Christmas PPC campaigns


Sam A


We all know the Festive Period brings an increase in consumer spending. What with present buying, Christmas dinners and decorations, the retail industry benefits from increased sales throughout November and December each year. In 2011 John Lewis & Waitrose, Debenhams, Poundland and Boots (to name only a few) all reported a 4-6% growth in sales in the 5 week period leading up to Christmas. As a consumer, this growth is noticeable the minute you step on to the high street by huge crowds, a sudden lack of personal space, long queues and empty shelves. But how does Christmas affect ecommerce and how should your PPC campaign respond?

Take an ecommerce client example:

Last year they ran their campaigns as usual, making no changes for the Festive period. The results were a rise in both clicks and conversions in line with typical shopping trends. This demonstrates the potential that Christmas offers to ecommerce as well as shopping centres. During 2012 Search Laboratory have taken over the account and after noticing the Christmas growth last year, implemented PPC action to better target this period. Festive ad groups with Christmas keywords and ad texts were developed, where bidding and performance could be closely monitored. The results speak for themselves:

Clicks (YoY Comparison – 2011 vs. 2012)

In 2011 there was a peak of approximately 5,000 clicks on 12th December, with nearly 200,000 clicks over the entire period (1st September 2011 – 31st December 2011). In contrast, the peak for 2012 has seen almost 11,000 clicks on a single day (interestingly earlier this year; 2nd December) and a total of 275,000 clicks to date (11th December).

Conversions (YoY Comparison – 2011 vs. 2012)

In 2011 there was a total of 9,500 sales over the period, with 240 sales on the peak day. The peak day for 2012 saw 540 sales on a single day and to date there have been approximately 19,500 sales.

It is clear from the stats that a Christmas focus appeals to customers and can really boost an accounts performance. So, what are the top tips for a successful “Christmas PPC” campaign?

1. Know your industry and your products

Whilst the above results would tempt any organisation to invest in PPC over Christmas it should be remembered that not all industries excel in November & December. There are some products and industries that are not top of peoples priorities at this time and will not see the same positive results. How many people for example are looking for swim suits, sun hats and sandals?

2. Get your timing right

Starting your Christmas campaigns on the 20th December will not generate jaw dropping results, consumers want to shop in advance and know their gifts will arrive on time. Be prepared, start your campaigns early.

3. Target your audience

Change your ad text so that it appeals to Christmas shoppers. Focus on messages such as free delivery & returns, delivery in time for Christmas, or other messages such as “A Great Gift to Give This Christmas”, “Gifts for the Whole Family” etc. This can really make your ads stand out from the competition. Of course if your Yuletide offers are better than the rest, feature these as well!

4. Raise your budgets

More competition and increased demand at Christmas will mean average CPC is likely to soar. Make sure your budgets can account for this. There are a lot of people looking for a quick present solution at this time of year, so make sure your budgets allow you to appear in a high, eye catching position. You might be spending more but your conversion rate should benefit.

5. Themed landing pages

Make sure you direct consumers to themed pages that both target their searches as effectively as possible and also showcase your best Christmas offers.

6. Don’t let your lead slip

Once you are happy that your products are selling and you are making a great return on your Christmas campaign prepare for January!

Target the sales shoppers and those looking to spend their Christmas money. Keep offers and ad text up to date and focus on what you have found are your most popular products.