January rolls around getting more active and sweating out the indulgences of December is top of many people’s priorities for the New Year. Being top-of-mind around this time is key for awareness and conversions.

The peak shopping season is a key period for so many businesses and understanding consumer habits is key to a successful search campaign. With the help of Google’s smart learning capabilities, we’ll be working with our clients to ensure shoppers are served the most relevant messaging, at the right time, that is related to their search query.

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