Cyber Monday’s Over. Now What?

Cyber Monday’s Over. Now What?

Short answer=Plenty.  If you are in paid search ecommerce, you are probably still feeling stoked and pretty awesome from your sales reports from Monday. Yes, Black Friday (BF) was fantastic. Saturday and Sunday were pretty darn good too. Congratulations! Nice job.  Good for you.

But there’s still a lot of holiday shopping yet to be done.  Ask yourself this: Did you finish your holiday shopping list?  I sure didn’t, not even close.  I got a few of the bigger ticket items at pretty sweet deals, but now I need to finish my list: my kids, my husband, some relatives who live far away, and some impossible-to-buy-for family members.  I have lots of browsing and buying yet to do, and I’m certain I’m not alone.

So…what does that mean for us in PPC?

1. Regroup/Restock/Rethink.

Take time to regroup and formulate a game plan for December. There’s still several important dates left to plan strategy:

  • 12/12 Green Monday
  • 12/20 Last Ship Date
  • 12/26 Post Holiday Sales

Did you go out of stock on any important items? Will you get more inventory? Plan for the positive and be ready to resume those proven, popular campaigns.

2. Data Analysis – Get into the Weeds.

Analyze your BF-CM data. If your week went anything like mine, you didn’t have as much time as you normally have to analyze, optimize, and test. I was building campaigns on the fly, throughout the weekend, swapping out deals, and writing ads with little time to pause/think/reflect. It was about implementation and getting things LIVE, period. Now I can take some time and see what worked, what didn’t, and use that to build/expand existing or new campaigns for the rest of the season.

3. Evaluate the New Bid Landscape.

Assess your bids and positions.  Are bids/cpc’s inflated? Are they getting back to normal? Do they work for your profitability targets? Do you have more data from the BF-CM time period to do some more frequent bid optimizations or change some levers in your bid tool?  Did you take a snapshot of bids and quality scores pre-BF? Decide whether to include/exclude data from the BF-CM time period for bid optimizations as you go into December.  It is likely to stay competitive, not as competitive, throughout December or at least the first 2-3 weeks.

4. Consider Testing New Ad Copy and Messaging.

Users looking for last minute gifts still want deals, they want selection and to be able to count on gifts being delivered on time. If you have Free Shipping, promote it. If you have Free Expedited Shipping after 12/12, shout it. If you have a great selection, showcase it. This is really important for those buying for those impossible-to-buy-for people on their list, looking for exactly the right thing.

If you are looking for something a little more polished/snazzy to get you motivated, check out Google thinkinsights on their holiday ideas. adCenter blog also does a nice job of summarizing the key days for Retail and other considerations.

B2Bs: You may be reading this and thinking, I’m a B2B, none of this pertains to me.  Wrong.  It is nearly impossible to take your account out of the current inflated bidding landscape, unless you have shut down your account or have a really tight kw list with kws pertaining only to your product/company. You need to optimize accordingly.  Consider living with a temporarily high Cost per Conversion in order to maintain lead volume.  It will get back to normal, it just takes some patience.

Additionally, from my experience, December, at least the first two weeks, can have really good performance for B2Bs.  Many companies are finalizing their budgets and assets for the next fiscal year – 2012. If you have a short sales funnel, leads can close really quickly. For longer sales cycles, it can be smart to get your name out in front of decision makers/stakeholders evaluating different proposals.

What PPC activities are you doing specific to the holidays? Best of luck and Happy Holidays!

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