Holiday Shopping Readiness 10 Tips to Prepare Your Shopping Campaigns for the Holiday Season The holidays can be a hectic time. Prepare early to keep the coal out of the stockings for your Shopping campaigns.
Plan Ahead Before jumping into Google AdWords or Merchant Center, let’s talk about your plan. Forecast your budget and set KPIs Why: Total holiday traffic increased 60% YoY on Shopping in 2015, so plan ahead to keep your digital store open and capture increasing holiday shopping searches.1 Take Action: Estimate your spend by pulling historical data for the holidays and layering your account’s current YoY trends. Capture missed traffic by budgeting more for days where your historical click share decreased but retail query volume or your competitor’s click share increased. Allow flexibility in your budget to survive holiday shopping peaks and valleys, especially with the longer shopping season this year. When setting KPIs, factor in cross-device and in-store impact. Set your promotional calendar Why: 88% of retailers were offering promotions by the first week of November in 2015.2 Ensure your promotions are aligned and scheduled to deliver smoothly. Take Action: Determine what and how long you want to promote your products with your merchandising team. Identify which promotions historically drove the highest profits or conversions. Don’t forget to ask about new products, doorbuster deals, site-wide promotions and exclusive promo codes. Use Merchant Promotions to highlight offers and add the sales_price and sale_price_effective_date feed attributes to schedule price changes in advance for promotions. Establish a crisis-response plan Why: Be prepared in case trouble arises and confirm holiday on-call contacts. Take Action: Determine who’s available to troubleshoot account suspension warnings, item disapprovals or performance issues immediately. Create an email alias so everyone stays in sync and add it as the primary technical contact in Merchant Center.
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Build Your Digital Storefront Now that you have a plan, start prepping your foundation. It’s important to start with your inventory and have a strong presence on the digital shelf at all times. Expand your product coverage Why: More products in the auction means you’ll qualify for more impressions and be visible to holiday shoppers. Take Action: Submit your entire inventory if you’re not already doing so. Use the Diagnostics tab in Merchant Center to fix top issues and get disapproved products back in the auction long before the holiday season. Take advantage of feed rules to make feed changes directly and continue adding GTINs to drive search relevance. Gain insight into demand for popular products that you don’t already stock with the Assortment Report and talk to your merchandising team about adding them to your catalog. Keep your product price and availability fresh Why: Shoppers will bounce from your store if they don’t see the price and availability they expect. Take Action: Enable automated feed delivery (including Online Product Inventory Updates), the Content API and/or Automated Item Updates to make frequent updates to fluctuating product price and availability during the holidays. Optimize your product data and maximize the relevance of your ads Why: Show the most compelling and relevant information to match what your shoppers are looking for. Take Action: Sway shoppers with the best-performing product titles and rich images. Differentiate your ads using Merchant Promotions, Product Ratings and Local Inventory Ads. Check our Feed Optimization list for more ideas.
Capture More Holiday Shoppers With fully stocked shelves, expand your reach and attract customers throughout their holiday shopping journey. Double down on mobile shopping Why: 34% of online retail purchases in the U.S. happen on mobile.3 It’s increasingly important to be visible on and optimized for mobile devices. Take Action: Use cross-device conversions to assess mobile impact on your performance. Get your mobile site to load in less time and create a positive mobile shopping experience by using autofill forms, avoiding interstitials and placing the product’s price and “Add to cart” button above the fold. Include your mobile landing page URLs in the mobile_link feed attribute if your site does not have a responsive design.
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Set the right bid for every auction based on your conversion rates Why: Real-time query-level bid adjustments result in an average 9.5% increase in conversion rates.4 Implementing product group bid Opportunities also drives an average 3.5% lift in conversions without increasing cost.5 Take Action: Enable and test enhanced CPC to automatically adjust bids in real time based on the likelihood of a search query to convert without increasing cost. Check for Opportunities that appear as a light bulb next to product group bids to increase traffic at the same cost. Reach new and qualified customers Why: 2 of 5 mobile shoppers leave a website without converting.6 Drive additional traffic and re-engage shoppers who have already shown interest in your products. Take Action: Use signals from your site to bid based on audience segments with remarketing lists. Let shoppers know you have what they want nearby Why: 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day. And, 28% of those searches resulted in a purchase.7 Don’t miss this opportunity to drive online traffic to stores. Take Action: If you have local feeds ready, opt into local inventory ads. Enable location extensions to bid by location and proximity of your shoppers to your stores. Allocate more budget to promote local inventory on days when you expect more foot traffic, like weekends and after holiday shipping cutoffs. With your product data and campaigns locked-and-loaded, you’re ready to pour the eggnog and ring in the holiday season with merry spirits. Don’t forget to check out our Holiday Shopping Survival Checklist to get more tips to survive through the holidays.
Google Shopping Data, Feb 2016 ShopperTrak, Dec 2015 Google Analytics, Retailer Aggregated Data, US, March 2016 4 Google Internal Data, based on control vs. experimental data for Shopping campaigns with eCPC 5 Google Internal Data, 2016 6 Google Analytics, Aggregated, Anonymized Data, US Retailers, Q1 2016 7 Google/Purchased Digital Diary: How Consumers Solve Their Needs in the Moment, May 2016. Smartphone users = 1,000, local searchers = 634, purchases =1,140 1 2 3
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