Head of Paid Search
With Father’s Day fast approaching us on June 15th it’s the perfect time to ensure your Pay per Click (PPC) advertising account is finely tuned and ready to make the most of the occasion. Regardless of whether your website is e-commerce based or not, as long as your products or services are potentially appealing as Father’s Day gifts, your site can use the opportunity to boost PPC performance. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry, we’ll be sharing 5 key tips with you to get the most out of PPC this Father’s Day!
There is often a clear correlation between search trends and seasonality for the majority of keywords and we can use Google Trends to discover such behavior. The example below illustrates the relationship between the time of year and search volume for the phrase ‘Fathers day gifts’.
Over the past 3 years it is clear to see that search volume peaks in June. This is expected as Father’s Day always falls in June. However, more interestingly, we can see when search volume begins to rise for this search term. Users begin searching as early as April and it is evident that shopping for gifts earlier (May time) has become more popular year on year. It’s also important to note that search interest has rapidly increased over the years, leading us to believe that more people will be looking to purchase their Father’s Day gifts online. So it’s imperative that you’re capitalising on this growing trend. The chart below looks at 2013’s search trend data to gain deeper insight into exact dates and trends leading up to Father’s Day. According to this data, searches for ‘Fathers day gifts’ began in the week of April 21st – 27th: 8 weeks before Father’s Day. It then peaked in the week of 9th – 15th June, which tells us there are a lot of last minute shoppers and optimising your campaigns now will ensure you reach this large audience for this week.
Interestingly, there is just as much search volume in the week after Father’s Day as there was in the first week of May! In the week after Father’s Day, many of your competitors are likely to have paused their Father’s Day PPC activity so this could be an ideal time to reach those shoppers who have left it too late. Low cost per clicks and high average positions are also more likely in this week so it could be a great opportunity for some low cost conversions. Data like this is extremely useful and provides valuable insight into your customers search behaviour in the lead up to Father’s Day. It also shows us that it’s not too late to optimise your PPC campaigns and there is still plenty of time to benefit from Father’s Day with our 5 PPC tips!
One way of increasing visits and potential purchases on your website in the lead up to Father’s Day is to simply increase your budgets; however this is too broad of an approach and will not serve to maximise your PPC performance. Instead, I would recommend segmenting your PPC account and creating new Father’s Day specific campaigns/ad groups with relevant associated keywords. Although this method is more time consuming, it will reap larger rewards in terms of your PPC performance. The benefits of creating separate targeting for Father’s Day include: [list_wrap] [list_item]The ability to display specific Father’s Day ad copy, promotions and offers.[/list_item] [list_item]Quality scores improvements as keywords will be more tightly themed if in a separate Father’s Day ad group.[/list_item] [list_item]These higher quality scores will positively impact the cost you pay per click, leading to lower costs.[/list_item] [list_item]By grouping your Father’s Day keywords in a new ad group you’ll have the option to create new, specific and timely Sitelinks relating to promotions or specific products.[/list_item] [list_item]It is easier to allocate and manage budgets if you are targeting Father’s Day related terms in a separate campaign.[/list_item] [list_item]Separate campaigns will also allow you to set up specific ad scheduling, locational targeting and bid adjustments to enhance your Father’s Day exposure.[/list_item] [/list_wrap]
It may be time consuming to set up specific Father’s Day campaigns with new ad groups, keywords, sitelinks, ad extensions and specific campaign settings as explained in Tip 1, however once it is done you can always re-use the campaigns again next year. This preparation is key to effective future management! It is likely that you’ll need to tweak the campaigns prior to Father’s Day each year with new landing pages, offers and sitelinks for example but you’ll be able to save a lot of time and ensure your ads are up and running early to catch those searches that are made in late April. Swigflasks.com for example was displaying the ad below as early as mid-March. Whilst this may be a little too early, it shows how they have activated their campaign in advance and in preparation for increased search volume. In March, SWIG had the only ad showing for the ‘Fathers day gifts’ search term which may have helped them drive early sales from PPC.
As discussed in Tip 1, creating new Father’s Day specific ad groups/campaigns will give you the opportunity to also create new sitelinks. Sitelinks allow you to display direct links to areas within your website that are relevant to a searcher’s query. These new sitelinks can be tailored to showcase your Father’s Day offerings and they’ll allow you to display any promotions you may have and direct users to popular Father’s Day gifts. The PPC ad below is by ‘Not on the High Street’. It shows how to successfully use Father’s Day specific sitelinks in ads to maximise appeal. They have not only used a ‘Best Gifts For Fathers’ sitelink but have also considered what their top selling product lines are for Father’s Day and included these too (wallets, toiletry bags etc).
In contrast, the example below (by Baloon Monkey) shows how not following Tip 1 can result in irrelevant sitelinks showing with your Father’s Day ads. In this example it is likely that Baloon Monkey have just included the keyword ‘Fathers Day Gifts’ in one of their generic campaigns that is probably mixed in with other occasion related keywords.
