I know, I know, it’s still summer. But before you tell me to get lost, hear me out:
Now is the best time to test new strategies, find that perfect audience and lay the tracks for a relaxing holiday.
The beginning of Q4 is less than six weeks away, which means you have just enough time to properly test, adjust, optimize and master new AdWords features before you start ramping up for the holidays.
According to Google, one out of four shoppers will start their holiday shopping in October. About half will be done with their shopping by the time Cyber Monday and Black Friday even roll around. Big brands are going to try to bully their way to dominating the market, but preparing early will give you a distinct advantage in finding your perfect audience.
Let’s walk through best-practice testing methods, then go over four tests you should start running now.
People behave differently across devices. According to the Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly Report for Q4 2015 (registration required), conversion rates varied greatly between tablet, smartphone and desktop over the holiday season:
Based on the data above, desktop users were almost three times more likely to buy online than mobile users.
That said, the best data is your data. Look for three data points before launching your Q4 campaigns:
If you’re looking to save money this holiday season or wanting to make sure your money is going towards hitting your best audience, pick your best platform and stick with it.
Google delivered on its promise at the 2016 Google Summit that advertisers will get two headlines for search ads, each supporting 30 characters, and an 80-character description.
In their recent digital advertising research report, Merkle found a 16-percent increase in CTR for expanded text ads on desktop for non-branded search.
Google’s top two suggestions for testing expanded text ads are perfect for framing your strategy before the holiday traffic spike:
These clicks are going to be a bit more expensive, based on the amount of page real estate, so it’s important to test this over the next few weeks to find out if there’s actually an improvement in ROI.
You may have seen this pop-up in your AdWords dashboard in the last week or so:
These new responsive ads from Google are built dynamically and will automatically resize and adapt based on context.
There are five ways to target users on the display network:
All these targeting options are layered on top of one another for increasingly specific targeting.
In the past, you might not have been able to reach huge portions of these websites and targeted users if your creative images didn’t match the sizes offered on those websites. Now, with responsive ads, you can reach all those websites and people by providing the following to Google:
Keep an eye on how your ads perform. Think of this like a broad match keyword: start large, but use your reports to cut wasted spend.
The more information you can provide up front to your audience, the more qualified the clicks hitting your website will be. Google’s newest ad extension, the price extension, gives the ultimate level of transparency to your product or service: up-front pricing.
Before you implement price extensions, head to the Top vs. Other Report to better understand your ad rank, search impression share and average position. Using that information, pick a few campaigns to test price extensions.
These are new for you and for all AdWords advertisers, so you’ll want to head to the Ad Extension tab to view the performance of your ads with and without ad extensions. If you’re not seeing a significant boost in ROI, you may be better off with the standard search ad.
What tests are you running? Will you be changing things up this holiday season?