For most businesses, the holiday season is hands-down the most profitable time of the year. The National Retail Federation reports that holiday-season consumer spending has increased by more than 3 percent year-over-year since 2010 — and the growth gets more pronounced every season. With spending like that, the holidays can be a gold mine for online advertisers.
The only problem? Everybody knows that. The Google advertising landscape gets particularly crowded during this season. So, if you want to stand out, you’re going to need to get creative.
I asked several digital marketing experts for their tips on holiday advertising on Google, combined their responses with some lessons from personal experience, and excerpts from thought leaders, and condensed it all into this list of six easy tips you can use to stand out on Google during the holidays.
1. Do giveaways — just not the kind you’re thinking of.
“Businesses love to do giveaways at predictable times,” Maxwell Finn of Unicorn Innovations, told me. “Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Black Friday — the list never ends. Unfortunately, a lot of the time they just aren’t interesting or worth it. Every successful giveaway I’ve done locally or globally has always provided a compelling future experience that the audience desperately wants.”
With this piece of advice in mind, ask yourself what is the most valuable thing that will solve your audience’s biggest problem and will also relate to your business. With this nailed down, you can now think of all the small complementary pieces that would make that valuable thing even better.
To stand out during the holiday season, try focusing on a giveaway that offers experiences and memories rather than just goods.
2. Know exactly what the season means for your customers.
While B2C companies tend to do very brisk business over the holidays, this time of year can actually be a slower time for the B2B industry. If you sell to companies, remember that they often spend this down time researching solution providers and working on future strategy.
In these cases, the quality of your message and targeting will obviously matter a great deal more than the volume of your campaign.
If this scenario applies to your industry, ensure your marketing campaigns provide quality information to potential customers. Show them how your products or services will help them gain more revenue once business picks back up in the new year.
3. Utilize a power offer.
As digital advertising guru Neil Patel has told me, “During the holiday shopping season, which includes October, November and December, you should be spending a disproportionate amount of money on your advertising.”
Taking Patel’s advice, we understand that holidays are a perfect time of year to spend more money to acquire new customers because the conversion rates are going to be up quite a bit. However, we need to structure specific campaigns around each unique holiday vs. one overarching, nebulous “holiday” campaign.
With our campaigns ready and marketing budgets ready to roll, before we launch the campaign, the most important part of any advertising campaign is the offer; and with many other companies creating similar offers, your market is probably going to be numb to your offer, as it’s just like something else they’ve already seen.
Offer fatigue is one of the most common reasons many advertising campaigns fail, and while most marketers will go on about ad fatigue, I like to keep an eye on offer fatigue as well. If you really want your campaigns to convert, you need to create new offers because when your customers see something new, they will reward you for it.
4. Harness the twin powers of scarcity and urgency.
Most people are fundamentally cautious in their buying habits. They’ll see an ad, feel the attraction of the message, but then keep scrolling, telling themselves they need time to “think about it.” If you want to stand out in the crowded holiday advertising landscape, you’ll have to beat this part of human nature.
For marketers, the great thing about holidays is that they only come once a year. Capitalize on that in your copy, using strong calls to action that connote a limited quantity of goods and a short period of time in which to buy. Scarcity and urgency are powerful motivators.
5. Use Google’s Custom Intent Targeting.
“In a nutshell, custom intent audiences are a more granular form of targeting that allows you to target people who are in the market for the specific products and services you are offering,” writesThe Startup’s Brian Swift.
With this in mind, we already know Google has spent billions in developing artificial intelligence (AI), which allows the search engine to know way more about our prospective customers’ behavior than we could ever know ourselves. By understanding that, we can see that Custom Intent Audiences grants us the ability to target specific groups of people that are extremely relevant to our business, at the right time.
I think we all can agree that grabbing attention during the holidays is much easier when we’re utilizing Google’s entire knowledge database to support our campaigns. Utilize this helpful tool for the results you seek.
6. Time your campaigns for maximum economic efficiency.
By adjusting your budget to coincide with the typical ebb and flow of web conversions during the holidays, you can make sure your ads stand out because they have less competition, and that you can pay less for your conversions.
As a general rule, holiday ad buys are most affordable during November, but it pays to familiarize yourself with specific market trends over time. Adjusting your campaign by a single day can save or cost you thousands of dollars.
Many marketers choose to begin their campaigns in late November and then steadily increase their budget as Christmas approaches. Traditionally, conversion rates rise as the holiday approaches.
For digital marketers, the holidays are a terrific opportunity to get great results for clients. While Google can get crowded during this season, these six tips can help you stand out from the competition.