Is your paid search ecommerce account ready for the holidays?The holiday season is generally the most important time of the year for ecommerce, but is your paid search ecommerce account ready for the holidays? This can be a lot of pressure, and can seem like a daunting task, but there is hope! In order to maximize success, preparation is paramount. Many advertisers ask, “Where do I start?” There are three basic steps that can be taken to help guide the preparation process:
  1. Identify the overall objectives for your business and account strategy, and then create a checklist for your account to achieve those goals. For instance, is the goal simply to drive more revenue? Is it to improve efficiency? Or is it a little bit of both?
  2. Based on your objectives, start to review your display strategy to ensure it balances out your search strategy.
  3. Review messaging so that it is consistent across all strategies, and create a timeline to execute on those strategies.

Step 1: Identify an optimal keyword strategy and check available inventory

The first step of the process is to identify the ideal keyword strategy, given the overall business objectives. Below are some questions that need to be considered when going through the process.
  • Are there paused keywords that performed at this time last year?
  • Are the keywords that converted at this time last year in competitive positions?
  • Are there new keywords to add based on recent performance?
  • Are you restricting relevant traffic by being too aggressive with negative keywords?
The other consideration around keywords is the inventory aspect of the business. Scaling inventory to the expected amount of traffic is a huge element of the planning process. This is one of the reasons it is so important to plan for the holidays early, as filling inventory can take up to six months depending on the product. An inventory deficit can lead to significant declines in conversion rate, poor user experience, and a lot of wasted marketing dollars.

Step 2: Craft a well-thought-out display strategy

The second step of the process entails reviewing the display strategy, and ensuring that it complements search. While the considerations between display and search are slightly different based on the variance of the networks, the overarching goals will be similar. Below are some questions that need to be considered when thinking through the display strategy.
  • How can remarketing be utilized to capture non-converting traffic?
  • Are there specific placements referencing holiday deals that need to be targeted?
  • What other available targeting needs to be included to help reach your goals
Other display considerations regard identifying display specific goals. For example, is the goal to allow display to operate at a lower return-on-ad-spend (ROAS), thus driving more potential customers to website? Or is it more tightly controlled with a ROAS goal similar to that of search? Regardless of the goals, having in place a sound strategical and tactical plan that is in line with your search strategy is imperative to success.

Step 3: Develop a thorough-messaging strategy

The third step of the process is to review the messaging strategy, as well as the implementation schedule. With holiday messaging and the potential for various offers within a short time span, thoroughly planning out the process will be vital to have smooth transitions within the account. Below are some considerations and questions to ask during the planning process.
  • Are there specific deals that worked well last year at this time?
  • What is the promotion schedule?
  • Are there different promotions for different products?
  • How are promotions being implemented: site-links, ad templates, call-out extensions, or just the landing page?
  • Are all of the channels receiving the same promotion?
One of the main considerations with messaging is ensuring that the offer on the landing page and the ads are updated in sync. This will remove any potential friction that may arise, thus providing a more optimal user experience for potential customers.   Achieving your e-commerce goals this holiday season are attainable through solid preparation. By making a simple check list of things to consider, the planning process becomes much easier to manage, and prepares the account for maximum results.