Honey for bees. Pikachu for Pokémon Go-ers. Ironic eyewear for hipsters.
Some things are known attractants. But when you want to lure the omni-channel shopper this holiday season, the variety of channels at your disposal can seem overwhelming.
Why choose when you can combine? Turns out, the key to winning the hearts and dollars of omni-channel shoppers is using a multi-channel strategy.
Let’s look at how you can most effectively combine Shopping Campaigns with SEO best practices and emerging voice search trends to gain a giant advantage this holiday season — not just in terms of short-term profitability but more importantly, to increase overall customer lifetime value.
Omni-channel shoppers are folks who research and buy both online and offline via a variety of channels and devices.
Not only do these folks form a growing segment of our target audience, they also represent the largest spending group. Savvy advertisers know that the key to long-lasting profitability (and bonuses!) is to go after this valuable audience.
Data compiled by Microsoft (my employer) reveals the top three key characteristics of this audience:
Given how easily distracted these shoppers are — and with brand loyalty being trumped by convenience and value — advertisers will have to be more strategic about when and how to get their attention.
Combining PPC strategies with additional channels yields the best results. Here, we’ll look at advice for shopping campaigns, using SEO and social ads to make your product ads stand out for text and voice search.
Since the omni-channel shopper has a short attention span, the visual nature of products ads (managed via Shopping Campaigns) is the perfect way to grab attention.
They’re also ideal for those voice search queries when the omni-channel shopper is on the move and looking for quick answers or comparing products via digital personal assistant.
The use of natural language when searching via a digital personal assistant such as Cortana, Siri or Google Now means that these search queries will tend to be longer than text queries.
It’s faster and more convenient to talk than to type. This is giving rise to far more specific queries (My previous article goes into further detail).
Shopping Campaigns are an ideal match for voice search queries. Product ads can more easily fit the bill for ultra-specific queries than text ads. For example, we’re seeing far more detailed queries such as:
Secondly, the visual nature of the ads means that even when someone is second-screening, busy with other tasks or just on the go, it’s easy to sort through the results and take action quickly.
It’s worth paying extra attention to optimizing all the key fields in the data feed to not only increase your chance of showing up more often in relevant auctions but also to earn the click, no matter whether the omni-channel shopper is searching via voice or text on desktop, tablet or mobile.
Here are three tips to create the strongest, most-likely-to-convert product ads:
As the saying goes, showing up is half the battle. I’d tweak that to say showing up often in the most relevant results is half the battle. The rest is earning the click (more on that in a bit). We need to ensure we have the right words in the right place.
Ultimately, the feed is what relevancy is based on, and giving it the SEO treatment can help the search engines better understand what we’re selling.
Your data feed (aka your product feed) has required fields like title, description, price and image. Optimizing your title and description fields is super-important, as is filling in blanks among the optional attributes.
Not only do the optional attributes open the door for powerful segmentation when creating product groups, but they also provide a ton of relevant information that the search engines can use to determine where and when to show your ads.
Within the restrictions of the product ad template, there’s still a lot of room to get creative. The two primary elements in your product ad that you can get creative with are the image and price.
Let’s break these down.
Product ads are starting to have a similar issue to text ads, in that they can often all look very similar. In the field of same-same, the right image can help the ad jump out from the page.
Most of us can hardly resist a sale. Discounts in your product ads attract attention, clicks and conversions. Adding a sale price in your feed lets the search engines show both your before and after prices, to reinforce the sense of urgency.
Whenever possible, especially with any holiday-specific promotions, add a sales price and sale price effective date into your feed to help you stand out.
In addition, it’s always good to do a regular competitive check to ensure you’re priced similarly to the competition. A competitor offering a large discount could cause you lose clicks.
How do I split-test my ads?
A common question I get asked revolves around testing different images (or other feed elements like titles) within Shopping campaigns.
Traditional A/B testing isn’t possible with product ads, since the same physical inventory can’t be duplicated in the feed. But there is a workaround: sequential tests.
Essentially, you run one image for a set period of time, then switch it out and run another image for an equal period of time. (Using this method, you could also test titles and descriptions.)
But there are some drawbacks with this method:
As Marketing Land has reported, over 90 percent of retail shoppers use smartphones in stores. The top reasons were price comparisons or looking for deals, looking up product information and checking reviews online.
Plus, in their hunt for the best price, shipping, availability and sale, the omni-channel shopper is highly likely to use their mobile device along the way.
Microsoft internal data revealed that searchers research their purchases ahead of time, with eight out of 10 of the highest search volume days on the Bing network occurring in November and skewing for weekends.
There are two ways your shopping campaigns can help:
Plus, as digital advertisers, we can easily serve coupons or showcase deals to encourage the sale.
A Hitwise study found that in the US, 77 percent of retail searches that mention “coupon” are initiated on a smartphone or tablet. They also found that searches with the potential to close the sale, such as “return policy” or “price match,” were initiated on a mobile device at least 77 percent of the time.
Mobile-specific Shopping campaign tips:
With these three Shopping Campaign optimization tips, you’re well on your way to being more efficient at luring in those high-value shoppers this holiday season. In fact, you might have enough time on your hands to take the afternoon off to do some actual shopping.