This has caused the generic sitelinks to show with this ad, if they had set up specific campaigns or ad groups as described in Tip 1 they could have improved their sitelinks and made them more relevant and appealing to searchers. Unfortunately Sitelinks related to ‘new babies’ are not going to stand out against the Ad by Not on the highstreet! It is advised that you create a sitelink to your Father’s Day landing page (if you have one) and also consider creating sitelinks
to products that generally sell well around Father’s Day. You could use last year’s sales data to decide on which products to promote in this way. Following this approach will not only satisfy your customers and improve their experience but it’ll also help with your click through rate (CTR) and potentially improve your return on investment from PPC. It is also important to consider seasonal trends like Father’s Day when it comes to your Brand related sitelinks. I would recommend having a standard Father’s Day Sitelink scheduled to run between April and June 16th to attract users who search for your brand name instead of a more specific query. An advertiser who has done this well over Mother’s Day was Eflorist, as shown below:
I cannot find any advertisers doing the same for Father’s Day with their brand related terms, so it looks like a simple traffic driving technique that is being missed by many!
As with all occasions and events throughout the year, Father’s Day is always going to be very competitive in the PPC landscape. It is therefore extremely important to try and get your ads to stand out from the crowd and entice your customers to click through to your website instead of a competitor. I suggest following the tips below improving your Father ’s Day ads and driving CTR: [list_wrap] [list_item]Make sure you have relevant keywords in your ad copy so they are emboldened in search results.[/list-item] [list_item]Include text like ‘/Fathers-Day-Gifts’ after your domain name in the destination URL.[/list_item] [list_item]If you have Father’s Day promotional offers such as free delivery or 20% off, shout about it in your ads![/list_item] [list_item]Call to actions are often missed, include one to influence the users action. Eg. Buy Now![/list_item] [list_item]Create Father’s Day specific sitelinks as advised in Tip 2.[/list_item] [list_item]Use review extensions where possible if you have a suitable third party review, this will help with CTR and instil trust.[/list_item] [list_item]Seller ratings also help with trust and CTR so try to encourage your customers to leave you reviews on websites such as Review Centre and Trust Pilot.[/list_item] [list_item]If you sell your products over the phone as well as online, ensure you have call extensions active so your ads are enhanced with your phone number. This is particularly important on mobile as it allows users to call via clicking on your ad.[/list_item] [list_item]Ensure you have location extensions active if you have an offline store so users know where you are if they want to purchase their Father’s Day gift in-person.[/list_item] [list_item]If you have a Google + page, ensure your Adwords account is linked to it so you’re ads display your number of followers.[/list_item] [/list_wrap] Lastly, I would suggest performing some competitor research by searching for Father’s Day keywords that relate to your products. This will give you useful insight into what your competitors are using in their ads. You could compare their promotions, offers and calls to action to your own ads which may help you to come up with new ideas. The key is to stand out, so try and think of ways you can do this for each search phrase. Perhaps you could offer something completely different or include a price in your Ads that is lower than all your competitors.
Landing pages are a big ranking factor when it comes to quality scores within your PPC account, not only will relevant landing pages help with these scores but they will also improve user experience and influence the likelihood of purchase. If you are a general retailer selling a vast range of products, it would be advisable to create a Father’s Day specific landing page that details popular products that are suitable as Father’s Day gifts. You could then direct PPC visitors who searched for generic terms like ‘Father’s Day Gift’ on this page and let them browse through relevant products. Many online retailers fail to do this and instead will send PPC visitors to their homepage which is not ideal for quality scores or user experience. If you have gone to the extra effort of creating specific ad groups for your varying Father’s Day gifts, eg. Wallets, chocolate, whiskey etc, then it is even more important to ensure that the PPC visitor lands on the correct page. For example if they search for ‘Chocolates for fathers day’ it’s highly important that they land on a page specifically related to chocolate gifts. Advertisers are often tempted to ignore this approach and direct all of their users on a generic page so they can browse through all of their products, however this isn’t best practice. It’s important to bear in mind that if your customer has specifically searched for a gift relating to chocolate, you must give them what they want. Directing them to a general page will only annoy them and negatively impact their search experience, sales are less likely and your quality scores will be damaged.
For any advertisers looking to get the most out of their PPC account this Father’s Day I would highly recommend following the 5 tips discussed in this post. Preparing your account and setting up new campaigns, ads and Sitelinks may be time consuming but considering the huge level of competition during Father’s Day, any opportunity to make your ads stand out should not be missed!
Matthew joined Receptional in 2008 and has worked on hundreds of paid search campaigns. He has worked on large-scale clients (spends exceeding £100k monthly) in markets such as travel, retail, finance and gaming. Matthew is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He is AdWords, Analytics and Bing Ads Certified. Outside of work Matthew enjoys travelling, cooking and music.
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