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4 Paid Search Tips for the 2015 Holiday Season

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The holiday shopping season is full of opportunities for online retailers in terms of immediate traffic and sales as well as the potential to gain long-term repeat customers. Having great products is essential but as any online retailer knows, that’s only half the battle. What you really need is traffic. You need a steady stream of customers making their way to your site. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great way to do it but optimizing your site and improving your search rankings takes time. Paid search advertising works immediately and in the long term, it’s a great way to supplement your SEO. Plus, with paid search advertising, you get a ton of control – over your spending, your message and even where your ads will show up.

So if you’re developing your holiday 2015 marketing plan, paid search should definitely be a part of it. This article will review ways to get more traffic and more exposure with paid search advertising this holiday season.

1. Think mobile.
This year, Google made a historical announcement in May – mobile searches now surpass desktop searches. We’ve written a lot about the importance of having a mobile-friendly site. But it’s now very important to consider mobile searchers when you’re developing your paid ad campaigns. Mobile should not be an afterthought. The terms you target with mobile search might be different than the terms you target with desktop ads. For example, your ads should consider the fact that mobile searchers tend to use shorter search queries. You should also think about the smaller screens so you put your most important words near the beginning of the ad.

2. Variety is important.
There are many paid search opportunities available and if you want maximum exposure for your store, you should spread your advertising around. Of course, it’s important to always keep your customers in mind – every opportunity might not make sense for you. But here are some examples of paid opportunities to consider:

Google, Bing, Yahoo: Google gets the vast majority of searches but it does not get ALL of them. Plenty of people use Bing or Yahoo to find what they’re looking for online. So it’s generally a good idea to buy ad placement with all three major search engines.
PPC: PPC or Pay Per Click ads are the most traditional. These are the ads you see at the top or the right side of search results.
PLA: Product listing ads are similar to PPC ads in that they appear in search results but instead of a text ad, they display a product with a picture and price. Your product would be displayed next to several other similar products from other advertisers. These ads can be extremely effective because they allow consumers to compare your product with others without even needing to go to your site. If you have a superior product or the best price, searchers will skip the other sites and come straight to yours.
Adsense: You can also create AdSense ads that will be placed on other websites, like blogs. Those websites make a little money every time someone clicks your ad. You get the benefit of extra exposure on other websites and also the chance that someone will click your ad and visit your site, too.
Retargeting: Have you ever searched for a product, only to see ads for that product show up on other pages you visit for the next few days? That’s retargeting and you can do the same thing with your ads.
Facebook PPC: Facebook can be a great place to advertise because you’re able to target people in a lot of different ways: age, gender, location, school, by job or business and even personal interests. This can allow you to run a very targeted campaign.

3. Plan Ahead
Now’s the time to think ahead and plan out your advertising schedule and your budget. You can match up your paid campaign to any sales or promotions you’ll be running. You can also plan around important dates like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Also, keep previous marketing successes in mind especially if you used paid ads last holiday season. Take a look back at what worked before and use that to build off of. Which leads to the last tip – you need great ads.

4. Copy is key
There’s still plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming holiday season which gives you a huge advantage for ad planning. As you create your schedule, you can also start working on the keywords and phrases you want to use. There’s even time to do some testing if you’re running some ads right now.

Think about what sets you apart from your competition. Consumers are bombarded with ads and emails and marketing during the holidays. There’s no avoiding the sea of ads you’ll be swimming in – but you can find ways to set yourself apart. If you have a better shipping policy or better products or better prices, let everyone know about it.

Paid ads are a sure way to get more exposure for your brand and your store and there’s no better time to do that than the busiest shopping season of the year. ioVista can help you develop your plan and get your paid campaigns setup. If you’d like to talk to an expert and learn more ways paid ads can help your business specifically, call or email ioVista today.

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