A Gift Guide for Marketers

November 2016

In the run up to the busiest retail period of the year, Think with Google presents a few tools and strategies to help advertisers find and engage the widest possible audience over the forthcoming holiday season.

The festive period can feel like a three-month marathon run at the pace of a sprint, so it’s important to get ahead of the key dates and plan accordingly. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday occurring at the end of November, early October is when most advertisers start getting to grips with the essentials of the coming campaigns - activating new keyword lists, building out targeting options and generally implementing as much best practice as possible to ensure smooth execution once Christmas Day starts to loom into view. By early December, 49% of consumers still won’t have made any Christmas purchases1, so this is the time to really amp up on seasonal creative and double down on prospect retargeting.

Adtech’s little helpers

The festive shopping period brings out a hugely diverse audience base. Seasonal shoppers mix in with regular customers, requiring marketers to broaden their approach to acquisition or risk missing out on sales. Finding ways to address this new, unfamiliar audience without sacrificing value for money can be daunting, but implementing the right technology can save time and reduce stress.

Smart Bidding can help advertisers maximise their reach among seasonal shoppers without compromising cost effectiveness. Target CPA and Target ROAS automatically adjust bids to ensure campaigns achieve more conversions or revenue against a predetermined return on investment, enabling advertisers to take full advantage of the expanded pool of potential customers. On the other hand, if you still want to be able to set your own bids and bid adjustments, Enhanced CPC can help increase conversions by intelligently raising or lowering bids within a fixed threshold, based on the likelihood that a given click will lead to a conversion.

Display Remarketing will help to increase visibility with past visitors, and with the right offering turn them into new customers. It can also help drive repeat business from previous customers looking for tried and trusted gift ideas. Dynamic Remarketing enables advertisers to personalise at scale, using Google’s powerful recommendation engine that utilizes hundreds of signals to choose the ideal creative variant for users depending on the products they have previously viewed. Finally, Remarketing Lists for Search Ads extends the ability to target users already familiar with your site to Google Search, maximising opportunities for engagement in the crowded and competitive festive marketplace.

Similar Audiences targeting enables marketers to extend their reach to highly qualified users across the Google Display Network. Starting with a standard remarketing list, the system automatically generates lists of users with similar characteristics, and allows advertisers to optimise targeting for either volume or conversions. As the holiday season offers a great opportunity to re-engage with existing customers, Customer Match targeting can also have a big impact. Advertisers create targeting lists based on the email addresses in their CRM database, and can then leverage the power of Search, YouTube and Gmail to present those users with creative containing exclusive holiday offers and other incentives to buy.

Don’t forget the big day

With new gadgets to unbox and explore, plenty of users will be online on Christmas Day itself, downloading apps, updating drivers and registering their devices, with searches for ‘download’ and ‘activate’ 30% higher on December 25th than during the week prior. Retailers and marketers who make a positive impression by providing support and guidance in the early days of the product experience have a great chance to nurture long-term loyalty from these new customers.

Every shopper knows that navigating the Christmas rush is a lot harder if you leave it to the last minute, but with a little forward planning and the right tools, marketers have everything they need to bring home a sackful of new business.


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